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Environmental Stewardship Commission
(MEESC)

Episcopal Church in Minnesota

 
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Upcoming Activities:

Next Meeting:

We meet quarterly close to the solstice and equinox.


Special Projects:

Creation Season Materials


Resolutions:

Resolution on the Spirituality of Food Production

Resolution on Church Buildings and Grounds


Resolution on Creation Season

Resolution on Green Congregations

 

 

If you find the information in this reflection to be of interest or concern, please contact MEESC Members.

Members of MEESC reside around the Diocese of Minnesota and are available to assist you and your congregation in their environmental stewardship walk.

Please contact us at any time with your questions.

 

Creation Season 2009
October 4 – October 25, 2009
(Proper 22 through Proper 25, Year B)

Humans interacting with
'this fragile Earth, our island home'

Reflections on Job and the Environment

Welcome! We're glad you're planning on observing a liturgical season of creation. The following reflection is helpful in working with the readings from Job in the Semi-Continuous Track sequence of Pentecost.


 

Introduction to All of Job

Job is an interesting and difficult book in the Bible. Its origins are unknown and speculation is vast. Perhaps it was written in the 5th Century BCE. As a strong narrative tale of a successful rural patriarch, the story has aspects of wisdom, law, and lament woven into it. The literary forms shift around dramatically into descriptive, narrative, dialog, and monolog. Both prose and poetry are included. Job's piety is chosen to be tested by the deity in a challenge made with satan or member of a sort of a law court. Job is not anyone's actual history. The book explores suffering, relationships to the divine, family, friends, and creation. Job is a very well-to-do man of the Middle East. He is righteous. Yet Job has no awareness of the lives of many around him. He has limited knowledge of differing social classes, lives of women, children, the sick nor the natural world of all of God's creation.

Job has focused his piety on himself and his domain. His social circle enhances his own lifestyle. Job's wife and friends offer advice, yet he refutes them and suffers in loss of wealth and health. Yet, the tale is Job's experience, including the theophany which occurs after Job curses, not God, but the day of his birth. In lament style the woes are many, yet God is addressed and the relationship changes the encounter. God does speak to Job from the whirlwind. Job eventually has a deeper, richer faith and he changes. His life is restored, yet enlarged to include those who he previously ignored.

For today's lives in 2009, Job may have a fresh meaning. Many are experiencing job loss, poverty, and loss of health or retirement income which folks thought they had planned to avert. As stress and home losses accompany job loss, the irony of the name, JOB, and work, job, may give some of us pause to reexamine Job's story.

Environmentalists know the earth itself is changing and the well-to-do with our lifestyle of fossil fuel dependency are increasing the speed of its warming and pollution. The United Nations' Millennium Development Goals are all related to all of us.

Perhaps we all need to remember or learn anew the value of close relationships to the divine, family, friends, global relationships, and community. We need to realize than many suffer all the time – far more than most of us. We may need to remember the entire globe, this fragile earth our island home (Eucharistic Prayer C), solar system, creation, the cosmos, and our small parts in them. This story reminds one of Native American stories of human encounters with the divine in which all the questions are not answered, but clues are given for great pondering and discernment. We are all ashes and ultimately we return to ashes, perhaps as someone else's lunch. Where is compassion?

 

Sources:

  • The Women's Bible Commentary: Carol Newson and Sharon Ringe, eds., Westminster/John Knox, 1992
  • The Harper Collins Study Bible: 1993
  • The New Jerome Biblical Commentary: Prentice Hall, 1990
  • Lectures by Carolyn Pressler, Ph.D., at United Seminary of the Twin Cities, 1993-95


 

Note: The Reflections on Job wase prepared by the Rev Margaret W. Thomas.

 

The Rev Margaret W. Thomas, was a retired priest who resided in Duluth, MN, when she originally prepared these materials in 2009. Margaret and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to Margaret Thomas, 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.

   

This page last updated 2009-10-08.

 
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