January 14, 2021
This Good Land

Dr. Oliver Wagner
“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
I have a goodly heritage.”
Psalm 16:6
I grew up singing the Woody Guthrie song “This land is your land, this land is my land” both in school and at church camp. When we have a safe, good place to call home we are truly blessed! Too often in our consumer-driven culture so focused on materialism, we have a hard time enjoying and celebrating the gifts of God we do have because our focus is on what we want (and don’t have.) A warm, safe, and comfortable shelter — like clean air, food, and water — is a gift from God we should never overlook or take for granted!

It is thought by some scholars that a Levite wrote this psalm because the tribe of Levi received no portion of land when the land of ancient Israel was distributed. Instead, the Levites served as priests and lived off of the offerings of the people. You graciously provide me a housing allowance so my family and I can live among you. Before coming to serve here I lived in a church-owned house (called “a manse” or “a parsonage”) that was next to the church on the same property. It, too, was a pleasant place to call home. Thank you for providing a place for a “Minister of Word and Sacrament” like me to labor and live among you!

When we think of faith and church family, we most often think of people and place. (Okay, we also think of food.) Whether beautiful sanctuaries like APC, historic chapels like that of Roswell Presbyterian, or inspiring vistas such as we enjoy at Montreat Conference Center near Asheville, we love our holy and special places. Perhaps you have a mountain or lake getaway that your family enjoys. Maybe you return to a favorite beach, campground, or family farm on a regular basis. Whether owned, shared, rented, or simply enjoyed as a visitor, we do give thanks for the pleasant places we have known and the treasured memories that remain from them.
Wherever we go, O Lord, you are there.
You are the creator who is before and behind us, above and below us, beyond and within us. We never escape from your Spirit… and so, every place we travel is a sacred and holy gift. May special places we enjoy turn us to you with gratitude and gladness, and may we honor you by stewarding and caring well for the land so that future generations might know such pleasant places, too,
as a lasting heritage to your glory. Amen.
Alpharetta Presbyterian Church
180 Academy Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009
770-751-0033 www.alpharettapres.com