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Minnesota Episcopal
Environmental
Stewardship
Commission (MEESC)

Episcopal Church in Minnesota
 
Shield of Episcopal Church

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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 2012
October 7– October 28, 2012
(Proper 22 through Proper 25, Year B)

Proper 25, Year B
(October 28, 2012)

Humans Interacting/Reconciling with
'this fragile Earth, our island home'

Homilist's Notes

Welcome! We're glad you're planning on observing a liturgical season of creation. We have prepared some materials for you to use in worship, teaching, and personal reflection.

The Reflections and Notes on the readings for this Sunday are available for you to use. You may

  • copy and paste what you wish from this page directly to your preparation materials or
  • download the materials as part of a reference materials for the individuals involved in preparing religious education, homilies, or special liturgical materials for your Service.

RCL Readings for this Sunday:

Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Reading:
Job 42: 1-6, 10-17
Psalm
Psalm 34: 1-8 (19-22)
New Testament Reading
Hebrews 7: 23-28
Gospel
Mark 10: 46-52
Creation Theme for this Sunday: Salvation comes when as humans we live most fully when we live sustainably in concert with the earth and are satisfied with its riches.We hear the pain we have caused the world, and seek to reconcile our mutual life rhythms.

Together we seek to bring harmony and new ways of living in sustainable interdependence with Creation



 

Theme: Visions of life in Harmony with Creation

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. (Roman's 8:19-20, NRSV)

What is creation waiting for? What will it look like when it gets here? There is no one single definitive answer, and never will be, for nature is always fantastically varied and suited to the local environment. Furthermore, the kingdom of God remains a seed growing secretly in most places.

Never the less, we glimpse the kingdom here and there. We hear stories of it bursting forth, often in unexpected places. Sightings of life in harmony with creation come more often every year. Here are some places where we see signs or visions of harmonious life.

Visions in Scripture

Psalm 104, a hymn to Creator God, "is perhaps the fullest rendition of creation faith in the Old Testament." [Brueggemann, Theology of the Old Testament (1997), p. 155] The creation of the heavens (vv. 2-4) and the earth (vv. 5-9) is followed by God's care for the earth and all its inhabitants, human and animal alike (vv. 10-18), all that while the months and days continue under God's direction (vv. 19-23) and all living beings continually depend from day to day on their Creator (vv. 24-30). "May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord" (v. 34). The psalm concludes with the prayerful hope that all creation will be returned to its primeval state before any evil came into it (v. 35). (Gibbs, John)

Isaiah 11: 6-9: "Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; The calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. The cow and the bear shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox. The baby shall play by the cobra's den, and the child lay his hand on the adder's lair. There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as water covers the sea."

Revelation 22:1-3: "Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him."

There are of course, many, many more.

Commentary on RCL Scripture Readings for Oct. 28, 2012, (Proper25)

Job 42: 1-6, 10-17
The bulk of the book instead presents a complex account of a human struggling to find meaning in his suffering …. He again trusts in God as the origin and sustainer of that creation and even that that creation can again be abundant for him. He is ready to renew his own role in that order.
Read the full article by the Rev Buff Grace

Mark 10: 46-52: Restoration of Sight to Bartimaeus
You might say that, as a culture overall we have lost our vision. We have lost sight of what it means to live in in harmony with the natural world. But the examples are there to be seen. Like Bartimaeus we just need to have our eyes opened and our sight returned. We may trust that Jesus will open our eyes if we ask, so let us cry with Bartimaeus "Teacher, let me see again."

Visions in Literature

Voltaire: Candide Similar exploration of theodicy to Job with similar conclusion: "Cultivate your own garden." Thus, think small, turn to natural order, harmonize yourself with that.

Wordsworth: Intimations of Immortality Celebrates the visions of connection to nature in childhood and how the memories of that connection soothe a person crowded by the human-built environment (city).

