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Environmental Stewardship Commission

Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota

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We meet quarterly close to the solstice and equinox.

Annual Special Projects


Resolution on the Spirituality of Food Production

Resolution on Church Buildings and Grounds

Resolution on Creation Season

Lectionary Reflection

Ash Wednesday, All Years Standard (Episcopal) Lectionary Revised Common Lectionary Psalm

Psalm 103

Bless the LORD, O my soul, * and all that is within me, bless his holy Name.

Bless the LORD, O my soul, * and forget not all his benefits.

He forgives all your sins * and heals all your infirmities;

He redeems your life from the grave * and crowns you with mercy and loving-kindness;

He satisfies you with good things, * and your youth is renewed like an eagle's.

The LORD executes righteousness * and judgment for all who are oppressed.

He made his ways known to Moses * and his works to the children of Israel.

The LORD is full of compassion and mercy, * slow to anger and of great kindness.

He will not always accuse us, * nor will he keep his anger for ever.

He has not dealt with us according to our sins, * nor rewarded us according to our wickedness.

For as the heavens are high above the earth, * so is his mercy great upon those who fear him.

As far as the east is from the west, * so far has he removed our sins from us.

As a father cares for his children, * so does the LORD care for those who fear him.

For he himself knows whereof we are made; * he remembers that we are but dust.

Our days are like the grass; * we flourish like a flower of the field;

When the wind goes over it, it is gone, * and its place shall know it no more.

But the merciful goodness of the LORD endures for ever on those who fear him, * and his righteousness on children's children;

On those who keep his covenant * and remember his commandments and do them.

The LORD has set his throne in heaven, * and his kingship has dominion over all.

Bless the LORD, you angels of his, you mighty ones who do his bidding, * and hearken to the voice of his word.

Bless the LORD, all you his hosts, * you ministers of his who do his will.

Bless the LORD, all you works of his, in all places of his dominion; * bless the LORD, O my soul.

Reflection on Psalm 103:8-14 by Nan Stokes

The portion of the Psalms chosen for Ash Wednesday is an out-pouring of thanks to the Lord who can be counted on to reward us with great mercy and compassion, even though we are wicked and sinful. This is a thought we do not especially like to think, or a concept we do not like to accept, but at the beginning of this penitential season, it is time for us to think about where we are standing with our Lord. The images the psalmist uses to show how far our sins are removed from us are descriptive of creation: "as the heavens are high above the earth" and "as far as the east is from the west". Both of these concepts are un-measurable, just as God's great forgiveness is un-measurable. When our foreheads are marked with ashes, we, too remember that we are but dust. It is time to commit ourselves to a new life beginning this day.

Copyright Statement

Reflections on other Readings [Standard (Episcopal) and Revised Common Lectionary] for Ash Wednesday, All Years:

Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 or Isaiah 58:1-12
Psalm 103
this page

New Testament 2 Corinthians 5:20b6:1

Gospel Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Nan Stokes is a past co-chair of MEESC (2002-2006). She resided in Duluth, MN, when she originally wrote this reflection in 1998. Nan and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to Nan Stokes or any MEESC member, or mail them to:

MEESC c/o C. Morello 4451 Lakeside Drive Eveleth, MN 55743-4400 USA

The MEESC assumes that all correspondence received is for publication on this web site. If your comments are not for publication, please so note on your correspondence. The MEESC reserves the right to decide which items are included on the website.

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