Faithfulness Will Spring Up from the Ground – Tom Mundahl reflects on God’s shalom trumping “royal theologies.” Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for Sunday July 10 – July 16, Year B (2015, 2018, 2021, 2024)  Amos 7:7-15 Psalm 85:8-13 Ephesians 1:3-14 Mark 6:14-29 Many have read with excitement Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’, issued in 2015. By the simple act of taking advantage of the magisterial (teaching) function of the papacy, Francis focused renewed attention on climate change as the most pressing issue of our time, which if unchecked will lead to unimaginable desolation. Bill McKibben, who has been working on thisRead More →

Jesus Ushers in a New Creation – Dennis Ormseth reflects on the new creation we experience in baptism. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for the Baptism of Our Lord, Year B (2015, 2018, 2021, 2024)  Genesis 1:1-5 Psalm 29 Acts 19:1-7 Mark 1:4-11 “For those who are in Christ, creation is new.  Everything old has passed away.  Behold, all things are new” (II Corinthians 5:7, translation by David Rhoads). With the readings for the festival of the Baptism of Our Lord, the church begins to tell its story of how it has come to see creation as “new.” With the ministry of Jesus, theRead More →

If You Would Experience God, You Must Fall in Love with Earth – Dennis Ormseth reflects on baptism as a cosmic event. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for the Baptism of Our Lord, Year B (2012, 2015, 2018, 2021, 2024)  Genesis 1:1-5 Psalm 29 Acts 19:1-7 Mark 1:4-11 The incarnation means that “the finite is capable of bearing the infinite.” With the readings for the festival of the Baptism of Our Lord, we return to “the beginning” of the Gospel of Mark which, as we noted in our comments on the lections for the First and Second Sundays of Advent, draws usRead More →

Living the Anticipation, with Joy and New Light – Tom Mundahl reflects on what it means to be whole. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for the Second Sunday of Advent, Year B (2014, 2017, 2020, 2023) Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 Psalm 126 1 Thessalonians 6:16-24 John 1:6-8, 19-28 Traditionally, the Third Sunday in Advent has been called “Gaudete Sunday,” a Sunday to “rejoice” as we turn in hope and expectation toward the Coming One. As the title, Gaudete, originally stems from the Vulgate translation of Philippians 4:4, “Gaudete in Domino semper” (“rejoice in the Lord always”), this week’s readings do not neglect thisRead More →

Joyful Anticipation of the Transformation of Creation – Dennis Ormseth reflects on the cosmological significance of Christ. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for the Third Sunday of Advent, Year B (2011, 2014, 2017, 2020, 2023) Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 Psalm 126 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 John 1:6-8, 19-28 Waiting for the coming of God. We gather for a third Sunday, impatiently perhaps, waiting still for the coming of God. The reading from Isaiah looks forward to the restoration of Jerusalem that will take place in “the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God,” which the prophet proclaims (61:2).Read More →

Rejoice? – Tom Mundahl reflects on joy in the midst of grief. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for the Third Sunday of Advent, Year B (2020, 2023) Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 Psalm 126 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 John 1:6-8, 19-28 The Third Sunday in Advent has traditionally been called “Gaudete Sunday,” a Sunday to “rejoice” as we turn in hope and expectation toward the Coming One. While gaudete (“rejoice”) originally comes from the Vulgate translation of Philippians 4:4, “rejoice in the Lord always”, this week’s readings do not neglect this theme.  For example, this week’s Second Lesson calls Thessalonian community members to “rejoiceRead More →

Thinking about the Unthinkable – Tom Mundahl reflects on our desert struggle in the time of climate crisis. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for the Second Sunday of Advent, Year B (2014, 2017, 2020, 2023) Isaiah 40:1-11 Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13 2 Peter 3:8-15a Mark 1:1-8 Few themes sound more forcefully during Advent than the promise of comfort.  We are moved by Handel’s oratorio, “Messiah,” as the tenor takes up the prophet’s voice with the clear tones of “Comfort ye, Comfort ye, Comfort ye, my people.” Many of us will invite congregations to echo that message with Olearius’ hymn, “ Comfort, Comfort NowRead More →

Advent Is about Gathering for the New Creation. – Dennis Ormseth reflects on wilderness. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for the Second Sunday of Advent, Year B (2011, 2014, 2017, 2020, 2023) Isaiah 40:1-11 Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13 2 Peter 3:8-15a Mark 1:1-8 Again this second Sunday of Advent, we gather with heightened expectation for the coming of God. “A voice cries out,” the first lesson proclaims: “‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God’” (Isaiah 40:3). “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,” echoes the Gospel, “who will prepareRead More →

Thinking the Unthinkable – Tom Mundahl reflects on our communal lament and hope for wholeness. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for the Second Sunday of Advent, Year B (2020, 2023) Isaiah 40:1-11 Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13 2 Peter 3:8-15a Mark 1:1-8 Few themes sound more powerfully during Advent than the promise of comfort. We cannot help being moved by Handel’s Messiah as the tenor takes up the prophet’s voice with the clear tones of “Comfort ye, comfort ye, comfort ye my people.” During this “Covid year,” we will likely miss lifting our voices together in Olearius’ hymn, “Comfort, Comfort Now My People”Read More →

Taking on Rationalization – Amy Carr reflects on donkeys facing war horses. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for Sunday July 3-9, Year A (2020, 2023) Zachariah 9:9-12 Psalm 145:8-14 Romans 7:15-25a Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 There is both utopic political imagination and Machiavellian rationalization at play in today’s scripture readings. We need the former if we are to minimize climate catastrophe, and ways of reckoning with the latter if we are to enact the kind of collective transformation we need to bring down global temperatures. On one hand, in our first reading, we have Zechariah’s ludicrous vision of a coming humble kingRead More →