Eternity of Nature
by John Clare

All nature has a feeling: woods, fields, brooks
Are life eternal; and in silence they
Speak happiness beyond the reach of books;
There's nothing mortal in them; their decay
Is the green life of change; to pass away
And come again in blooms revivified.
Its birth was heaven, eternal is its stay,
And with the sun and moon shall still abide
Beneath their day and night and heaven wide.
Visions in Practice

Sustainable intentional Community: Koinonia
Koinonia-from the ancient Greek, meaning loving fellowship or community.

The Koinonia mission: We are Christians called to live together in intentional community sharing a life of prayer, work, study, service and fellowship. We seek to embody peacemaking, sustainability, and radical sharing. While honoring people of all backgrounds and faiths, we strive to demonstrate the way of Jesus as an alternative to materialism, militarism and racism.
Our vision is:
Love - through service to others
Peace - through reconciliation
Joy - through generous hospitality.

Koinonia is the Christian community founded in 1942 by Clarence Jordan, "prophet in blue jeans," author of the Cotton Patch Gospels. Koinonia is the birthplace of Habitat for Humanity and many other peacemaking, social justice organizations.

Koinonia is active in ministries such as Heart to Heart Home Repair, youth and elder programs, peace & justice work, and a ministry of hospitality. Most of all, Koinonia is an intentional Christian community striving to be a "demonstration plot for the Kingdom of God." Members "preach" Jesus' gospel through the way we live. We choose to model our shared life after the early Christian communities as described in the Acts of the Apostles, not to withdraw from the world but rather to serve God and humankind more fully. (http://www.koinoniapartners.org/index.html)

Sustainable and Healthy Food: Community Supported Agriculture and Organic Farms

One of the exciting movements of the last 20 years and more is the growth of Community Supported Agriculture and Organic farming here in Minnesota and across the country. Here is one representative realization of each vision:

Community Supported Agriculture: This description from the Land Stewardship Project Food and Farm Connection Pages

At their most fundamental level, CSA farms provide a weekly delivery of sustainably grown produce to consumers during the growing season (approximately June to October). Those consumers, in turn, pay a subscription fee. But CSA consumers don't so much "buy" food from particular farms as become "members" of those farms. CSA operations provide more than just food; they offer ways for eaters to become involved in the ecological and human community that supports the farm. (http://www.landstewardshipproject.org/csa.html)

Organic Farms:

Rather than sell shares in the harvest, non CSA organic farmers sell their produce at farmers markets and through traditional outlets. Some small local farms operate according to organic principles but cannot afford the formal certification. Many people think buying local produce is more important than insisting on certification. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture maintains a list of Minnesota growers and outlets on its Minnesota Grown website. Printed versions are available. (http://www3.mda.state.mn.us/mngrown/home.aspx)

Gaviotas, Columbia
Gaviotas is a village of about 200 people in Colombia, South America. For three decades, Gaviotans - peasants, scientists, artists, and former street kids - have struggled to build an oasis of imagination and sustainability in the remote, barren savannas of eastern Colombia, an area ravaged by political terror. They have planted millions of trees, thus regenerating an indigenous rainforest. They farm organically and use wind and solar power. Every family enjoys free housing, community meals, and schooling. There are no weapons, no police, no jail. There is no mayor. The United Nations named the village a model of sustainable development. Gabriel Garcia Marquez has called founder Paolo Lugari the "inventor of the world."

In the early 1980's Gaviotas began planting a Caribbean pine tree in the otherwise barren llanos of eastern Colombia. These trees were able to survive in the highly acidic soil with the help of mycorrhizal fungus applied to their roots. Over the years, this forest has expanded to approximately 8,000 hectares, or 20,000 acres. The presence of the forest has altered the local climate by generating an additional 10 percent rainfall, which also supports Gaviotas' water bottling initiative.

