A Bible, abandoned, tattered, weed-strewn.
Found by Houston-area artist and photographer Patrick Feller as he climbed along a bank to get pictures of an old railroad bridge crossing Interstate 45.
He had taken a different route when returning up the bank, through an overgrown area with thick vegetation and debris that suggested to him previous occupation by “those who had found some sort of shelter in the shade of this thicket.”
The Bible was open, stiffly, to Joshua 18, a brief chapter in the Old Testament describing the division of land to seven tribes of Israel which had at that time not received their allotment.
Joshua sent surveyors out to document the land, then cast lots to distribute each section, every tribe thus getting its due of God’s bounty.
Someone had presumably been reading of this in the shade of a bridge, some 7,000 miles from where the events described in the book had taken place, some 3,400 years ago.
Someone who also had not likely received his or her allotment of God’s bounty.
Someone who likely never would.
Someone in the weeds, who had found a small piece of temporary bounty here, with a Bible in hand, reading of ancient promises delivered to a chosen people.
A chosen people reflective, might we say, of all people everywhere, in all times, longing to be seen, chosen, aligned with a sense of place, of justice, of hope, of home.
“How long, O Lord?” that same tattered book asks in its Psalms. “How long will you hide your face from me?”
The question resounds, from under this bridge, all bridges, where wanderers and pilgrims stop for a bare moment of rest.
A Ben Harper song: simple, plaintive, profound…
Thanks to photographer Patrick Feller, Houston, Texas, some rights reserved under Creative Commons licensing, see more at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nakrnsm/
And to Elizabeth Haslam, for the rotating banner photos at the top of this page. Some rights reserved under Creative Commons licensing, see more at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lizhaslam/
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