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Ordinary Christians, extraordinary times

Lectionary 1

Mountain pansy
Ecological Notes (Advent – 3rd Sunday in Lent) to the Common Worship Lectionary (Principal Service Readings) – by Keith Innes.
The links in the left hand column below take you to the relevant Sunday in the Vanderbilt Divinity Library

Access by month or season:   Advent 1,   2,  3,  4,     Christmas,      Epiphany/Ordinary Time,      Before Lent,  Lent 1,  2,  3,   (complete index)

For the rest of the year:  Lectionary 2: 4th Sun in Lent – June,  Lectionary 3: July – November

Advent 1 Sunday
Year A 
Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalm 122
Romans 13:11-14
Matthew 24:36-44
Agriculture (not warfare) is the vocation of humans on earth under the Kingdom of God (Isaiah 2:4). The nurture and cultivation (not the abuse and pollution) of the land is one of our highest callings. We are not called upon to attempt to live a purely ‘spiritual’, non-physical life. The ‘flesh’ (Romans 13:14) that we are to deny is not the body but a debased humanity centred on ourselves rather than the Lord. To be ready for the coming of the Son of Man (Matthew 24:44) means to be found living on earth according to God’s Word (Isaiah 2:3).
Year B 
Isaiah 64:1-9
Psalm 80:1-7, [16-18]
I Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13:24-37
The coming of Christ in glory will mark the change from the present age, to the age to come. We shall have to give account of the way we have discharged the responsibilities entrusted to us (Mark 13:34), and the uses we have made, in our life on earth, of the spiritual gifts we have received (I Corinthians 1:7). The scope of such stewardship includes our behaviour towards the earth and living species.
Year C 
Jeremiah 33:14-16
Psalm 25:1-10
I Thessalonians 3:9-13
Luke 21:25-36
The time of the ultimate disruption of creation will also be the time when Christ’s true glory is revealed (Luke 21:25-27). It will also be the day when ‘redemption’ is complete (28) and God’sKingdom is fulfilled (31). To prepare for that day means being alert and prayerful ( 34- 36). In a world of ecological crisis, we must live in the light of God’s redeeming purposes and turn from wasteful and deluded lifestyles.
Advent 2 Sunday
Year A 
Advent 2 Isaiah 11:1-10
Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
Romans 15:4-13
Matthew 3:1-12
In the description of the Kingdom of God (Isaiah 11:1-10, cf. Psalm 72) cosmic harmony, moral righteousness and social justice are all facets of the good reign of God’s Messiah. This Kingdom, brought by Jesus, is to be completed at his return in glory. They are marks of his presence. Therefore they are all equally marks of the Church’s Mission. The uncompromising, ‘judgmental’ aspect of agriculture speaks of God’s judgment while garnering the goodness speaks of God’s saving power for those who repent (Matthew 3:10 -12 ).
Year B 
Isaiah 40:1-11 Psalm 85:1-2,8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Mark 1:1-8
Isaiah 40:1-11: The people of the Old Testament were conscious of living in the created world. Here that world also symbolises spiritual realities. Hills and valleys express obstacles to God’s saving power; tender grass and flowers convey human frailty; gentle shepherding, God’s tender love. Psalm 85: a fruitful, prosperous land is part of the goodness that God wills to give, along with spiritual and moral blessings.2 Peter 3:8-15a: We should observe the balance between destruction (discontinuity) and purification (continuity) in the promised new heaven and earth.Mark 1: 1-8: The outcome of God’s final purposes is renewal and righteousness. John the Baptist left one of the slightest environmental footprints in Scripture (6). We are not all called to emulate his extreme asceticism, but his simplicity does challenge greedy and consumptive lifestyles.
Year C 
Baruch 5:1-9 or Malachi 3:1-4
Philippians 1:3-11
Luke 3:1-6
To live the new life (Luke 1:74-75), ready for the coming of God (Malachi 3:1), is God’s gift which requires our co-operation in faith and repentance (Luke 3:3-6), as we live in his glory on earth (Baruch 5:7-9).
Advent Sunday 3
Year A 
Advent 3 Isaiah 35:1-10
Psalm 146:4-9 or
James 5:7-10
Matthew 11:2-11
Isaiah 35:1-10: The saving power of God, here related to the return of the exiles from Babylon, embraces the perfection of nature, the healing of people, and universal redemption. Psalm 146: 4-9: The God of creation is also the God of justice and compassion.
James 5:7-10: Patience is required of us in relation to natural processes and also to proclaiming the word of the Lord, and supremely in awaiting his coming.
Matthew 11:2-11: Wholeness and abundant life are hallmarks of Christ’s work and signs of the Kingdom of God.
Year B
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
Psalm 126 or
I Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28
The fertile land (Isaiah 61:11) is an image of God’s saving, joy-giving power (cf. Psalm 126:4-6). The body, as well as the spirit and soul, is a recipient of God’s grace, protection and sanctifying power (I Thessalonians 5:23). The wilderness in the Old Testament is the place of transition, from slavery to freedom in the promised land. This theme is appropriated in the New Testament: preparation for the coming of salvation takes place in the desert (John 1:23).
Year C 
Zephaniah 3:14-20 Isaiah 12:2-6 (Canticle) or Psalm 146:4-9 Philippians 4:4-7 Luke 3:7-18
Psalm 146:4-9: God, the creator of all, is also the faithful saviour, the source of justice, satisfaction, freedom, vision and dignity.Philippians 4:4-7: Gentleness (5) should be extended to animals and the rest of God’s creation, and not only to people.
Luke 3:7-18: The number of images from nature here is worthy of note. The world of nature gives constant messages about the spiritual aspect of life, to those whose minds are attuned by the Word of God.
Advent Sunday 4
Year A 

