Minnesota Episcopal
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


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 17
Revised Common Lectionary
Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Reading

Song of Solomon 2: 8-13

8 The voice of my beloved!
Look, he comes,
leaping upon the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
9 My beloved is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
Look, there he stands
behind our wall,
gazing in at the windows,
looking through the lattice.
10 My beloved speaks and says to me:
‘Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away;
11 for now the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
12 The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtle-dove
is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away.


Reflection on Song of Solomon 2: 8-13
by the Rev Sally Maxwell

This passage from the Song of Solomon is recommended to be read at weddings (in the Episcopal tradition, the Book of Common Prayer, p. 426). Certainly when we hear it in that context, it is a beautiful love poem celebrating the passionate adoring love of a young couple. Though God is not mentioned in these love poems, they invite us to find God incarnationally; in ourselves, in our lived beauty and sexuality, in consummate love with the "beloved" in our lives.

What is profound from the standpoint of environmental consciousness is the natural imagery and spirituality, something we tend to shy away from in North American culture. The lovers call out their songs of love against a backdrop of gardens, living water, mountains, vineyards, blossoms, and above all, springtime. The poems themselves exude fragrance, portraying a new season of singing.

The male beloved in this passage is a gazelle leaping upon the mountains. In a nearby passage he is an apple tree bearing sweet fruit. The female beloved is a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys. In a prior passage she is a cluster of henna blossoms in the vineyard.

These natural images are profound, yet unfortunately not as familiar to many people as are television ads or the brands of consumer goods in our society. In a homily one could encourage a reconnection with nature imagery. It is not to be feared, but to be embraced as a deeper way to love the earth and ourselves. That is a path to loving God within us and God within the earth.

Printable version


To Reflections on other Readings for Year B, Proper 17

Reflections available at the active links
Standard (Episcopal) Lectionary
Revised Common
Semi-Continuous Track
Gospel Theme Track
Old Testament
(Hebrew Scripture) Reading:
Deuteronomy 4:1-9
Song of Solomon 2: 8-13
(this page)
Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9
Psalm 45: 1-2, 7-10
New Testament Reading:
James 1: 17-27
Mark 7: 1-8, 14-15, 21-23
Mark 7: 1-8, 14-15, 21-23


The Rev Sally Maxwell was the campus minister at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, Duluth, MN, when she originally wrote this reflection in 2012. Sally and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to Rev Sally Maxwell or any MEESC member, or mail them to:

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.


This page last updated 2012-08-29.

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