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Environmental Stewardship Commission

Episcopal Diocese of 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

Lectionary Reflection

Year C, Proper 18 Revised Common Lectionary Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Lesson

Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Moses said to all Israel the words which the Lord commanded him, "See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the LORD your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the LORD swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob."

Reflection on Deuteronomy 30:15-20 by Charles Morello, Jr.

This lesson looks at the world in Black & White ("life and prosperity" vs "death and adversity". Our modern world appears to have shades of grey that blur these distinctions. However, when we, in the early years of the 21st Century look at the changes happening in our environment, we certainly appear to have a "Black & White World" again. We stand at a point where all our actions appear to either help or hurt the environment in ways larger than in previous generations.

Deuteronomy enjoins us to walk in the ways of the Lord and follow the Law, even exhorting us to "choose life". Choosing life means choosing life for our planet and future generations, not just our own personal lives and our own personal salvation. And this has never been more true than today. Our personal and corporate decisions of prosperity or adversity have moved us into decisions of death or life. As our prosperity in the Northern Hemisphere has exploded (into an over-prosperity) and placed demands on the environment, we have pushed all life on this planet closer to long-term adversity and death. Some examples are

  • exponential growth in emissions caused by motor vehicle sales in emerging countries
  • continued use of pesticides and herbicides that contaminate water supplies
  • refusal by leaders to address the root causes of problems
  • selecting the short-term (initially less expensive) way over the long-term but initially more expensive way

As we move forward through this Century, we all need to be mindful that our over-prosperity if done indiscriminately and without concern for the environment will harm our fellow creatures and plants on the earth. In our over-prosperity we may have created a new god. We should try to be mindful of our actions and choose life for us and for future generations by choosing life for everyone and everything in creation.

Copyright Statement

To Reflections on other RCL Readings for Year C, Proper 18:

Reflections available at the active links Semi-Continuous Track Gospel Theme Track
Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Lesson: Jeremiah 18:1-11 Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Psalm Psalm 139:1-5, 13-17 Psalm 1
New Testament Lesson
Luke 14:25-33

To Reflections on other Standard (Episcopal) Lectionary Readings for Year C, Proper 18:

Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Deuteronomy 30:15-20
no reflection available
Psalm 1
no reflection available

New Testament Philemon 1-21

this page
Gospel Luke 14:25-33
no reflection available

Charles "Chuck" Morello, Jr. was the Webverger for this website and member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Virginia, MN, when he wrote this reflection in 2007. Chuck and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to Chuck Morello 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 2007-01-15.

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