For several days now, I’ve been pondering what the equivalent might be for me. As Moses is preparing God’s people to enter the “promised” land, he describes its beauty and abundance:
“God is about to bring you into a good land, a land with brooks and rivers, springs and lakes, streams out of the hills and through the valleys. It’s a land of wheat and barley, of vines and figs and pomegranates, of olives, oil, and honey. It’s a land where you’ll never go hungry – always food on the table and a roof over your head. It’s a land where you’ll get iron out of rocks and mine copper from the hills.” (Deut.8:7-9)
I’m okay with the “never go hungry / roof over your head” part. I enjoy olives, honey, the fruit of the vine. But I’m not so much a “streams and lakes” kind of guy. And mining has no interest for me, whatsoever. So, I’ve been wondering, off and on, for several days now, what is “a good land” for me?
This morning, it dawned on me; I mean that literally. Mornings, on my way into work, I cross north Seattle from east to west on 45th Street. I pick up Aurora Avenue heading south right about at Woodland Park. Just after I’ve merged into the flow of traffic, one of the most beautiful vistas I can think of opens before me. To my left, the Cascades cut a blue-grey jagged edge on the horizon, giving over to the white-topped, dominating sentinel Mt. Rainier. On my right, at this time of year, especially, Queen Anne hill flourishes with a thick carpet of green. In the center of it all, the steel and glass towers of downtown Seattle stand like meerkats attentive to the morning sun, and Lake Union lays at the feet of the skyscrapers like a pool at the foot of a palace.
This morning, this view was spectacular. The sky was a light, royal blue, the sun’s rays just clearing the Cascades created sparkles on the Lake and a green-gold glow to Queen Anne hill. To top it all off, Bruce Hornsby and the Range’s “Mandolin Rain” filled my car with a lovely, acoustic heart-ache. And then I knew – THIS is my “good land”.
The point of Moses’ preview is not only to give the people courage to endure the difficulties they will face in the process of fully receiving the land, but also to exhort them to remember. As written in Deuteronomy, Moses proclaims, “After a meal, satisfied, bless God, your God, for the good land he has given you.” (8:10)
So, after this morning’s “meal”, for this land flowing with cars and creativity, for this land abounding with blackberries and Blackberrys, I give you thanks, O Lord.