Prone to Wander

Everything is Broken

dylanEverything is Broken by Bob Dylan

Broken lines, broken strings,
Broken threads, broken springs,
Broken idols, broken heads,
People sleeping in broken beds.
Ain’t no use jiving
Ain’t no use joking
Everything is broken.

Broken bottles, broken plates,
Broken switches, broken gates,
Broken dishes, broken parts,
Streets are filled with broken hearts.
Broken words never meant to be spoken,
Everything is broken.

Seem like every time you stop and turn around
Something else just hit the ground

Broken cutters, broken saws,
Broken buckles, broken laws,
Broken bodies, broken bones,
Broken voices on broken phones.
Take a deep breath, feel like you’re chokin’,
Everything is broken.

Every time you leave and go off someplace
Things fall to pieces in my face

Broken hands on broken ploughs,
Broken treaties, broken vows,
Broken pipes, broken tools,
People bending broken rules.
Hound dog howling, bull frog croaking,
Everything is broken.

Bob Dylan is a pretty smart guy, I think. Everything IS broken. I feel utterly broken after the past few weeks of busyness with the spring break RUF college groups. Don’t get me wrong, they were absolutely wonderful people and we really enjoyed getting to know them and hanging out with them. They helped us a lot by making some great contacts with some new and existing students, which was really encouraging. In addition we felt really encouraged by the campus ministers that came down to visit and we enjoyed hearing their talks and watching them interact with their own students and ours.

It’s just that I’m exhausted in every way; this weekend I felt that I had nothing left. I feel broken. In light of Easter, though, I have been reflecting on how much more that Christ felt the weight of that kind of brokenness. He was beaten and killed, and then he walked to hell and back for me. That’s much more than I could ever do. I’m thankful that Christ came to save broken people.

Jesus says in Matthew 9:12, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” Throughout the Bible it is made clear that nobody is righteous on their own merit… so technically everyone is ‘sick.’ But Jesus said that particularly in response to the Pharisees who believed themselves to be righteous and who were judging Jesus for hanging out with ‘sinners.’ The Pharisees needed a doctor just as much as the ‘sinners,’ but they rejected him. So I have to ask myself, am I the self-righteous Pharisee that rejects Christ, or am I the broken person who admits my deep need for Christ?

A few years ago I helped lead a 9th grade Bible study in Fort Worth. One particular day we were talking about the verse above in Matthew, and about how Christ routinely was judged and scorned by the religious leaders of the day for hanging out with “tax collectors and sinners.” So I asked the girls, “If Jesus had come today instead of back then, where do you think you would find him hanging out and talking with people? Do you think he would be in a church all day talking to important pastors?” They got the point. He would be with all sorts of people, especially poor people and rejected people. But one girl said, matter-of-factly, “He would be at 8.0’s.” 8.0’s is a bar in downtown Fort Worth that has an outside patio with music on Friday nights. I’ve been a couple of times with friends, usually to hear a particular band play. I’ve chuckled about her response every time I go to downtown Fort Worth, imagining Jesus sitting at one of the tables in 8.0’s. But her response, while very (humorously) specific, wasn’t wrong. Jesus was always found with people who were broken and in need of him. If those people are at 8.0’s, that’s where he would be.


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