Each day on my way to work, I drive past the same field. It’s become one of my favorite landscapes. I can’t seem to go by without stealing a few glances at it, either in the mist of the morning or the lull of late afternoon. I’ve wanted to write about it for a few years now, but I haven’t been able to grasp why it pulls me so much . . . until yesterday morning.
For most of the people who drive by it, I’m sure there’s no cause for interest. This is just an open field in rural Pennsylvania; there are hundreds of them. There’s nothing particularly majestic about it. Is there? As with the other fields that used to surround it, a housing development or shopping center will likely take its place one day. I hate that thought with a passion.
You see, I love this little field because there is nothing in it. I love it because it is open and receptive. When I stare at it, I get the image of an old man whose hands are turned palm-side up in worship. The openness of the field is an invitation to meditate on potentiality that has not been actualized and that you hope will never be actualized. This hope is rooted in the precious longing we have for eternity. It says something very important, though it speaks in silence: there is still room in God’s world, and there is still room in God himself.
This is what makes the field so lovely, so valuable, so gripping that I have to pull my car to the side of the road and stare at it, even for just a moment. There is still room in God’s world, my friends. And there is still room in God himself, the one in whom “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
Let me end with a prose poem, since that is one of my favorite writing forms, and it’s the form I always imagined using when I would one day write about this field:
Meditation on an Open Field
Still and silent, soft and settled,
You are an altar always ready to receive.
But no one has yet come to offer,
And I find great joy in that.
When a field is left to lie fallow,
When the ground holds nothing but grass,
My heart turns to the quiet God
Whose offering of himself for us
Has opened the field of eternity.
“Walk,” he says to me.
And I will.