Wednesday, June 24, 2009

the role of land in blessing

i'm reading the foundational text of deuteronomy at the moment and it is reminding me of god's sovereignty, fidelity, and grace.  grace probably isn't a primary thought for most in reflecting on this book of law, but the book is rife with it.  it is nothing short of stunning that in this part of israel's history, when the people have gone after idols and infuriated god, god's mind is changed midstream by the intercession of a human (that hard working priest, moses).  but that another story.

today i came upon a passage in chapter 11 that brought me sweet surprise.  in this bit, as the people are learning what it means to love and obey god, they are promised that they will receive

"a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end."

now i find that enormously reassuring and my comfort from this would only be as recent as my passion for my own garden and our community garden.  working the land and recognizing more fully our dependence upon it have taught me look to the sky for rain and sun, to trust cycle and season for the crops to grow.  my faith in this God of land and place hasn't been robust enough to see and rest in the knowledge that god's looking over it whether i wait anxiously or sleep in.  who would have thought that part of what god is up to in the world is to lovingly look over land. what good news.

and the passage goes on in verse 13 to link obedience and blessing to land and food -

"So if you faithfully obey the commands i am giving you today - to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul - then i will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil.  i will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied."

for years this kind of promise would have been missed completely on me.  in fact, if i'm honest ,i think i would have begrudged such a thing and wished for blessing to be manifest in entirely different forms.  but the way we see the world is different now, even from five years ago.  we are thinking in new (or old) ways about faithfulness and what it means to be blessed. most certainly we have begun to reconcile with creation as we take responsibility for how much damage we've done to the created order around us. this daily sense of our connection to place and creation comes as grace and acts, despite myself, to make me a better gardener and resident of god's good world.

1 comment:

salttheplanet said...

thanks for the rich reflection on scripture and land. our lives are encouraged as you share yours with us.

- j&k