Episcopal Church in Minnesota

Environmental Stewardship Commission
Lectionary Reflection
Year A, Easter 4, Old Testament Lesson

Nehemiah 9: 6-15

Ezra said: "You are the LORD, you alone; you have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. To all of them you give life, and the host of heaven worships you. You are the LORD, the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham; and you found his heart faithful before you, and made with him a covenant to give to his descendants the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite; and you have fulfilled your promise, for you are righteous.

"And you saw the distress of our ancestors in Egypt and heard their cry at the Red Sea. You performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants and all the people of his land, for you knew that they acted insolently against our ancestors. You made a name for yourself, which remains to this day. And you divided the sea before them, so that they passed through the sea on dry land, but you threw their pursuers into the depths, like a stone into mighty waters. Moreover, you led them by day with a pillar of cloud, and by night with a pillar of fire, to give them light on the way in which they should go. You came down also upon Mount Sinai, and spoke with them from heaven, and gave them right ordinances and true laws, good statutes and commandments, and you made known your holy sabbath to them and gave them commandments and statutes and a law through your servant Moses. For their hunger you gave them bread from heaven, and for their thirst you brought water for them out of the rock, and you told them to go in to possess the land that you swore to give them."

Reflection on Nehemiah 9: 6-15
by John Gibbs, Ph D

"Becoming People Who Are Safe for the World" (Sheep of the Shepherd)

Ezra's confession of faith in God says for the community as a whole much of what Psalm 23 says for one person. This statement of faith is in 2 parts: the first dealing with God the Creator (v. 6); and the second dealing with God the protector of, and provider for, God's People (vv. 7-15).

The statement, "You are the Lord," introduces each section. God the Lord made heaven, earth, seas, and all that is in all of them. The same God the Lord made a "covenant" with Abraham (v. 8), delivered his people from Egypt, led them through the wilderness, gave them the Decalogue (Ten Commandments), bread for their hunger, and water for their thirst, and finally led them "to possess the land" (v. 15). Accordingly, the God of Creation and the God of Redemption is one and the same God.


To Reflections on other Readings for this Sunday:
Old Testament
Nehemiah 9:6-15
this page
Psalm 23
 
New Testament
1 Peter 2:19-25 or 
Acts 6:1-9; 7:2a, 51-60
 
Gospel
John 10:1-10

John Gibbs, PhD, a retired theologian, attends Trinity Episcopal Church, Park Rapids, MN.   He originally wrote this reflection in 2002.  He and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to John Gibbs 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 web site.


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