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What connection is there between Kenny Rogers’ music and Jesus?  The question is not meant to be sacrilegious.  Rather, it is born out of my growing appreciation for certain kinds of popular music that doesn’t pretend to be “worship hymns.”  I especially have in mind the lyrics of some of these songs.  Permit me to expand on what is running through my mind.

While jogging yesterday at Behm Park, I listened to Rogers version of Mel Tillis’ Ruby, don’t take your love to town.  I ached as I listened to the thinking of a person who feels abandoned.   In any case, if you want to listen, here is a link to Kenny Rogers, accompanied by First Edition (You Tube).  And, here are the lyrics:

You’ve painted up your lips and rolled and curled your tinted hair,
Ruby are you contemplating going out somewhere?
The shadows on the wall tell me the sun is going down,
Oh Ruby, don’t take your love to town.

It wasn’t me that started that old crazy Asian war,
But I was proud to go and do my patriotic chore,
And yes, it’s true that I’m not the man I used to be,
Oh Ruby, I still need some company.

It’s hard to love a man whose legs are bent and paralyzed,
And the wants and needs of a woman your age really I realize,
But it won’t be long, I’ve heard them say, until I’m not around,
Oh Ruby, don’t take your love to town.

She’s leaving now cause I just heard the slamming of the door,
The way I know I heard its slams one hundred times before,
And if I could move I’d get my gun and put her in the ground,
Oh Ruby, don’t take your love to town.

Oh Ruby, for God’s sake, turn around

Abandoned.  The Vietnam vet has been abandoned to a chair due to shattered legs, by a woman who although once saying she would love him until death would them part, now has left him alone 100 times as she pursues pleasure from another man.  His health has abandoned him to the point where he doesn’t expect to live much longer.  Even his gun is out of reach.  In being abandoned he is helpless.

Most of us, at some time or another, to some degree or another, feel as if we have been abandoned.  That abandonment is inevitably taken as an undeserved blow, taken as a statement that we no longer have the value of before, or informing us that we can make no further contribution to the good greater than ourselves.  Being abandoned cuts to our core, easily leading us to believe that we are getting not what we first thought was undeserved, but what we now think we really do deserve.   And from that point it is but a short step to thinking that our being abandoned is what the others deserve!!

Is there an adequate word to capture the depths of the evil we can impose on others, such as we see in cases of abandonment ???  And, what do we say about the love of the One who shortly before committing His spirit to Father God, says, “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?”  At a bare minimum we can affirm that He has taken abandonment, along with all other evil, to its death at the cross.  Oh, the price He paid for His children to be rid of both abandoning and being abandoned!!   Can we do less than worship, say thank you, and vow to not abandon anyone again?

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