The season has begun – mowing season that is! The special time of year when lawn aficionados everywhere emerge from their hibernation and with all the skill of French sculptors, shape and mold their lawns into perfect works of art. I was meant for such a time as this! The sights, the sounds, the smells become intoxicating and create a unique spiritual experience known only to those who have been called to it. A bit over-romanticized? Probably. But maybe not by much.
There’s something incredibly refreshing about hopping on the ole John Deere and circumnavigating my yard. It’s a time to lose myself and find myself all within the same 2-hour window. On occasion I’ll don the noise-cancelling headphones, allowing myself to be serenaded by some of my favorite songs; “Rocky Mountain High”, “Long Train Running”, and anything from Straight No Chaser always seem to make the list. The randomness of my playlist is as diversified as they come. I flow freely from genre to genre in obedience to my every whim. I can easily flow from Crosby, Stills, Nash (and sometimes Young), to Bethel Worship, to Michael Bublé and unto Michael Jackson. I methodically search for whatever will bring my soul its nourishment; peace, passion, boldness, whatever meal its craving.
This past week, I was stopped dead in my tracks by a song that I hadn’t heard in far too long. I disengaged the mower blade, put the mower in park, and gave the hard-working engine a rest. I slouched down in my seat, resting my head on the headrest, and set my face to the afternoon sun. I allowed “Pacing The Cage” by Jimmy Buffett to bury itself deep into my heart. The lyrics, originally written by Bruce Cockburn, speak to the feelings many people experience of being trapped like a lion in a cage, pacing back and forth without any hope or expectation of escape, longing for the freedom it was created to experience. One verse encapsulates this well:
Sometimes you feel like you’ve lived too long
Days drip slowly on the page
You catch yourself
Pacing the cage
By the end of the song, I was nearly in tears. Not for myself as much as for a friend that the Lord had brought to mind. I shot him a text and explained my “moment” and how I believe God wanted to let him know that He saw him and that He recognized his tendency to feel like he’s pacing the cage. I shared that God desperately wanted to set Him free in every way! Totally aware that this was undoubtedly weird to him and had zero context for him to receive it, I’m so glad I shared it.
I realized that there are many more of us that experience that feeling of being trapped in our own personal cage, pacing back and forth longing for freedom. Friends, Jesus has brought us that freedom; for you and for me, right here and right now. Before giving up His spirit to the Father, as He suffered extreme pain and anguish on the cross, He spoke the eternally hopeful words, “It is finished.” His sacrifice has exchanged our bondage for freedom. He has brought us from death to life. We simply need to respond and say yes to Him!
~ Pastor Mitch