Land Reform is an issue before a Special Commission in Scotland just now.
Land ownership is tied up with history, culture and politics. Half of the total land area of Scotland is owned by only a few hundred people. There are majestic mountains, wild places and famous landmarks often owned by one person. And even though many of them feel the onerous responsibility of stewardship, in reality we all feel a deep identity and sense of belonging in our beautiful British landscape. So, can one person really own a mountain?
A man I know bought a little cottage many years ago in a remote part of Scotland. Digging in his garden he uncovered the foundations of a whole village. He researched the story of his community and discovered that the villagers had been forcibly removed by the local landowner and their homes destroyed. Most of the people ended up in North America.
It is story often repeated in our history.
Jesus had a passion for the excluded, the disenfranchised and people who were pushed out of the way by the rich and powerful. He wanted everyone to have a place.
There is a wonderful story about a US president who visited the NASA headquarters in Texas at the height of the space race. He asked a cleaning lady during his visit, “And, what do you do?” To which she replied, “Why, I put a man on the moon, Mr President!”
I like that.
God of justice, as we seek the common good of all, help us to see our landscape as a common inheritance, the source of our wellbeing and a sign of your creative goodness and generosity. Help us to cherish the earth, to serve it and tend it as a sign of our gratitude to you, the provider supreme. Amen