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Environmental Stewardship Commission

Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota

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Shield of Episcopal Church

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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

Lectionary Reflection

Year C, Proper 6 Standard (Episcopal) Lectionary Revised Common Lectionary New Testament Lesson

Galatians 2: 11-21

When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood self-condemned; for until certain people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But after they came, he drew back and kept himself separate for fear of the circumcision faction. And the other Jews joined him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not acting consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, "If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?" We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law. But if, in our effort to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have been found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! But if I build up again the very things that I once tore down, then I demonstrate that I am a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.

Reflection on Galatians 2:11-21 by John Gibbs, PhD

In Paul’s perspective, as in Luke’s, the Christian life creatively opens up what had been closed down by boundaries that had sequestered people into warring camps. “In the direction of freedom Christ set us free” (Gal. 5:1, my paraphrase). That is an astonishingly dynamic statement, and if we “take our stand” anywhere, it will be on the dynamic, forward thrusting, creative movements of Christ’s liberation of and for us all. We “take our stand” on the reality that in Christ there is no standing still.

Gospel rules law, not the other way around. No “faction” rooted in past regulations that fence off the allegedly impure from the supposedly “pure,” no such faction can be allowed to prevail against the gospel that liberates us for new life in Christ. Not sexual orientation, not purity of devotion to capitalism, not sharp either-or contrast between environment and economy, not blue-book “patriotism,” not any other dividing wall of hostility would the apostle Paul allow to “nullify the grace of God” ((2:21), impose “a yoke of slavery” (5:1), or make us orphans rather than “children of the free” (4:31). If the woman of the city became free through specific material acts of practical love, so likewise the apostle Paul said of his life: “…the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me: (Gal. 2:20). Life “in the flesh” of environmental care, of provisioning food shelves, of acting politically to change the structures of injustice that make food shelves indispensable — that life discovers and extends the freedom that Christ brings into this world.

Copyright Statement

Reflections on other Readings [Standard (Episcopal) and Revised Common Lectionary] for Year C, Proper 6

Revised Common Lectionary

Standard (Episcopal) Lectionary

Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Lesson:
1 Kings 21:1-10 (11-14) 15-21a
no reflection available
2 Samuel 11:26 12:10,13-15
no reflection available
2 Samuel 11:26 12:10,13-15
no reflection available
Psalm 5:1-8
no reflection available
New Testament Lesson

John Gibbs, PhD, is a retired theologian, attended Trinity Episcopal Church, Park Rapids, MN, when he originally wrote this reflection in 2004. He 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

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