Psalm 16:6


My boundaries enclose a pleasant land; indeed, I have a goodly heritage.

One of my original thoughts for the use of this space was to collect scraps of thought, epiphanies, and meditations coming out of lectio divina.  I haven’t really gotten off the ground with that idea, although I have those sorts of things scattered about in notebooks.  (Hence the idea of collecting them where I might be able to find them…)

This morning, however, my attention snagged on the Psalm in Morning Prayer.  First there is a clear image–that ‘pleasant land’ is for me a pasture, sunlit and viewed from across a dip and just below it.  The fence is visible along the left side, and hills in the distance beyond.  Something yellow is blooming in it, but low and just in a few spots.  That fence must be the enclosing  ‘boundaries’ of the Psalm.

The ‘goodly heritage’ feels like the communion of saints, or the cloud of witnesses.  Reassuring and benign, like all my grandparents’ grandparents who have lovingly left me this pleasant land as a gift and are watching with anticipation to see how I will use it.   I feel very much like the recipient of this pleasant land.  I don’t feel anything about being its steward, about preparing it to give to my children’s children.  I’m the child, right now.

Of course, in actual historical fact, my grandparents and their grandparents weren’t all exactly reassuring and benign, but this mental image must be about ancestors in the faith.  And it’s within the faith that I am most likely to claim an identity as a child.  It’s also the case that I am soon to be given (D.v.) a pleasant land, a piece of good, workable land, and sent out to make use of it as a new priest.

I almost put ‘cultivate’ there in that last sentence, but my image is one of a pasture, not arable land.  What difference could that signify, I wonder? My image doesn’t have a herd or a flock in it.  I am to be pastor, not a plower.  Pastors aren’t about the land, that which is enclosed by fences, the boundaries.  (Although Jesus says he is the gate.)  Is there something there about minding my own business (the flock) and leaving the earth, the sun, the rain, and the flowers to God to nurture?  That part is a gift; the part I earn or labor for is the flock?

I’ve wandered a long way now.