Episcopal Church in Minnesota

Environmental Stewardship Commission (MEESC) Lectionary Reflection Year B, Advent 1, Old Testament Lesson

Isaiah 64:1-9a: O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence ... to make your name known to your adversaries, so that the nations might tremble at your presence! When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.

Reflections on Isaiah 64:1-9a

God does indeed speak through the creation in mighty deeds such as earthquakes, volcanoes and hurricanes, which we tend to call "acts of God", and admit we can not control . (Ask any insurance company!) God's presence is also made known in more ordinary events of nature for those who are discerning. However, sometimes we take for granted the gifts of rainfall and moving water of streams; the wind forming dunes in the deserts and gentle breezes that scatter pollen and seeds- seasonal changes and the renewal of growth in the spring each year. Sometimes we neglect to thank the creator for the paradise that is our planet. We need the "acts of God" to remind us that God is God, CREATOR GOD, and we are among the creatures invited to live lives in God's presence. The writer goes on to say that when God did awesome deeds that people did not expect, when the mountains quaked at God’s presence, the people did see and hear, and had not followed any other God, than the God who works for those who await him. How inclined we are to call a natural event a “disaster” and think that the flooding of a river in spring runoff, or the downing of trees in a wind storm, or the eruption of a volcano, or the shaking of the ground in an earthquake are somehow done against individual humans affected by them; actually those same natural events that have shaped the earth from the time it was formed, demonstrate to us the strength of the natural forces that from time to time have changed and shaped the earth itself. The power of these forces makes us aware of our dependence on the gifts of the earth, and aware how temporal and fragile each kind of living thing is in its environment.
Helen Hanten is a deacon at St. Andrew's by the Lake Episcopal Church, Duluth, MN. She wrote the first reflection in 1996 and the second in 1999. She and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to Helen Hanten or any other MEESC member, or mail them to:
MEESC c/o C. Morello 4451 Lakeside Drive Eveleth, MN 55743-4400 USA

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