Minnesota Episcopal Environmental Stewardship Commission (MEESC)

Episcopal Church in Minnesota

Upcoming Activities:

Next Meeting:

We meet quarterly close to the solstice and equinox.

Special Projects:

Creation Season Materials


Resolution on the Spirituality of Food Production

Resolution on Church Buildings and Grounds

Resolution on Creation Season

Resolution on Green Congregations

Lectionary Reflection

Year C, Epiphany 3 Psalm Episcopal Standard Lectionary

Psalm 113

Hallelujah! Give praise, you servants of the Lord;* praise the Name of the Lord.

Let the name of the Lord be blessed,* from this time forth for evermore.

From the rising of the sun to its going down let the Name of the Lord be praised.

The Lord is high above all nations,* and his glory above the heavens.

Who is like the Lord our God, who sits enthroned on high,* but stoops to behold the heavens and the earth?

He takes up the weak out of the dust* and lifts the poor from the ashes.

He sets them with the princes,* with the princes of his people.

He makes the woman of a childless house * to be a joyful mother of children

Reflection on Psalm 113 by John G. Gibbs, PhD

Does the kind of social concern expressed in today's readings (Jesus' concerns were with widows, lepers, the dispossessed: captives, oppressed, the poor, the blind) square with stewardship of the environment? Some have asked this question. Look, for instance, at Jesus' own at-homeness within the created world of birds, fields, fish, fig trees. One could take considerable time listing all the relationships that are mentioned in the 4 gospels between Jesus and plants, animals, hills, plains, and other geographic and astronomical entities. The Jesus of the gospels was truly "incarnate," as such a list of detailed relationships demonstrates. Look, second, at Psalm 113, a "hymn celebrating the Lord as helper of the humble," as our NRSV note states it. The Psalter was the first great hymnbook of God's people, and its at-homeness within the creation is known to all. Even here, where the focus is on raising up the poor and lifting the needy, the pslamist thinks of their Lord as being first the Lord of the creation (Lord of time, "from the rising of the sun to its setting," no less than Lord of the nations with "his glory abiove the heavens"), the One who uses the creation to "rescue the perishing." This Psalm, along with Psalm 114, is sung before the Jewish Passover meal. There it stands as reminder of our opportunities and obligations within both Creation and Covenant. Indeed, when we consider that the world could've been created drab, colorless, and cacophonous in every respect, we may be overwhelmed by the multiplicity of aesthetic values that come as free gifts from the Creator. God's own self-giving love is therein manifest. Such an observation motivates us to extend to fellow human beings the generosity we have all received. In all of this Sunday's readings, I see the bond between Creation and Covenant which enables and requires us to care for the needy by attending to our use of the gifts (not "resources" for exploitation) within the creation.

Printable version

To Reflections on other Readings for Year C, Epiphany 3

Reflections available at the active links
Standard (Episcopal) Lectionary
Revised Common Lectionary
Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Reading:
Nehemiah 8:2-10
Nehemiah 8: 1-3, 5-6, 8-10
Psalm 113 (this page)
New Testament Lesson
1 Corinthians 12:12-27
1 Corinthians 12:12-31a

John Gibbs, PhD, a retired theologian, attended Trinity Episcopal Church, Park Rapids, MN, when he originally wrote this reflection in 1998. 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.

This page last updated 2013-01-28.

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