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Minnesota Episcopal
Environmental
Stewardship
Commission (MEESC)

Episcopal Church in Minnesota
Shield of Episcopal Church

Upcoming Activities:

Next Meeting:

We meet quarterly close to the solstice and equinox.


Annual Special Projects


Resolutions:

Resolution on the Spirituality of Food Production

Resolution on Church Buildings and Grounds


Resolution on Creation Season

Resolution on Green Congregations

 

 

Lectionary Reflection

Year B, Proper 5
Episcopal (Standard) Lectionary – Revised Common Lectionary
New Testament Reading

2 Corinthians 4: 13-18 [Episcopal (Standard) Lectionary]
2 Corinthians 4: 13 – 5: 1
[Revised Common Lectionary]

[Start both] Just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—‘I believed, and so I spoke’—we also believe, and so we speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. [End Standard reading]

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. [End RCL reading]

 

Reflection on 2 Corinthians 4: 13 – 5:1
by John G. Gibbs, PhD

For the sake of clarity at Corinth the apostle Paul draws some major contrasts that underline crucial differences:  between appearance and reality, between ambiguity and clarity (2 Corinthians 1:12-20), between death-dealing legalism (“letter”) and life-giving Spirit (3:6), between the appearance of glory and the reality of glory (3:7ff), between what is transient and what is permanent (3:11), between “cunning” and openness or frankness (1:12; 4:2), between what is “veiled” or hidden and what is publicly “proclaimed” (4:2-5), between “treasure” and “clay jars” that hold it (4:7), between what happens to us and who we are within (4:8-10).

There develops in that list of contrasts an invigorating sense of dynamic forward thrust in the Christian life.“So we do not lose heart” (4:16). Even death is not denied. Death is surveyed in all its darkness, and found to be impotent against the light and glory that has claimed us, that has already begun to mould us, and that will prevail beyond all our temporary (mortal) realities and extend into God’s own eternity (4:16-18).  In real life we experience blessed reversals: “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies” (4:8-10).

The reality of that dynamic forward thrust keeps us from losing heart not only as individuals, but also as gatherings (congregations) of God’s People. Paul’s blessed reversals are addressed to the Church at Corinth, to her community life, to the interactions of her members, and to the interactions of that congregation with her environing world. Paul sees no obstacles ahead that could halt the dynamic forward thrust of God’s work in the world.

The point of all God’s blessed reversals of normal expectations is this: “…so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.” That could be an empowering mantra of ecological responsibility.  In our physical life within the world of nature let the life of Jesus be made visible.

Let us embody the sacrificial lifestyle of Jesus so that his kind of new life can be extended through us into the creation within which we both live and die. Let our purpose as “environmentalists” be to live in such a way as to “make visible” an alternative way of living that conserves far more than it consumes, and that brings the glory of God back into God’s own creation, thereby dispelling the darkness of human waste and war.

Printable version

 

To Reflections on other Readings for Year B, Proper 5

Reflections available at the active links
Standard (Episcopal)
Lectionary
Revised Common
Lectionary
   
Semi-Continuous Track
Gospel Theme Track
Old Testament
(Hebrew Scripture) Reading:
1 Samuel 8: 4-11 (12-15), 16-20 (11: 14-15)
Psalm
Psalm 138
New Testament Reading:
2 Corinthians 4: 13-18
(this page)
2 Corinthians 4: 13 – 5: 1
(this page)
Gospel
Mark 3: 20-35
Mark 3: 20-35
   

John Gibbs, PhD, a retired theologian, resided in Park Rapids, MN, when he originally wrote this reflection in 2003. He and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to John Gibbs 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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