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Environmental Stewardship Commission

Episcopal Church in Minnesota

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Resolution on the Spirituality of Food Production

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Lectionary Reflection

Year C, Proper 23
Standard (Episcopal) Lectionary
Revised Common Lectionary

All Readings

For the reading, click on the link, below:




Reflection on Ruth 1:(1-7) 8-19a; Psalm 113; 2 Timothy 2:(3-7) 8-15; Luke 17:11-19
by the Rev Margaret W. Thomas

Walking in the pathway of faith and God’s grace filled  presence draws us continually. Sometimes we recognize the signs and the signals. Sometimes we respond to people places, and events long before we acknowledge our yearnings and our own promises. Sometimes we may need a jolt or a reminder of our former recognitions and responsibilities to be returned to the path and sometimes we find that we have been on the path and just did not realize it for what it was.

Fall is a fine season for walks and hikes among the rustling leaves of red and gold. We may scuff along with children or a dog and delight in their play and discovery of fruits and nuts of harvest time.  We may also walk the seasonal paths of winter preparation or we many walk the paths of new culture when we visit or greet folks from afar. We may search new paths of spirituality when we make a pilgrimage, or read a book or take a yoga exercise class. Our entire pattern for daily life may change with sudden illness, loss, impairment or death.  All these changes challenge us to move somehow.  We may find the wellsprings of faith and the future in the roots or the seeds that have already been developing.

The book of Ruth carries both the roots and the seeds of Jesus family history as a Hebrew. The daughter in law, Naomi, moves from Bethlehem to Moab when married.   Naomi then follows her mother in law, Ruth, back to Bethlehem after the family's men all die. Naomi adopts the Jewish faith of Ruth and bears a child who becomes an ancestor of Jesus. The old roots were tapped and produced the seeds of new faith for the women and for the future. Verse 8 of Psalm echoes the story in recognizing the wonders of love, life and God,  While Sarah's story also carries the same joy, it fits here too. "He makes the woman of a childless house to be a joyful mother of children."

Luke's gospel account of the healing of ten lepers and the acknowledging thankful return of one Samaritan gives the clarity of following a faithful Christian pathway. The other nine lepers gleefully tear off for home.  One returns to spend time with Jesus. The Samaritan of different traditions and culture doubles back, and receives a blessing besides a healing. The grateful leper is transformed in faithful spirit as well as in body. The writer of 2 Timothy, echoes the helaing attitude of the leper, being able to endure everything for the sake of the gospel. The pathway has been secured and enriched in both roots and in seeds.

The book, The Samurai's Garden, by Gail Tsukiyama tells a story of  Stephen, a young man suffering from tuberculosis. His family is Chinese, and owns a summer home on the sea in Japan. A resident gardener, Matsu,  tends to the sea side house and grounds. His garden work is a spiritual discipline; and his entire life a spiritual pathway. Stephen is sent to the family home to recover his health under the care of Matsu. The time setting is when Japan is beginnng to prey upon China in the fall of 1937. The family is also in stress with the father's travel and estrangement.

Stephen is physically weak and spiritually bereft. A pathway of healing and transformation begins while Stephen works with Matsu in the garden. There is more development as Stephen meets the people of Matsu's village and learns fo the ravages that leprosy had left them two decades ago. Yet, all the time Stephen and Matsu begin a relationship that will transcend the class and culture differences of their lives and spirits.

The healing of leprosy in the ten lepers was complete. The spiritual healing and cultural healing of the Samaritan was far more transcending and enduring in a differenet level. The pathway with Jesus still offers that transformation for us. We can work on roots and seeds concurently. We need only take that path.


Copyright Statement

Reflections on other Readings
[Standard (Episcopal) and Revised Common Lectionary]
for Year C, Proper 23

Revised Common Lectionary

Standard (Episcopal) Lectionary

Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Reading:
Jeremiah 29: 1, 4-6
no reflection available
no reflection available
Ruth 1: (1-7)  8- 9a
no reflection available
Psalm 131
no reflection available
New Testament Reading:
2 Timothy 2: 8-15
no reflection available
2 Timothy 2 (:3-7) 8-15
no reflection available
Luke 17:11-19
no reflection available
Luke 17:11-19
no reflection available


The Rev Margaret W. Thomas was Priest-in-Charge at St. Edward the Confessor Episcopal Church, Duluth, MN, when she originally wrote this reflection in 2004. Margaret and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to The Rev Margaret W. Thomas 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.


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