Ever walk through a rural automobile junkyard? There is something fascinating about them. Often the same is true about the colorful men who own them.
Many don’t notice country junkyards off the county highways. But pull over for a minute and take a look, won’t you? At first glance they seem peaceful and a bit like antique shops. Cars from the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s. Americana and all that. Now come up close. Flat tires. Scorched paint. Broken glass. Missing chrome. Rotting upholstery (have you ever smelled rotting car upholstery?!). Odometers rolled over or smashed in. Garbage and trash littering the floors and trunks.
“Peaceful?” That’s not really the right word. Look again. Chevrolet, DeSoto, Studebaker, LaSalle. Some rusted out. Some burned out. This one right over here looks as if it went out quick . . . a violent screaming smoking end to its career. And some just quit running.
“Peaceful.” “Quiet.” Yeah, like a graveyard is. The reality is this: junks, Wrecks, Heaps. Dead, with many missing parts. Blind, with punched-in headlamps. Hostile to anyone who’d dream of fixing one up. Lost … off in the trees; cars piled on top of each other. Don’t get the wrong idea. These old hulks very definitely belong to someone.
The rural auto junkyard I’m thinking about is owned by an ornery, cantankerous old grouch (and I am being polite). He is honestly content to let his cars go to ruin. Sell them? His terms are criminal. Outrageous! Who’d pay that amount for a piece of scrap iron? His cars are going nowhere.
Junkyard conditions/junkyard owner. Fascinating?
Maybe. A little spooky too… lots of history tied up with those countryside graveyards.
But what’s it got to do with Easter, anyway?
Well, Easter is all about Jesus. And Jesus rescued you from junkyard conditions. From a similar junkyard person who held title to you. Good Friday, remember? Jesus had made it his business to find you, like a lonely figure trudging through an auto salvage yard. He found your location and then he paid what it took to tow you out.
“Jesus Christ gave himself … to redeem you,” says your Bible. Yes, Jesus rescued you from something. But you know something else? Jesus did not go to the trouble only to let you sit in his driveway. You were not rescued for inactivity. You were not salvaged to live again as a museum-piece of faded glory. He paid a bitter price to own you, Jesus did. And it is his very intention to restore you. Overhaul you. Discard what needs to be discarded. Turn you back into a showpiece you were designed to be.
Jesus Christ’s pride and joy! “Jesus Christ gave himself … so that you could be his very own,” reads the rest of that Bible passage. It’s saying that Jesus rescued you for something. “Easter … so what?” Not any more. But real Easter eagerness only will come by remembering the junkyard. Looking close. Remembering what happened. And breathing a quick prayer of thanks to your Salvager.
Living Hope Lutheran Church, Omaha, NE