Advent 4 Year A Isaiah 7:10-16
Psalm 80:1-7, [16-18]
Romans 1:1-7
Matthew 1:18-25
Year B Year C
Because the Son of God is also the descendant of King David, born of Mary, rooted in our space and time, his salvation is for now as well as for all eternity. He has touched our world so that it can never be the same again. The creation has an added sacredness because his divine presence has been here, and is still here through the Spirit. By his offering of himself, we are brought near to God and enabled to serve God.
Year B 
2 Samuel 7:1-11,16
Magnificat or
Psalm 89:1-4,19-26 (or 1-8)
Romans 16:25-27
Luke 1:26-38
As above 
Year C 
Micah 5:2-5a
Magnificat or
Psalm 80:1-7
Hebrews 10:5-10
Luke 1:39-45, [46-55]

As above
Christmas 24-25 December
Isaiah 9:2-7
Psalm 96
Titus 2:11-14
Luke 2:1-14, [15-20]
The grace of God which has appeared to us in Jesus (Titus 2:11) brings the light of salvation (Isaiah 9:2) not only to people but to the whole earth community (Psalm 96). Through his birth, heaven and earth are reconciled, and the earth is involved in the worship of heaven (Luke 2:13-14).
Isaiah 62:6-12
Psalm 97
Titus 3:4-7
Luke 2:[1-7,] 8 20
In Christ the true New Age has dawned. The Son of God was wrapped in earthly cloth, was laid in a wooden manger, and breathed earthly air and in his coming God’s glory, goodness and loving kindness were revealed.
Isaiah 52:7-10
Psalm 98
Hebrews 1:1-4, [5-12]
John 1:1-14
Hebrews 1:1-12 contains one of the most powerful statements of Christ’s role in creating and sustaining the universe. The Incarnation can be seen as the central point and focus of Christ’s relation to creation at all times and places (John 1:1-5, 9). In some sense, he is accessible to all who are open to God with humility and trust, but the full truth and power of salvation and the full light of revelation are given only to those who know and respond to the Gospel (12-13). The fact that in Christ God breathed earthly air, consumed earthly food and drink, and became part of the ecosystem, has changed for all eternity the relation of earth to its Creator. Many well-known carols have an earthy and ‘wholistic’ feel to them which is often lacking in other hymns.
First Sunday of/after Christmas
Isaiah 63:7-9
Psalm 148:[1-6,] 7-14
Hebrews 2:10-18
Matthew 2:13-23
Psalm 148: The whole universe is designed for God’s praise (Hebrews 2:10). While humans praise him rationally and consciously, other sentient beings and inanimate objects praise him purely by being themselves. Matthew 2:13-23: This actual earth with its horrors and injustices is the object of God’s love, saving power and compassion.
Year B 
Isaiah 61:10-62:3
Psalm 148:[1-6,] 7-14
Galatians 4:4-7
Luke 2:15-21
Isaiah 61:11: The fruitfulness of the land is a model for the transforming grace of God always working to produce right and glorious outcomes.Psalm 148: The whole universe is designed for God’s praise. While humans praise him rationally and consciously, other sentient beings and inanimate objects praise him purely by being themselves. Galatians 4:4-7: As God’s children, adopted through Christ, we can be utterly at home in the earth that God has made.
Year C 
I Samuel 2:18-20,26
Psalm 148:[1-6,] 7-14
Colossians 3:12-17
Luke 2:41-52
