Script, Cheryl Meban, 15th November 2016
Reading James Rebanks’ “A shepherd’s life: A tale of the Lake District”, I was struck by the disconnect between Rebanks’ world of farming in the Lake district, and how the rest of the world seemed oblivious to the true richness of his way of life. I was moved by his sense of alienation at school, because the outside world only seemed to value the Lake district as an escape from city life, and was incapable of understanding the farms, the lives intertwined with this land, persistently, resiliently, for hundreds, thousands of years. I felt the sense of loss of ways of life, the cost to this land of wars, and the devastation caused when many of us know the price of everything but the value of nothing.
It was striking how people treated the author differently once he was studying at Oxford, even though he was fundamentally the same person, with the same commitment and passion for farming. I was grateful for his ability to cross socio-economic boundaries, to become educated and articulate in two worlds, to mediate, to perpetuate the traditions he deeply values, while clothing himself in modern activities – using both experience and education to equip him to work with complicated systems whilst surviving and resourcing his family in the deep love of place and shepherding.
Good Shepherd, be our shepherd, so that we have all we need.
Make us rest in peaceful places; nourish us with calm, restore our soul So that when you lead us through the valley of the shadow of death We need fear no evil.
Give us deep trust in you to guide and protect us, so we follow where you lead
Guide us not only to fields of abundant pasture but to banquets, new lives overflowing with purpose and joy