“Therefore if any person is in Christ, they are a new creature; the old has passed away; behold, new things have come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
My first car was a 1960 Rambler Rebel. I think it cost me about $100, and the only thing memorable about the vehicle was the dash-mounted push buttons for the automatic transmission. The car lasted me for just over a year. I became an expert on changing tires, as nothing I could afford to put onto the rims would hold air for much more than a week. I learned to block the wheels when changing tires because, on more than one occasion, the parking brakes failed to hold. The car would roll off the jack, which would then spin in my hand around the jack-handle like an airplane propeller. On the 4th of July, 1970, I was out with friends getting ready to enjoy the fireworks on the north end of Seattle when the engine under the hood caught fire. Apparently, the wiring harness shorted and ignited the grease, oil, and filth that had been holding the engine together. That was the end of that. My first car had gone the way of mortal metal; I sent it off to a salvage yard.
Salvage. Saving that which is of value. That’s what the word means. Although the demise of my first car meant I was going to have to find something else in which to roll, it had served me well and faithfully. It taught me to leave early. To this day I don’t go anywhere without inserting enough time to change a flat tire while en route.
I believe that when we are “in Christ” we are in something far more faithful than any bucket of bolts. What’s more, it is Christ behind the wheel. It is Christ with Triple-A (“A” for “Angelic”) Road Service to take care of emergencies along the way. I never have to sweat the details, for Christ takes care of the details. Even when I am doing “good” things, it is Christ working in and through me, and for that reason, I find it is well with my soul.
God, I look in the mirror and recognize a deflated ego. I know it is mostly dirt and grime holding what’s left of this life together, and yet it is well with my soul, for you are behind the wheel. Your brakes hold. Your jack works. You salvage all that is of value, and that (amazingly) includes me! I thank you from the bottom of my crankshaft. Amen.
-Fr. Keith Axberg