Psalm 148: The whole universe is designed for God’s praise. While humans praise him rationally and consciously, other sentient beings and inanimate objects praise him purely by being themselves. Luke 2:41-52: Jesus grew to maturity by ‘normal’ processes (although with a developing awareness of a unique relationship with God). God’s redeeming grace is still worked out within nature, and not by escaping into a private ‘spiritual’ realm.
Second Sunday of/after Christmas
Year A 
Year B 
Jeremiah 31:7-14
or Ecclesiasticus 24:1 -12
Psalm 147:13-21
or Wisdom 10:15-21
Ephesians 1:3-14
John 1:[1-9,] 10-18
The prosperity and well-being of nature is a part of salvation (Jeremiah 31:7-14). We should not be too quick to spiritualise such prophecies: God is at work in creation as well as revelation (Psalm 147:13-21). In the fullness of time ‘all things… in heaven and… on earth’ will be ‘gathered up’ in Christ (Ephesians 1:1-10). Redemption will then be completed through the Word who ‘became flesh and lived among us.’
Year C 
Year B 
Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm 72:[1-9,] 10-15
Ephesians 3:1-12
Matthew 2:1-12
The new revelation in the Good News of Jesus is that God’s blessings are for all races, cultures and nations, not just for Jews, or just for those at home in church culture, or those of one colour or race.
First Sunday after Epiphany
First Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sunday between 7 and 13 Jan
Baptism of Christ  
Year A 
Isaiah 42:1-9
Psalm 29
Acts 10:34-43
Matthew 3:13-17
Isaiah 42:1-9: God the Creator is also God the Saviour, sending his Servant to redeem the world.Psalm 29: The God of the thunder and lightning is the giver of strength and prosperity to his people.Matthew 3:13-17: God chooses baptism in water as the setting for his owning of Jesus, and the sending of his Spirit to equip him for his saving work. The spiritual life is not separate from the physical but is built upon it.
Year B
Genesis 1:1-5 Psalm 29 Acts 19:1-7
Mark 1:4-11
Genesis 1:1-5; Acts 19:1-7: God who orders creation also gives new life in Christ through the Holy Spirit.Psalm 29: The God of the thunder and lightning is the giver of strength and prosperity to his people.Mark 1:4-11: God chooses baptism in water as the setting for his owning of Jesus, and the sending of his Spirit to equip him for his saving work. The spiritual life is not separate from the physical but is built upon it. Through his saving work in Christ, heaven is opened to earth.
Year C 
Isaiah 43:1-7
Psalm 29
Acts 8:14-17
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
Isaiah 43:1-7: The Creator and the Redeemer are one.Psalm 29: The God of the thunder and lightning is the giver of strength and prosperity to his people.Acts 8:14-17, Luke 3:15-17, 21-22: The sacramental use of elements of creation, such as the water of baptism, demonstrates that the physical and the spiritual are linked and mutually illuminating.
Second Sunday after Epiphany
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sunday between 14 and 20 Jan
Year A 
Isaiah 49:1-7
Psalm 40:1-11
I Corinthians 1:1-9
John 1:29-42
Reflection on the global dimensions of God’s mission (Isaiah 49:6, cf. I Corinthians 1:2) should not be separated in our day from attention to the threats and degradation suffered by the natural world. These have human, ecological and aesthetic implications. The whole earth community is involved in the consequences of human sin and included in the work of salvation.
