Environmental Stewardship Commission

Episcopal Church in Minnesota

Lectionary Reflection
Year A, Proper 13, Psalm

Psalm 78:
1  Hear my teaching, O my people; *
        incline your ears to the words of my mouth. 

2  I will open my mouth in a parable; *
        I will declare the mysteries of ancient times. 

3  That which we have heard and known,
        and what our forefathers have told us, *
        we will not hide from their children. 

4  We will recount to generations to come
        the praiseworthy deeds and the power of the LORD, *
        and the wonderful works he has done. 

5  He gave his decrees to Jacob
        and established a law for Israel, *
        which he commanded them to teach their children; 

6  That the generations to come might know,
        and the children yet unborn; *
        that they in their turn might tell it to their children; 

7  So that they might put their trust in God, *
        and not forget the deeds of God,
        but keep his commandments; 

8  And not be like their forefathers,
        a stubborn and rebellious generation, *
        a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
        and whose spirit was not faithful to God. 

9  The people of Ephraim, armed with the bow, *
        turned back in the day of battle; 

10  They did not keep the covenant of God, *
        and refused to walk in his law; 

11  They forgot what he had done, *
        and the wonders he had shown them. 

12  He worked marvels in the sight of their forefathers, *
        in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan. 

13  He split open the sea and let them pass through; *
        he made the waters stand up like walls. 

14  He led them with a cloud by day, *
        and all the night through with a glow of fire. 

15  He split the hard rocks in the wilderness *
        and gave them drink as from the great deep. 

16  He brought streams out of the cliff, *
        and the waters gushed out like rivers. 

17  But they went on sinning against him, *
        rebelling in the desert against the Most High. 

18  They tested God in their hearts, *
        demanding food for their craving. 

19  They railed against God and said, *
        "Can God set a table in the wilderness? 

20  True, he struck the rock, the waters gushed out, and the gullies overflowed; *
        but is he able to give bread
        or to provide meat for his people?" 

21  When the LORD heard this, he was full of wrath; *
        a fire was kindled against Jacob,
        and his anger mounted against Israel; 

22  For they had no faith in God, *
        nor did they put their trust in his saving power. 

23  So he commanded the clouds above *
        and opened the doors of heaven. 

24  He rained down manna upon them to eat *
        and gave them grain from heaven. 

25  So mortals ate the bread of angels; *
        he provided for them food enough. 

26  He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens *
        and led out the south wind by his might. 

27  He rained down flesh upon them like dust *
        and winged birds like the sand of the sea. 

28  He let it fall in the midst of their camp *
        and round about their dwellings. 

29  So they ate and were well filled, *
        for he gave them what they craved. 

Reflection on Psalm 78:
by the Rev Wanda Copeland

The Psalm writer “recounts the deeds and the power of the Lord” to an audience that does not remember or did not experience personally. Deeds demonstrated by the Lord are so that the people will come to know the One who gives them life. Sure God gives the people commandments by which to live, and offers covenants as signs of God’s unswerving love. Additionally, the people need to be reminded that God parted the sea, brought water from the rocks while they were in the desert; brought streams out of the cliffs; and let them through the hard wilderness. The people need to be reminded of all the good things God has done. The people’s faith needs to be rejuvenated. God does so many acts of life-giving support for the people. As God’s people, what do we need to remember? What have we forgotten of the covenant God put forward for us? How is God still blessing us, and we are unwilling to see?

To Reflections on other Readings for this Sunday:
Hebrew Scripture
Nehemiah 9:16-20
no reflection available
this page
New Testament
Romans 8:35-39
Matthew 14:13-21

The Rev Wanda Copeland is rector of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Elk River, MN. Wanda was the second chair of MEESC, and since 2001 she has been the chair of the Episcopal Ecological Network.  She originally wrote this reflection in 2002.  Wanda and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to The Rev Wanda Copeland 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 web site.

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