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Environmental Stewardship Commission

Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota

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We meet quarterly close to the solstice and equinox.

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Mary Brown Environmental Center in Ely, MN

Creation Season Materials


Resolution on the Spirituality of Food Production

Resolution on Church Buildings and Grounds

Resolution on Creation Season

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Lectionary Reflection

Year B, Proper 29 New Testament Reading Christ the King: "On Earth As In Heaven"

Revelation 1:1-8

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place; he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and who keep what is written in it; for the time is near.

John to the seven churches that are in Asia:

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail.

So it is to be. Amen.

I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

Reflection on Revelation 1:1-8

by John Gibbs, PhD

We live in lake country. Because we live in lake country there is a good chance that the apocalyptic text for today can make sense to us. It is the nature of apocalyptic to disclose to us more than one level of meaning, and to present us with many images and reflections of reality.

Lakes do the same thing.

Lakes dare wooden-headed literalists to stick stubbornly only to water, snails, turtles, fish, birds, underwater plants, algae, Secchi-disk readings, and Trophic State Indexes. However important all these may be, we who live in lake country can say: "If that's all you know about lakes, then you do not yet know our lakes." If all you can do with a lake is take it literally, then you have never let that lake tell you all it has to tell.

Take Lake Peysensky, for instance, where Nancy and I live. Our prospect on it is mostly south and southwest. On a quiet autumn late-afternoon her smooth surface reflects instant miracles of colorful diversity that exist on lake surface no less than in the panoplied sky above its setting sun. There's not just one lake shore filled with lavenders, reds, and yellows, but two. Our lake gives back to us a whole second sky, and thereby awakens our imaginations until we begin to behold a heaven here below. From the lake we get a new meaning for the petition in the Lord's Prayer: "on earth as in heaven." Any other lake presents as many images and reflections of reality, for those who have eyes to see.

The opening chapters of the book of Revelation set before us two figures: "Jesus Christ, the faithful witness" exalted above; and here below, the whole Church represented by seven congregations, the number seven symbolizing "the whole thing." John's letters to these seven congregations propose and urge that the whole Church on earth truly reflect the one incomparably faithful Witness. Here below on the surface of space/time the pattern of our life together begins to reflect the will of God being done on earth as in heaven.

The Church cannot live willy-nilly, nor grow like Topsy. There's a pattern for our life together, and that is the character of "the faithful and true witness" (3:14). If Jesus Christ is "the beginning of creation" (3:14), then the Church lives on earth as a people that is responsible for the environment that God created. If Jesus Christ is "the first born of the dead," then the Church lives like wide-awake participants in the new creation, rather than like dead people who only "have a name of being alive" (3:1-3). If Jesus Christ, who ruled by being the Servant of all, is "the ruler of the kings of the earth," then the Church learns from that faithful Witness how to govern, how to administer its own affairs, and how to model a management lifestyle that serves people and does not tyrannize them.

Copyright Statement

To Reflections on other Readings for Year B, Proper 29:

Old Testament Daniel 7:9-14
no reflection available
Psalm 93
no reflection available
New Testament Revelation 1:1-8
this page
Gospel John 18:33-37 or Mark 11:1-11
no reflection available

John Gibbs, PhD, a retired theologian, attended Trinity Episcopal Church, Park Rapids, MN, when he originally wrote this reflection in 2000. John 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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