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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.


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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 24
Standard (Episcopal) Lectionary
Revised Common Lectionary (Gospel Theme Track)

All Readings

 

For the readings, click on the links, below:

 

 

Reflection on Genesis 32: 8, 22-30;  Psalm 121;  2 Timothy: 3: 14-4-5; Luke 18: 1- 8
by the Rev Margaret W. Thomas

Persistent is certainly the word for the widow. She was willing to wear out the judge for "justice against her opponent." The poor are often systematically oppressed, and then when they seek justice, they are often doubly oppressed in limited access to channels of power and influence. Persistence and the "right on her side" may have been all the woman possessed. By her determination, she was eventually given the justice she sought.

Those who strive for environmental, human rights  and economic justice can be guided and strengthened by the widow's story. While she seemed totally alone in her work, she must have relied on her sense of relationship to God to continue. She must have had some sense of communal and Scriptural support , yet we do not know that. As a woman, and a widow with no male advocate she was faced with huge challenges to justice. We have no way of knowing the cause or object of her case. She clearly continued with the unjust judge. He finally gave in.

From a perspective of environmental work, persistence must be expected. Those who work for particular issues such asblocking the exploration and oil drilling in places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge or Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve face continual persistence work as attempts continue to be made under various guises. Increased energy need, loss of Arabian oil, defense, cheaper and safer oil all are used as reasons for development which would seriously damage the caribou breeding and safety for breeding of many species of arctic birds and animals. The area would loose its pristine wilderness designation and beauty. Just as one issue gets addressed and laid to rest, another crops up to begin the assault on the fragile ecological area again. Those indigenous folks who wish to preserve the caribou herds for their sustainable way of Alaskan life, are poor, live simple lives, are not always able to advocate for themselves, and may be indeed be facing unjust judges of their rights to live traditional lives.

Folks who live far from Alaska may visit the refuge and know of other migrating wildlife which is not so locally involved as the caribou. Those folks need to persist too because they can listen to their friends, the Episcopalians of the Alaskan north, who say they want to preserve the areas. Perhaps there can be more advocates to support the cause. The down-state Episcopalians may respond by being locally persistent, by being well informed, and lobbying their legislators. An additional layer of persistence involves the sacrificial solidarity of using less oil wherever one lives. Having visited Alaska, and having heard the advocates, both Episcopalians and others who strive to keep the issues continually before us, including the bishop of Alaska, The Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald and local worker, Lucy Birch, I trust them. I am trying to support them in using less fuel and in being a better advocate for simpler lives that requires less oil and working toward a more locally sustainable life style myself. We need to heed the persistant calls for help from the Athabascan Alaskans who live with the caribou and in the areas in contention.

Theologian Leonardo Boff in Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor  speaks of the power of the permanent message of original peoples. Boff says of original folks,"And even while they take on the advantages of modernity in their own way, they know how to hold onto the feeling of the universe and the sense of the subjectivity of nature with which we establish relationships of reciprocity. Boff says that original people posses ancestral wisdom, and that they "understand the universe as it is transparent to the Divinity."(Boff, Orbis Books: Maryknoll, New York 1997 pg. 122- 125) Surely, the persistent widow is an original person in Jesus'story. We can echo her and represent her in our modern world, by listening to the injustice around us such as the Alaskan situation I witnessed and in the local issues in our own parishes such as fertilizer, pesticides, gas and oil consumption and and plastic materials in our own homes.

 

Copyright Statement

Reflections on other Readings
[Standard (Episcopal) and Revised Common Lectionary]
for Year C, Proper 24

 
Revised Common Lectionary
 
 

Standard (Episcopal) Lectionary

Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Reading:
no reflection available
Genesis 32: 22-31
no reflection available
Genesis 32:8, 22-30
no reflection available
Psalm:
Psalm 119:97-104
no reflection available
Psalm 121
no reflection available
Psalm 121
no reflection available
New Testament Reading:
2 Timothy 3: 14–4-5
no reflection available
2 Timothy 3: 14–4-5
no reflection available
Gospel:
Luke 18: 1-8
no reflection available
Luke 18: 1-8
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:


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 2007-09-06.

 

 
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