Day 85: Joshua 19–21, Psalm 71, John 5 – The Very Rev. Mark Pendleton

Joshua 19–21, Psalm 71, John 5
At the end of the violence that followed the invasion of Canaan, the Israelite tribes
received their portion of the spoils of war: land. Promised Land. Holy land. “Thus the Lord
gave to Israel all that land that he swore to their ancestors that he would give them; and
having taken possession of it, they settled there” (Joshua 21:43).
One of my most vivid childhood memories occurred each year on Halloween night after
the annual frenzied havoc that my friends and I would bring upon our neighborhood. Our
unabashed goal was to collect bags and bags of candy. We were motivated, organized,
and ruthless. We had a well-thought-out plan, and we executed it each and every year:
we knew which houses to skip and which would yield vast rewards of large hauls of
candy. At the end of the night, we dumped our sweet treasure out on the living room
floor and then began to sort, categorize, negotiate, and trade.
Unlike the Halloween candy of childhood memories, there are few things in this world
that get divided up so cleanly. Colonial powers create artificial but lasting borders that
haunt local populations for generations. In prosperous societies, those with a head start
do not always leave enough for those who might follow. Those upstream—on the map
and in life—often fail to think of those downstream.
The Very Rev. Mark Pendleton
Dean of Christ Church Cathedral
Hartford, Connecticut
QUESTIONS
What is the inheritance you have
received—from family, from friends, from
God—that has nothing to do with the
material world?
Have you ever felt that you were given
something in this life that you did not
deserve? A leg up? A head start? A
second chance?
PRAYER
To the God of land, water, and air, help us
be wise inheritors of what we have received
from our ancestors in faith and family.
May we receive gratefully all that you give
us. And for what we do receive, may we
remember that it is never fully ours alone.
Give us the courage to share, conserve, and
pass on your goodness to your children yet
unborn. Amen.