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Environmental Stewardship Commission

Episcopal Church in 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

Resolution on Green Congregations



Lectionary Reflection

Year A, Lent 3
Standard (Episcopal) Lectionary – Revised Common Lectionary

Psalm 95

Come, let us sing to the LORD; *
     let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation. 
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving *
     and raise a loud shout to him with psalms. 
For the LORD is a great God, *
     and a great King above all gods. 
In his hand are the caverns of the earth, *
     and the heights of the hills are his also. 
The sea is his, for he made it, *
     and his hands have molded the dry land. 
Come, let us bow down, and bend the knee, *
     and kneel before the LORD our Maker. 
For he is our God,
     and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand. *
     Oh, that today you would hearken to his voice! 
Harden not your hearts,
     as your forebears did in the wilderness, *
     at Meribah, and on that day at Massah,
     when they tempted me. 
They put me to the test, *
     though they had seen my works. 
Forty years long I detested that generation and said, *
     "This people are wayward in their hearts;
     they do not know my ways." 
So I swore in my wrath, *
     "They shall not enter into my rest." 


Reflection on Psalm 95
by John G. Gibbs, PhD

God is in position to be sovereign over all nations, for God created sea and dry land, and all that is.  Psalm 95 is about God's sovereignty over all creation, all nations, and God's chosen "people."

First there is a hymn (vv. 1-7a) to God who is "a great King above all gods." Then there is a warning against going against the way God constructed the universe (vv. 7b-11). We are not, for instance, to repeat the errors described in Exodus 17, when the Community's place was a place of complaining "Test" and "Quarrel" ("Meribah" and "Massah") against God. Rather, let the Community be the place of "joyful noise," "songs of praise," and worship.

The author of this hymn knows about the pastoral relevance of God the Creator. The order and meaning that God provided at the outset to all creation is consistently the same order and meaning that we know as "the sheep of his hand" and "the people of his pasture." "In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also." The very names of God bring together in this hymn both Creation and Community: "the Lord, the rock of our salvation, a great King above all gods, our God, our Maker, a great God."

There is a stirring and informative discussion about interactions between creation-covenant- consummation in the January, 2002 issue of Theology Today. In his arcticle, "A Text That Redescribes," Walter Brueggemann states this about creation: "Creation is the claim of the text [the entire biblical text] that the life of the world is bounded by the self-giving generosity of God.  As deep and as far back as we can go, we will find that generosity. We cannot push beyond, will, or imagine our life outside the arena of Holy Generosity" (p. 530)

What could be more relevant to an age of affluence and ever increasing acquisitions? God's self-giving generosity in the creation summons us not only to words and songs of thanksgiving, but also to acts and deeds that bespeak our thanks to God as we serve all our neighbors, both human and non-human.


Printable version

To Reflections on other Readings for Year A, Lent 3:

Reflections available at the active links
Standard (Episcopal)
Revised Common
Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Reading:
Psalm 95 or 95: 6-11
(this page)
Psalm 95
(this page)
New Testament Lesson
Romans 5: 1-11
Romans 5: 1-11
John 4 :5-26 (27-38) 39-42
John 4 :5-42

Note: Portions of this Psalm are also read for Proper 29, Year A


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