Cripple at the table

The long red snake of Chicago traffic - a string of transient brake lights, coming and going, miles long before me - started the pressure rising. By the time I reached the Dan Ryan, my pacemaker was firing non-stop and I was in a cold sweat. The rest of the trip, I battled it out with caffeine and a book on tape, the pacemaker going until the stress dropped about 3/4 of the way through the next state - a sedate one: Indiana. The full moon against a pink sunlit reflection of the eastern sky sent a thrill. Walking up and down in a parking lot to soothe a carsick baby was a small pleasure. Trading sarcastic remarks with a blossoming friend throughout the drive was fun.

All along my crippled way, yesterday, all 12 hours of the grueling drive at 80 miles per hour, I was at His table. From the Starbucks in the overpass in Illinois, to the way he lit the gloomy flatness of the middle states with a glorious sunset and the harrowing description of the Khumbu ice fall of Everest ringing in my ears thanks to modern technology...He blessed the way and invited me to the feast.



I've got resurrection down inside my skin
But for all my revealating
I just can't make sense
Of this gravity we're in

Cause I'm a dead man now
With a ghost who lives
Within the confines of
These carbon ribs
And one day when I'm free
I will sit
The cripple at your table
The cripple by your side

A thousand miles of pain I'm sure
Led you to the threshold
Of my hearts screen door
To tell me what it is I'm dying for
Gravity comes
Like a cold cold Rain
To lead me to the rope again
But someone is standing in my place
~from Carbon Ribs, by John Mark McMillan


This is one of those Bible stories that never sunk, simply because of a language barrier.  A name like "Mephibosheth" has no cognitive hooks to hang it's hat on in my brain.  And so the power was lost to me, in the many, many times I've read the Bible through.  Until a modern-day singer for the King - a kind of 2nd century A.D. David - sang it for me in an arena full of sweat and tears condensing into haze about a thousand bodies singing about Jesus.  His best friend dead, the lonely King David asks his courtiers to search for a relative he can honor, to comfort himself.  They find Mephibosheth, dropped by his nurse as a baby, both legs hopelessly crippled.  He had stayed behind when war broke out, and so his life was saved.  David dressed him in robes, and set him at the table, surrounded by the family...a place of honor.  And there he ate for all the days of his life.

So today, like Mephibosheth, I will spend another undeserved day at the feasting table. Another 8 hours of driving stretches forth between our little car and Pennsylvania. We beg prayers for the cripples making way?