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Boundary Lines

April 17, 2020

“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; I have a goodly heritage.” Psalm 16:6

Day 33. Snow day!. The falling snow is quite beautiful today, actually, although I wish I didn’t have to make a rare excursion today.

Psalm 16, appointed for worship this Sunday, speaks of something else that falls upon us. The psalmist speaks thankfully of “boundary lines” that have fallen in goodly places.

To be sure, when we speak of boundaries it is usually to point out how God is at work to erase the false ones we have erected. It is Easter. Christ is risen! The great barriers of sin, death, and evil have been overcome. The door between heaven and earth is opened up. In Christ, the boundaries we have long thought so important – such as those dividing Jew from Greek, slave from free, male from female – have been removed through the grace of God.

So what is the psalmist talking about, if not division? The psalmist sings of protection and blessings, both of which flow from God. No, not in some simplistic way where my faith causes, almost forces, God to bless me. It’s much more powerful than that. God is at work for my good, and your good, and the whole world’s good, whether we’re aware of it or not. In spite of the brokenness of our lives and the resistance we create, God continues to be at work. For good.

This morning we wake to possible good news. While it’s not yet fully tested, there are glimmers of hope that remdesivir, an antiviral drug, could prove beneficial in the fight against COVID-19. This may or not not be the breakthrough we need but we delight to see God working through scientists, researchers, and physicians. Whether it is this drug or something else that leads to breakthrough, it’s still true that the road back to normal will be long.

When we get there, however, it won’t be back to the old normal but, I pray, to a new normal. So much of how we live will shift. The good news, of course, is that we can shift, too. We can imagine ourselves as “boundary lines,” as forces for good at work for the protection and blessing of others. We are free in Christ. Boundaries that divide have been defeated. We can now live, freely and truly, in service of others.

It’s an invitation for all people to overcome division. To work together for the blessing and well-being of all. To imagine a world that, once we are free to leave our homes, is filled with people coming together for good.

That would be a goodly heritage, indeed.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

God of protection, forgive us for turning away from you. Thank you for blessing us in spite of this. Train our eyes to see your protection. Teach our hands to serve and bless others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The image is Clement Cruttwell’s 1799 map of the world based on Mercator projections (public domain). The map is, of course, wrong in so many ways, another reminder that old boundary lines have been erased as God works to bless and protect everyone.

From → Odds and Ends

One Comment
  1. Barbara J. Carlson permalink

    That was an excellent sermon, very uplifting.

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