Shepherds and Children – Tom Mundahl reflects on restoring a healing relationship with the natural world. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for Sunday July 17 – July 23, Year B (2015, 2018, 2021, 2024)  Jeremiah 23:1-6 Psalm 23 Ephesians 2:11-22 Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 The readings for this “Shepherd Sunday” ask us to embrace an image problematic in a culture whose focus is too often on acquiring a new Apple Watch or wondering whether that Tesla electric car will finally become affordable. Yet, the power of this metaphor seen vividly in the sixth century churches of Ravenna, Italy, built in an easternRead More →

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 →

The Whole of Inter-Related Creation – Dennis Ormseth reflects on the meals of Jesus overcoming our “reconciliation deficit disorder.” Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for Sunday July 10 – July 16, Year B (2012, 2015, 2018, 2021, 2024)  Amos 7:7-15 Psalm 85:8-13 Ephesians 1:3-14 Mark 6:14-29 In our comment on the Gospel reading for last Sunday, we noted that Jesus sent his disciples out into the villages of Galilee with power over unclean spirits and instructions to receive their hosts’ hospitality, so as to create solidarity with them in a relationship that was to become a defining mark of a newRead More →

A New and Restorative Ordering of Life – Dennis Ormseth reflects on the kingdom of God and the great ecology of creation. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for Sunday June 12-18, Year B (2012, 2015, 2018, 2021, 2024)  Ezekiel 17:22-24 Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15 2 Corinthians 5:6-10 [11-13] 14-17 Mark 4:26-34 The lectionary for the this Sunday after Pentecost includes two readings, the Gospel and the second lesson, the interpretation of which present clear choices for or against a mandate for care of creation. First, with respect to the interpretation of Jesus’ parables in Mark, and more generally as well, Ched MyersRead More →

Everything Is Changed – Dennis Ormseth reflects on reorientation of the community to God’s creation. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for the Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year B (2018, 2021, 2024) Acts 1:15-17, 21-26 Psalm 1 1 John 5:9-13 John 17:6-19 In the first of these comments on texts for the Sundays of Easter, Year B, we took note of John Dominic and Sarah Sexton Crossan’s exploration of the iconography of the Resurrection in the Ancient Church and their observation that the Western Church visualized Jesus’ Resurrection as individual, with Jesus alone, while in the Eastern Church. It is pictured as universal,Read More →

Turning Around and Rethinking the “Royal Theology” of Our Time – Tom Mundahl reflects on the appeal of kingdom, power, and exceptionalism. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for the Second Sunday of Lent, Year B (2018, 2021, 2024) Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 Psalm 22:23-31 Romans 4:13-25 Mark 8:31-38 As we move from the Genesis pre-history to God’s forming a new community through Abram and Sarai, the centrality of creation and the vocation to care for the land and make it a home endure. Even though divine action “ruptures” safe worldviews in favor of living by promise, this week’s readings provide courage toRead More →

We are the sheep of God’s pasture. We are the people of God’s Earth. – Dennis Ormseth reflects on  the inclusion of land and water in God’s reign. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for Christ the King Sunday (Last Sunday of Pentcost), Year A (2011, 2014, 2017, 2020, 2023) Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24 Psalm 95:1-7a Ephesians 1:15-23 Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus identifies with “the least of these.” The long awaited king comes in glory, accompanied by God’s angels. He comes to judge “all the nations”—which includes “all people, Christian, Jews, and Gentiles” He comes as a shepherd, separating out his sheep from the goats,Read More →

Claiming the Future as Precious Gifts of People and Land. – Dennis Ormseth reflects on acting boldly for restoration and healing. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for Sunday November 13-19, Year A (2011, 2014, 2017, 2020, 2023) Zephaniah  1:7, 12-18 Psalm 90:1-8 [9-11] 12 I Thessalonians 5:1-11 Matthew 25:14-30 At first look, the lessons seem to be unrelated to care for creation. We approach the end of the church year, and our focus is directed by the lectionary towards the end of all time. The scriptures for this Sunday before the festival of Christ the King (The Reign of Christ) bear carefulRead More →

Acknowledging the Indigenous peoples on whose land our churches sit has the potential to profoundly shift our relationship to our history, our indigenous neighbors, and the land. How might you lead your church through a process that opens the door to awakening? Inspired by Vance Blackfox’s call for Lutherans to embrace and practice Native land acknowledgement, Kim Marinucci Acker and Trevor Bakker (Palo Alto, CA) co-led an 11-member committee through an eight-week process of self reflection, research, statement creation, and roll-out to the congregation. To share their experience, they have created a resource and facilitation guide to assist you in leading a collaborative land acknowledgmentRead More →

Desist from Ecological Destruction, NOW! – Dennis Ormseth  reflects on the ecological integrity of all things. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for Sunday July 17-23, Year A (2011, 2014, 2017, 2020, 2023) Isaiah 44:6-8 or Wisdom 12:13, 16-19 Psalm 88:12-25 Romans 8:12-25 Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 Notice the ecology of these parables! The Parable of Weeds among the Wheat follows immediately on the reading of the Parable of the Sower and its explanation, both in Matthew’s narrative and in the lectionary last Sunday and this Sunday. Comparison of the two parables is instructive. The parables share important elements of interest to the readerRead More →