In the Lectionary

July 18, Ordinary 16B (2 Samuel 7:1–14a)

God promises to build a bayit, a house. But not one with boundaries.

I hear the smack of the ball on the blacktop, then a thump as it hits the backboard. After a while the ball is silent, and I hear instead the metallic crunch of a small shovel biting into dirt and my son quietly muttering to himself about the miniature earthworks he is constructing on the bare edges of our backyard.

I work with half of my attention, keeping the other half tuned to the sounds outside. When it gets too quiet, I creep to the back door and slowly open the screen so its squeal doesn’t draw his attention and give me away, so he doesn’t know that I’m checking up on him.

His growing independence brings me both delight and apprehension. It is a gift to have a bit of time to myself when he runs outside to play, and I love to see him absorbed in work that he chooses, guided by his own imagination. But I also find it comforting to have him playing inside the house, always within eyesight or earshot.