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Environmental Stewardship Commission

Episcopal Church in Minnesota

Coat of Arms of Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota
Shield of Episcopal Church

Upcoming Activities:

Next Meeting:

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 22
Standard (Episcopal) Lectionary
Revised Common Lectionary (Gospel Theme Track)

New Testament Lesson

2 Timothy 1:(1-5) 6-14

[Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,
To Timothy, my beloved child:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I am grateful to God-- whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did-- when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you.] For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.
Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.



Reflection on 2 Timothy 1:(1-5) 6-14
by John Gibbs, PhD

True strength and courage build community, draw upon and nurture hope, and keep focused on their long-range goal. It is not true strength and courage to bluster, to be unilateral, to be reactive against external threats and not proactive in pursuit of the long-term values within one’s community. Those are signs of weakness, even cowardice.

“God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline” (v. 7). Love is not set in contrast to power, nor power arrayed against love, not when they are conjoined within self-discipline. The cynical contrast between “hard reality” and kindness or gentleness has no place within the Church. Strength and grace are not opposed: “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2:1). Soldier, athlete, farmer (2:3-6)—they all, in their self-discipline, may and must live out the power of love rather than the love of power, and they do it in the strength of the Lord’s own “grace.” That is our realism, “for I know the one in whom I have put my trust” (1:12).

Longer decades ago than I want to remember, Paul Tillich wrote profoundly about the interactions of “love, power and justice” (in a book with that title published by OUP in 1954). In a culture of accentuated individualism the insights of the “social gospel” have been very nearly eliminated. But “for the sake of the promise of life” (1:1) we in the Church can and must live out institutionally no less than personally the interpenetrations of love, power, and justice.

Love needs power to be effective, and to avoid sentimentalism. Power needs love to reach the hearts and minds of people, and to avoid tyrannous oppression. Justice needs love to be redemptive, and to avoid destructive retribution.

Eco-justice, a term that signals care of both environs and neighbors, requires the disciplined interactions of both power and love. When voluntary compliance with mandates for care of the environment is lacking, then we need a government big enough and powerful enough to enforce behaviors of ecological care. When love for wilderness becomes sentimental and escapist, that love is ineffective at the community level (local, state, national, and international).

Moreover, love for the environment entails no unavoidable neglect of human community and its economic realities. The contrast between ecological care and economic care is not “built in,” but a matter of cynical choice. Eco-justice is a relational term. It aims to serve the relations between humanity and nature, knowing full well that to care only for human aspirations at the expense of the environment is a self-defeating enterprise. Humans do not prosper for long by destroying their nest, the earth.


Copyright Statement

Reflections on other Readings
[Standard (Episcopal) and Revised Common Lectionary]
for Year C, Proper 22

Revised Common Lectionary

Standard (Episcopal) Lectionary

Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Reading:
Lamentations 1:1-6
no reflection available
Lanentations 3: 19-26 or
Psalm 137
no reflection available
New Testament Reading:
2 Timothy 1:1-14
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2 Timothy 1:1-14
this page


John Gibbs, PhD, a retired theologian, attended Trinity Episcopal Church, Park Rapids, MN, when he originally wrote this reflection in 2003. John and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to John Gibbs or any MEESC member, or mail them to:

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 2007-09-07.


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