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Environmental Stewardship Commission

Episcopal Church in Minnesota

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Lectionary Reflection

Year A, Proper 29
Standard Episcopal Lectionary — Revised Common Lectionary
Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Lesson

Ezekiel 34: 11-16, 20-24 (Standard and RCL)

Thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land. I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord GOD. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.

Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD to them: I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you pushed with flank and shoulder, and butted at all the weak animals with your horns until you scattered them far and wide, I will save my flock, and they shall no longer be ravaged; and I will judge between sheep and sheep. I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken.


Reflection on Ezekiel 34: 11-16, 20-24
by Nan Stokes

Last week after Zephaniah thundered with warnings about the day of the Lord, of clouds and thick darkness, today we have a softer image of how things will be when the Lord God will "search for my sheep and will seek them out." God will rescue them from all the places to which they had been scattered when the darkness came. Certainly Ezekiel is prophesying that the people will be gathered from the countries where they were scattered and will be brought into their own land so they can feed on the mountains of Israel by the watercourses. In Israel where the rivers flow, the air is cool and the land is green – what a homecoming that must have been for them!

The Psalm for this day (Psalm 95 in the Gospel track) tells us to raise a loud shout to God with psalms, because he is a great God."In his hand are all 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." This is a great description of creation and talks again about being the people of God's pasture and the sheep of God's hand. The image of a shepherd was one that all the people of Israel could understand and identify with, and it is a peaceful, calming picture – worth striving for – to become one of God's children.

Printable version

To Reflections on other Readings for Year A, Proper 29:

Reflections available at the active links
Standard (Episcopal)
Revised Common
Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Reading:
Ezekiel 34: 11-16, 20-24
(This Page)
Ezekiel 34: 11-16, 20-24
(This Page)
Psalm100 or
Psalm 95: 1-7a
New Testament Lesson
1 Corinthians 15: 20-28
Ephesians 1: 15-23
Matthew 25: 31-46
Matthew 25: 31-46


Nan Stokes was an active member of St. Edward the Confessor Episcopal Church, Duluth, MN, when she originally wrote this reflection in 1999. Nan and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to Nan Stokes or any MEESC member, or mail them to:

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

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