Episcopal Church in Minnesota

Environmental Stewardship Commission (MEESC) Lectionary Reflection Year B, Eighth Epiphany, Old Testament

Hosea 2:14-23: The Lord said to Hosea:

Therefore, I will now allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. From there I will give her her vineyards, and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she shall respond as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.

On that day, says the LORD, you will call me, "My husband," and no longer will you call me, "My Baal." For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be mentioned by name no more. I will make for you a covenant on that day with the wild animals, the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the ground; and I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land; and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will take you for my wife forever; I will take you for my wife in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy. I will take you for my wife in faithfulness; and you shall know the LORD.

On that day I will answer, says the LORD, I will answer the heavens and they shall answer the earth; and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil, and they shall answer Jezreel; and I will sow him for myself in the land. And I will have pity on Lo-ruhamah, and I will say to Lo-ammi, "You are my people"; and he shall say, "You are my God."

Reflection on Hosea 2:14-23 by the Rev Wanda Copeland

Hosea is calling to mind for the Hebrew people that a new time is upon them. Past transgressions and shortcomings are to be put aside, and the kind of relationships that existed before (as during the time that the people were wandering in the desert) will be restored. Interestingly enough, in the middle of this passage, God says, "I will make for you a covenant on that day with the wild animals, the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the groundŠ" God does not say that the covenant will be between God and the creatures mentioned, or that the covenant will be between God and the people. Instead, God says I will mediate a covenant between humans and the other creatures. What would such a covenant look like? What would it mean to be in closer, more intentional relationship with the other beings? Would there be a peace treaty that called for the end to killing between species? Would there have to be a re-negotiation of land uses so that animals could have more grazing and hunting land? What if we were to make start drawing up terms for such a covenant ourselves? What would we like to see in such an instrument? What would be a fair and equitable covenant together?

The Rev Wanda Copeland is a rector of Holy Trinity Church, Elk River, MN, and Co-chair of the Environmental Stewardship Commission. She originally wrote this reflection in 2000. 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

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