A Thousand pairs of firey eyes
Burn like a serpent down the hwy 5
As the Long amber tail to Los Angeles unwinds
I've got resurrection down in side my skin
But for all my revealating
I just cant make sense
Of this gravity we're in

Cause I'm a dead man now
With a ghost who lives
Within the confines of
These carbon ribs
And one day when I'm free
I will sit
The cripple at your table
The cripple by your side

A thousand miles of pain I'm sure
Led you to the threshold
Of my hearts screen door
To tell me what it is I'm dying for
Gravity comes
Like a cold cold Rain
To lead me to the rope again
But someone is standing in my place

Cause I'm a dead man now
With a ghost who lives
Within the confines of
These carbon ribs
And one day when I'm free
I will sit
The cripple at your table
The cripple by your side
The cripple at your table
The cripple by your side

And I sit beside you
And I sit beside you
And I sit beside you
And I sit beside you


Lyrics submitted by jdstults

Carbon Ribs song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • +2
    My InterpretationJohn Mark McMillan is one of the few Christian artists, in my opinion, who breaks the traditionally cheesy mold of worship music. And for that reason I revere him as one of the greatest lyricists around today.

    This song especially illustrates that for me. Out of all his music, this song is the most theologically gripping one for me as it consistently puts a lump in my throat when I think about the words.

    The reference to being "the cripple at Your table" is a nod to Mephibosheth from 2 Samuel 9 where King David sought out any living descendant of Jonathan. When David found one, even though Mephibosheth was a cripple, David restored him his grandfather's land and said that he would always be welcome at his table, even though he, personally, did nothing to earn it. I love that.

    This is just my take on it, but when he says "I'm a dead man now with a ghost who lives within the confines of these carbon ribs," I take it to be talking about how we've died to ourselves. Our lives are living sacrifices because our purpose is bigger than ourselves, but all we can offer God is our body and the time we have, even though He's offered us so much more.

    Such a good song.
    jakeowens93on August 06, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionJohn Mark's music has a certain intimate boldness about it.
    unggoyon December 07, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation"A Thousand pairs of firey eyes
    Burn like a serpent down the hwy 5
    As the Long road to Los Angeles unwinds"

    JMM is on a road trip commenting about the mundane act of driving to work

    "I've got resurrection down in side my skin
    But for all my revealating
    I just cant make sense
    Of this gravity we're in"

    JMM is saying that he is filled with the power of God, but this gravity ie principle of going through our daily lives he can't make sense of- why are we going about our lives when we have God's power?

    "Cause I'm a dead man now"

    We have died to ourselves in order to live in Christ

    "With a ghost who lives"

    Either a shadow of former self or literally a ghost ie the Holy Ghost (Spirit)

    "Within the confines of
    These carbon ribs"

    The word carbon alludes to earthly, our 'earthly bodies' - we are confined because of our inability to be holy within our earthly bodies...

    It could also mean that the holy spirit is in our earthly bodies, therfore sanctifying us

    "And one day when I'm free
    I will sit
    The cripple at your table
    The cripple by your side"

    if we have the holy spirit within our earthly bodies, when we die we are freed from the power of sin and will spend eternity at our father's table in heaven...

    the other commenter was spot-on about David's table and Johnathan's son, I'll add that David killed the other descendants of Saul, but because of his covenant with Johnathan he spared him. God's mercy has spared us as well and we are invited to sit at his table.

    "A thousand miles of pain I'm sure
    Led you to the threshold
    Of my hearts screen door
    To tell me what it is I'm dying for"

    JMM continues the road analogy and alludes to the gospel of Jesus Christ which tells us Luke 9:23-24 (NIV) "Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it." So Jesus literally tells us what we are dying for, to follow him

    "Gravity comes
    Like a cold cold Rain"

    This one is more difficult, it could be the gravity of a decision or situation, and if you've ever felt cold rain you know it from the first drop. It is not a pleasant refreshing rain, it is shocking. Gravity could be realizing the mundane way we are living life.

    "To lead me to the rope again"
    But the son is standing in my place"

    The rope line relies heavily on the next line, rope could mean a lot, but it appears to be a noose, and Jesus is standing in our place to die for our sins. So gravity could then mean the desire to sin and when it comes it's unpleasant and sin's only purpose for us is death, and it leads us down a path to death, but Jesus Christ offered his self in our place so that we don't have to die because of our sin.

    This is one of my favorite JMM songs. Everyone should go check out Borderland, his latest!
    SaltedEarthon February 24, 2014   Link
  • -1
    Song MeaningIf you haven't read the Bible, you have no idea what John's singing about!
    ribbon November 03, 2010   Link

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