Year B 
I Samuel 3:1-10, [11-20]
Psalm 139:1-5,12-17 (or 1-9)
Revelation 5:1-10
John 1:43-51
God’s total knowledge of us, even his direction of our pre-natal development (Psalm 139), implies a similar divine knowledge and direction of the whole created order. Christ, Son of God and Son of Man (John 1:45-51) shares with the Father the divine knowledge and direction of all things, including the creation and redemption of the world (Revelation 5:1-10).
Year C 
Isaiah 62:1-5
Psalm 36:5-10
I Corinthians 12:1-11
John 2:1-11
The fortunes of the land cannot be separated from those of its inhabitants (Isaiah 62:4). The natural creation provides imagery for thinking about God (Psalm 36:5-9) and his saving power extends to animals as well as people (Psalm 36:6). The ‘nature miracles’ such as the transformation of water into wine (John 2:1-11) may be seen as intensifications of Christ’s work in creation to meet our needs and those of his other creatures. They are also symbolic of Christ’s gift of new life, and signs of his Kingdom.
Third Sunday after Epiphany
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sunday between 21 and 27 Jan
Year A 
Year A Isaiah 9:1-4 Psalm 27:1, [2-4,] 5-13 I Corinthians 1:10-18 Matthew 4:12-23
The transforming power of the Gospel, which forms a connecting thread through these readings, includes the power to transform our effects on the natural world, directing our impact on it into harmonious and life-enhancing ways.
Year B 
Genesis 14:17-20
Psalm 128
Revelation 19:6-10
John 2:1-11
Genesis 14:19-20 is perhaps the most ancient passage coupling creation and salvation as the work of the same God Most High. God is both ‘Maker’ and Deliverer. These two themes are woven together, never long separated, throughout the whole Bible. Psalm 128 gives a picture of shalom, the full-orbed happiness and prosperity which is the consequence of God’s blessing. In the miracle at Cana (John 2:1-11) Christ’s creative, divine power in nature is intensified, and the ‘marriage supper of the Lamb’ (Revelation 19:9) which is the consummation of salvation, is foreshadowed.
Year C 
Nehemiah 8:1-3,5 6,8-10 Psalm 19:1-6, {7-14] I Corinthians 12:12-31a Luke 4:14-21
The same God is revealed through the written word (Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10; Psalm 19:7-11; Luke 4:16-20), through the created universe (Psalm 19:1-6), and through prophetic utterance (I Corinthians 12:28, Luke 4:14-15, 21).
Fourth Sunday after Epiphany
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sunday between 28 and 3 Feb
Year A 
Year AI Kings 17:8-16
Psalm 36:5 10
I Corinthians 1:18-31
John 2:1-11
The widow whose needs God miraculously supplied (I Kings 17:8-16), like many in poverty today, knew her dependence on God. We who live in comparative affluence, cushioned against adversity, need reminding that we no less depend on God’s bounty through nature, and are responsible for its wise and generous use. The Bible draws no sharp distinction between the physical and spiritual aspects of salvation, its temporal and eternal dimensions. God ‘saves humans and animals alike’ (Psalm 36:6). The transforming power of Christ (John 2:1 11) impacts on everything.
Year B

