Environmental Stewardship Commission (MEESC)

Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota

Lectionary Reflection Year B, Proper 8, Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Lesson

Deuteronomy 15:7-11

Moses said: If there is among you anyone in need, a member of your community in any of your towns within the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor. You should rather open your hand, willingly lending enough to meet the need, whatever it may be. Be careful that you do not entertain a mean thought, thinking, "The seventh year, the year of remission, is near," and therefore view your needy neighbor with hostility and give nothing; your neighbor might cry to the LORD against you, and you would incur guilt. Give liberally and be ungrudging when you do so, for on this account the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, "Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land."

Reflection on Deuteronomy 15:7-11 by the Rev. Tom Harries

The lessons from Deuteronomy and 2 Corinthians share the call for generosity-in Deuteronomy toward your neighbor, in 2 Corinthians toward other Christian communities.

One option would be to ask, "What would it mean to be generous toward our sister and brother creatures, or toward the earth itself?"

Could we in generosity leave some water in the rivers for the fish, or actually take down some of the dams that prevent spawning?

Could we in generosity raise animals in less efficient but more humane ways? And would we help create the demand by paying the higher price?

Another possibility would be to focus on the impact debt forgiveness for poor countries, and generosity toward them, will have on the environment. Much environmental destruction is done by people too poor to have significant choices in their quest to survive. A great deal more results from the need to earn dollars for debt service.

Copyright Statement

Tom Harries is Rector of St. Nicholas' Episcopal Church, Richfield, MN. He originally wrote this reflection in 2000. Tom and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to Tom Harries or any MEESC member, or mail them to:
MEESC Holy Trinity Church Box 65 Elk River, MN 55330-0065 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 If your comments are not for publication, please so note on your correspondence.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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