Environmental Stewardship Commission (MEESC)

Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota

Lectionary Reflection Year B, Proper 13, Old Testament Lesson

Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15

The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger."

Then the LORD said to Moses, "I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not."

Then Moses said to Aaron, "Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, `Draw near to the LORD, for he has heard your complaining.'" And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud. The LORD spoke to Moses and said, "I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, `At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.'"

In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, "What is it?" For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, "It is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat."

Reflection on Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15 by the Rev. Tom Harries

Beginning with the Manna and the reference in the gospel to the feeding of 5000 one could talk about all the ways God provides for us through creation and the environment.

To me the most stunning one is oxygen in the air. We all breath every minute from birth to death without thinking about it, yet we could not live a moment without the whole process that keeps oxygen in the air.

Similarly with water. You can fast quite a while, but without water you can last only a few days.

Only a small portion of the world's water is fresh. It is extremely important to be good stewards of it.

Copyright Statement

To Reflections on other Readings for this Sunday:
Old Testament Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15
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Psalm 78:1-25 or 78:14-20, 23-25
New Testament Ephesians 4:17-25
Gospel John 6:24-35
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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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