(See also Presentation of Christ in the Temple in white box just below.) 
Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Psalm 111
Revelation 12:1-5a
Mark 1:21-28
God’s true prophets (Deuteronomy 18:15 20) speak God’s words concerning our behaviour in relation to the Earth and all the creatures that live on it. Words of wisdom are true to God and arise out of God’s covenant with his people and the earth (Psalm 111). The criterion of God’s word is the Bible, read by the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Gospel assures us of Christ’s victory over evil, which will one day be universally applied (Mark 1:21 28, Revelation 12:1 5a).
Year C
(Sun 3 Feb 2019
Ezekiel was shown that the glory of the Lord would again fill the Temple as in days past (Ezekiel 43:27 44.4). The purpose of the Lord’s presence in this House was that the glory of God might be known throughout the earth (Psalm 48:9). But when the Lord came to the Temple, he came in the form of a babe in arms, through whom the light of God would be available to all nations (Luke 2:31-32) and a new love released in the world (I Corinthians 13). If this glory has been thus revealed on earth, the earth is hallowed, henceforth to be treated with great reverence.
The Presentation of Christ in the Temple – Candlemas

Year B

Malachi 3:1-5
Psalm 24: [1-6] 7-10
Hebrews 2:14-18
Luke 2:22-40

The Presentation of Christ in the Temple was also the presentation of God’s Son on the Earth. He became one with the earthy human race – like them in all aspects of his humanity (Hebrews 2:14) – and thus with the whole earth community, the King of the earth as well as the Church (Psalm 24).

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sunday between 4 and 11 Feb
Year A Isaiah 58:1-9a, [9b-12]
Psalm 112:1-9, [10]
I Corinthians 2:1-12 [13-16]
Matthew 5:13-20
Truth, justice and generosity are essential for true prosperity. These should, therefore, be keynotes of the Church’s mission.
Year B 
Isaiah 40:21-31
Psalm 147:1-12, [20c]
I Corinthians 9:16-23
Mark 1:29-39
God is transcendent over creation as well as being present and ceaselessly at work within it, sovereign over the history of the world, its rulers, and his people who wait for him (Isaiah 40:21-31, Psalm 147:1-11). Jesus’ ministry of healing and exorcism may be seen as a healing of creation (Mark 1:29-34). He also set a pattern followed by many of his people since, of seeking his Father’s face in a ‘deserted place’, untrammelled by human development (Mark 1:35-39).
Year C 
Isaiah 6:1-8, [9-13]
Psalm 138
I Corinthians 15:1-11
Luke 5:1-11
The drama of judgment and salvation is played out in a world that witnesses to God’s glory (Isaiah 6:3). At the close of Isaiah 6:13 the recuperative power of nature seems to symbolise the wonder of God’s redeeming grace for broken humanity. In the Kingdom of God human work on earth brings true prosperity when undertaken at the Lord’s direction – and this applies to the work’s spiritual and physical modes (Luke 5:1-11).

Year C

Sunday between 11 and 17 Feb
Year A

  Deuteronomy 30:15-20
or Ecclesiasticus:15:15-20
Psalm 119:1-8
I Corinthians 3:1-9
Matthew 5:21-37

Deuteronomy 30:15-20: The worship of ‘other gods’ such as ‘growth’, possessions and excessive wealth brings God’s judgment on the rich and their land, leading to death (compare Ecclesiasticus 15:15-20).Matthew 5:21-37: Underlying this gospel reading is the principle that an attitude of love and respect towards other people is inseparable from a right relationship with God. This principle precludes the unlimited operation of global market forces in a fragile and finite world.

Year C   Sun 17 Feb 2019 (Text to come)

Sunday – after 18th Feb  
Year A 
Year A Leviticus 19: 1-, 9-18
Psalm 119: 33-40
1 Corinthians 3:10-11,16-23
Matthew 5:38-48

Year C   Sun 24 Feb 2019 (Text to come) – this is also the second Sunday before Lent:

Second Sunday before Lent
This Sunday’s readings focus entirely on the theme of Creation. They would lend themselves to a service devoted to Christian ecology. 

Hymn written for “Creation Sunday” in 2007 (N.B. These Notes are following the Anglican Lectionary. In the lectionary of some denominations, this Sunday is considered as an extra Sunday after Epiphany, rather than the Second Sunday before Lent. – and there are different readings)
Year A

 Genesis 1.1 – 2.3
Psalm 136 or
Psalm 136.1-9,23-26
Romans 8.18-25
Matthew 6.25-34