The processing of tree resin has become an important economic activity for the community. Gaviotans discovered that their pine forest can produce twise as much resin as any other resin-tapping forest in the world. Tree tappers normally use sulfuric acid when making incisions, but Gaviotans use an enzyme that appears to be beneficial for the trees. The use of mycorrhizal fungus may also contribute to their productivity. Gaviotans produce a very high-grade resin in their efficient, zero-waste facility. Even the packaging of the resin was designed to minimize excess material. Resin can be poured directly into cardboard boxes, cooled and shipped to market.

Palm trees are now being planted in the forest to support the production of biodiesel for the trucks that to transport their products to Bogota. Over the years the pine trees have provided a shady understory for other plants and animals to thrive. Some of these species may be dormant seeds of ancient rainforest that once covered the region. The pines are slowly being crowded out by the regeneration of indigenous species. The community is generating power with turbine engines fueled by the aging pines in their forest.

Curitiba, Brazil: A city for people, not for cars
Some statements about Curitiba:

  1. Curitiba has the highest recycling rate in the World - 70%.
  2. Curitiba has bus system that is so good that car traffic decreased by 30% while the population tripled in a twenty year period.
  3. Curitiba has the largest downtown pedestrianised shopping area in the World.
  4. Curitiba has built large numbers of beautiful parks to control floods rather than concrete canals. So many that they use sheep to cut the grass as it's cheaper than lawnmowers.
  5. Curitiba is a city where 99% of inhabitants want to live. In comparison, 70% of Sao Paolo's residents want to live in Curitiba.
  6. Curitiba's average income per person has gone from less than the Brazilian average in the 1970's to 66% greater than the Brazilian average.

Jaime Lerner first became mayor of Curitiba in the early 1970's (he has been mayor three times). His leadership was crucial to the changes. Curitiba did a number of things, best described here:

  1. Built parks instead of canals to reduce flooding. Also used parks to make the city more liveable.
  2. Pedestrianised the downtown area.
  3. Invented and built the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) - a bus system that works like a light rail system but is 10 times cheaper.
  4. Gave people bus tokens in return for waste.
  5. Started a massive recycling scheme - all initiated by children.

Also see: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/jaime_lerner_sings_of_the_city.html

Mark Shepard 's family permaculture farm in Viola, Wisconsin
Mark has planted an estimated 250,000 trees over the last 15 years on his 106 acre farm. Forest Agriculture Enterprises is known for its hazelnut, chestnut, butternut, nut pine and apple produce, scion-wood and value added products.Mark has planted his trees and market garden patches on contour to retain water and to heal the land -the only exception is the hazelnut maze. Mark follows the keyline technique and has made a vast network of small pocket ponds and spreader swales to slow and spread rain water and to heal gully erosion. A Permaculture Farm ideally has a polyculture of plants, animals and activities occurring on it. In a polyculture system there's always something that can be grown, made or exchanged in order to acquire dollars and pay the bills. Once you start looking at Permaculture as a profitable venture, you start seeing all of the opportunity." Mark's farm is profitable according to typical economic standards, but according to nutrient production by cost, Mark's farm far exceeds traditional annual crop production farms. He also farms small-scale livestock in order to create zero-waste scenario and create more revenue streams.

 

PDF Version of these notes: click here.

To other Materials for Sundays in this series
Proper 25
October 7
October 14
October 21
October 28
 
This Page

The materials for this Sunday were prepared by the Rev Tom Harries and the Rev Buff Grace.

 

 

  • The Rev Tom Harries was Co-Chair of MEESC, Priest-in-Charge, Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion, St. Peter, MN, and Total Ministry Mentor in Central Minnesota, and
  • The Rev Buff Grace was Rector of Ascension Episcopal Church, Stillwater, MN,

when they originally prepared these materials in 2012. Tom, Buff, and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to Tom Harries , Buff Grace, or any MEESC member, or mail them to:

 


MEESC
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Eveleth, MN 55743-4400 USA

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This page last updated 2012-09-19.

 
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