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Environmental Stewardship Commission

Episcopal Church in Minnesota

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Lectionary Reflection

Year A, Epiphany 3
Revised Common Lectionary
General Reflection on Lessons
"The Shalom of Souls and Stars"

Readings for this Sunday (RCL)


Reflection on the Readings: "The Shalom of Souls and Stars"
by John G. Gibbs, PhD

Sometimes past actions never die, but live on into today. These four texts proclaim actions that do that. They show the enduring effects of Christmas, the life-changing and world-saving (John 3:17) consequences of Jesus' birth, the perennial impacts of the incarnation: "…The people…have seen a great light." "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?" "…the kingdom of heaven has come near."

Some past actions never die, for they even move through today into tomorrow. These four texts proclaim tomorrow's good news, all rooted in God's purposes and deeds yesterday and today: "…there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. "I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." "…there shall be endless peace … with justice and righteousness from this time onward and forevermore" (Is. 9:7). "Follow me, and I will make you fish for people."

Third, there are actions that bond souls and stars together – yesterday, today, and forever. Inner life and outer ecology interact by God's grace. "The Lord is the stronghold of my life" (Ps. 27:1) because he is the "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Is. 9:6). There can be Shalom ("peace") within only because there is Shalom at large in the cosmos. That Peace, which at Christmas brings God's "good will to humanity," brings illumination to "lands of deep darkness," just as it once moved beyond the arrest of John the Baptizer until brothers (and sisters) followed the Prince of Peace in whom "the kingdom of heaven has come near."

If Christmas has done anything, it has brought together Community and Creation, God's People and God's planet earth. What God has brought together, let no one put asunder - perhaps especially in this case.


Printable version

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

Reflections available at the active links
Standard (Episcopal)
Revised Common
Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Reading:
Amos 3:1-8
Psalm 139:1-17 or 139:1-11
Psalm 27: 1, 5-13
New Testament Lesson


John G. Gibbs, a retired theologian, resided in Park Rapids, MN, when he wrote this reflection in 2008. John 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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