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Environmental Stewardship Commission (MEESC)

Episcopal Church in Minnesota

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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

Resolution on Green Congregations

Lectionary Reflection

Year C, Proper 20 Standard (Episcopal) Lectionary Revised Common Lectionary (Gospel Theme Track) Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Lesson

Amos 8: 4-7(8-12)

Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land, saying, "When will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain; and the sabbath, so that we may offer wheat for sale? We will make the ephah small and the shekel great, and practice deceit with false balances, buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and selling the sweepings of the wheat." The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.

(Shall not the land tremble on this account, and everyone mourn who lives in it, and all of it rise like the Nile, and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt? On that day, says the Lord GOD, I will make the sun go down at noon, and darken the earth in broad daylight. I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; I will bring sackcloth on all loins, and baldness on every head; I will make it like the mourning for an only son, and the end of it like a bitter day. The time is surely coming, says the Lord GOD, when I will send a famine on the land; not a famine of bread, or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the LORD, but they shall not find it.)

Reflection on Amos 8: 4-7 (8-12) by the Rev Dcn Helen Hanten

The people lament, "When will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath so that we may offer wheat for sale?" When indeed?

Their lament is a longing for time to pass quickly so that they may get on with what is important to them making money with their sales. The practices of their religion regulated the business practices. Just as we sometimes do in our country where local laws regulate business days. There was a time when many communities had no stores or businesses open on Sundays, and we can easily imagine merchants anxious for the time business could resume. Local laws may or not be in tune with the practices of religion, but what if the original question were serious? When will the new moon be over? When will this day be over? How much we take the orderly working of the creation for granted! The phases of the moon, the yearly orbit of the earth around the sun, and even the eclipses are in predictable regularity. The date of Easter for any year past or ahead can be calculated because the dates of the Solstice and the moon phases and the weekdays for those years are available. We can enjoy watching a sunset knowing that the sun will rise again in the opposite direction, in a predictable number of hours.

When we choose to live as much as we can according to the natural rhythms of the cosmos we are in harmony with the environment in which human life appeared and has flourished. We never need to ask in a serious way, "When will this day end?" We need not be anxious about the orderliness of the creation. Our God has blessed us with an orderly universe, and the ability to enjoy this blessing.

Copyright Statement

Reflections on other Readings [Standard (Episcopal) and Revised Common Lectionary] for Year C, Proper 20

Revised Common Lectionary

Standard (Episcopal) Lectionary

Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Reading:
Jeremiah 8: 189:1
no reflection available
Amos 8: 4-7
this page
Amos 8: 4-7(8-12)
this page
Psalm 79: 1-9
no reflection available
Psalm 138
no reflection available
New Testament Reading:
1 Timothy 2: 1-7
no reflection available
1 Timothy 2: 1-8
no reflection available
Luke 16: 1-13
this page
Luke 16: 1-13
no reflection available

Helen Hanten was a deacon and a member of St. Andrew's by the Lake Episcopal Church, Duluth, MN, when she originally wrote this reflection in 1998. Helen and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to Helen Hanten or any MEESC member, or 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 2007-09-10.