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Environmental Stewardship Commission

Episcopal Church in Minnesota

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Upcoming Activities:

Next Meeting:

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

Resolution on Green Congregations



Lectionary Reflection

Year A, Last Epiphany
Standard (Episcopal) Lectionary – Revised Common Lectionary
Gospel Lesson

Matthew 17: 1-9

Six days after Peter had acknowledged Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, "This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!" When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Get up and do not be afraid." And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, "Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead."



Reflection on Matthew 17: 1-9
by the Rev Dcn Helen Hanten

When Moses went up the mountain to receive the tablets of stone with the law and the commandments, God spoke from a cloud and appeared like a devouring fire. When Jesus and his three closest disciples climbed a mountain, the three suddenly saw Jesus differently – dazzling – and God's voice came from a cloud.

Mountain tops are places we can see the farthest.  We can sometimes see in all directions. We see over the top of things nearby and look to a horizon which is farther away than we see from the ground. This describes a good place for a search for the divine. We need to be able to see more than our own routine of places to be and things to see. We need to be dazzled by the light of some new understanding, a new way to envision who, what and where God is. We listen, in prayer, for God to speak.

But even there, in these accounts, God speaks from a cloud. Clouds keep us from seeing clearly. Fog, a cloud on the ground, can keep us from seeing much of anything. Flying above clouds prevents us from seeing the earth beneath us. Reality is obscured. But the cloud, as a metaphor for that which obscures our understanding of God, also tells us that it is in ordinary things of creation that we encounter the presence of the Creator. Those times that we feel God's presence dazzling us, God's voice may be heard in the gifts of creation.

NOTE: This reflection ties the Gospel Reading together with the Hebrew Scipture (Old Testament) Reading.  Helens's reflection for both readings is identical.


Printable version

To Reflections on other Readings for Year A, Last Epiphany:

Reflections available at the active links
Standard (Episcopal)
Revised Common
Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Reading:
Psalm 99
Psalm 2 or 99
New Testament Lesson
Philippians 3:7-14
2 Peter 1:16-21
Matthew 17:1-9
(this page)
Matthew 17:1-9
(this page)


The Rev Dcn Helen Hanten is a retired deacon and was an active member of St. Andrew's By-the-Lake Episcopal Church, Duluth, MN, when she originally wrote this reflection in 2002.  Helen and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to Helen Hanten or any MEESC member, or mail them to:

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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