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Environmental Stewardship Commission (MEESC)

Episcopal Church in Minnesota

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We meet quarterly close to the solstice and equinox.

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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 General Reflection


Standard (Episcopal) Lectionary

Click on the link to read the lesson

Revised Common Lectionary

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General Reflection on Last Epiphany by the Rev Wanda Copeland

From the earliest times, humans realized their view was broadened when they went up a summit of some degree. The higher they climbed the more they could see. When they were removed from the situation in which they found themselves down below and viewed whence they had come, they had much better perspective on all that was happening in the valleys and lower places. The machinations of life were clearly visible, whether in their individual dwelling and family, or entire towns or settlements. There seemed to be a mystical quality to be elevated above the norm of daily life.

Not surprisingly, they surmised gods lived on mountains. And occasionally, humans even encountered gods on mountains. From what we know and what we understand, it is not hard for us to imagine gods dwelling on high mountains where they can spy on humans and distribute punishment or rewards as needed. It is an appropriate place for gods to live and where we might experience the holy. Removed from the daily flurry of activity, given the opportunity to observe ourselves and others and reflect upon what we see, we feel even more like gods when we climb peaks ourselves.

We have two such recountings in today's lessons. In Exodus, the LORD called Moses up to Mount Sinai to give Moses God's commandments for the people. In Matthew, we read of Jesus' transfiguration upon the mountain. In both stories, the characters discover the living God high upon a mountain. The situations are awesome for Moses, Peter, James and John. Not only is God in this high holy place, but they have seen and experienced God there. When each comes down from the mountain, they are transformed through their experience of God in that place.

Experiencing God on a mountain top is expected, and acceptable. But what if we were to experience God in all places and in all times (not just on mountaintops)? What if we sought after God in the swamps and bogs of the world? What if we recognized God's presence in butterflies and stinkbugs? Surely God is present on the high hills of our world. But if God, the creator, is extant, is that same creator God not also found in even the smallest microbe down here in the trenches of our lives? Perhaps our call includes seeking God where he will be found. If we are called in our Baptismal Covenant to "seek and serve Christ in all persons," are we not also called to discover the one who wills to be found in all that our God has created?

Printable version

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

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

The Rev Wanda Copeland was rector of Holy Trinity Church, Elk River, MN, and Co-chair of MEESC when shehe originally wrote this reflection in 1999. Wanda and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to Wanda Copeland or any MEESC member, or mail them to:

MEESC 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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