Genesis 1:1-2:3: This creation story takes the form of a seven-day’ drama of creation’. God gives order to the world and blesses it. The human position of ‘dominion’ carries the responsibility to nurture and love creation as God does, ‘in God’s image’. This ‘image’ applies to men and women. Romans 8:18-25: The final redemption of all things is intimately connected with that of God’s human children, who share in the ‘labour pains’ of a renewed creation. Matthew 6:25 34: God cares for, delights in and provides for all life. Therefore we can live thankfully and trustfully in this world.
Year B
Proverbs 8:1,22-31
Psalm 104:25-37
Colossians 1:15-20
John 1:1-14
God’s power sustains and renews all God’s creation (Psalm 104:24-35). Just as the divine wisdom (Proverbs 8:22-31) existed before all things, so Christ takes precedence over all creation. Through him, all things are created and sustained, and he will gather everything in a single peace through the blood of his cross (Colossians 1:15-20). Because Christ, the life-giving Word of God, was made human, the new birth in baptism and the Spirit is intimately connected with our humanity. In him, we can become all that God intended us to be (John 1:1-14).
Year C 

Genesis 2:4b-9, 15-25
salm 65
Revelation 4
Luke 8:22-25
Genesis 2:4b-9, 15-25: This creation story focuses on the relation of human beings to the rest of creation. The human being was necessary for the fulfilment of creation (5). Humanity was created from the stuff of the earth and received God’s gift of life (7). Humanity is given moral choice and responsibility (16-17). Gender, marriage and sexuality are part of creation and a means of completeness. God’s ideal within marriage is total openness (25). The naming of the animals (19) implies knowledge and insight into their nature.
Psalm 65: The God of spiritual redemption is also the giver of the good gifts of the earth.
Revelation 4: The fulfilment of all things is not described in Scripture in terms of ‘heaven’, so much as the uniting of heaven and earth ‘in a single peace’. In the vision of Revelation animals and humans, the Church and the angels are united in worship. Luke 8:22-25: Christ is revealed as Saviour and as the tamer of the wild forces of nature. When everything is subdued under his authority, the destructive face of nature will no longer threaten. Hymn written for “Creation Sunday” in 2007

Sunday before Lent
Year A

Exodus 24:12-18
Psalm 2 or 99
2 Peter 1:16-21
Matthew 17:1-9
The glory of the Lord is revealed in cloud and fire (Exodus 24:12-18). The awesome mysteries of nature clothe his glory, concealing and yet giving intimations of his majesty and splendour. This glory belongs also to Christ. The disciples were given a glimpse of it, not least at the Transfiguration (2 Peter 1:16-18, Matthew 17:1-8). It was demonstrated at the Resurrection (Matthew 17:9) and will be fully revealed at Christ’s Second Coming in glory (2 Peter 1:19). In the meantime, scripture bears witness to it (2 Peter 1:19-21).
Year B 
2 Kings 2:1-12
Psalm 50:1-6
2 Corinthians 4:3-6
Mark 9:2-9
God’s glory is clothed in fire and stormwind (2 Kings 2:11, Psalm 50:3) but his saving purposes for the earth are focused on his people, with whom he has made his covenant (Psalm 50:2, 4-5). The devil, the ruler of the unbelieving world order, hinders people from seeing his glory (2 Corinthians 4:4). The disciples received a revelation of Christ’s glory in the Transfiguration and its full power was shown in the Resurrection (Mark 9:1-3,9) – the beginning of a transformed creation.

Year C 
Exodus 34:29-35
Psalm 99
2 Corinthians 3:12 4:2
Luke 9:28 36, [37-43]
God’s presence accompanies natural phenomena (Psalm 99:7) but God’s will is made known gloriously in God’s word (Exodus 34:29 35, Psalm 99:7) and God’s holiness is to be reflected among God’s people (Psalm 99:2,4,6-9) who are called to reflect this glory in their lives and their message (2 Corinthians 3:18 4:2). The Transfiguration of Jesus’ human body may be seen, among other things, as a preview of the transformation and healing of all creation (Luke 9:28-43).
Ash Wednesday (Same for A, B, C)
Year A

Year B 
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 or Isaiah 58:1-12
Psalm 51:1-18
2 Corinthians 5:20b 6:10
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 or John 8:2-11
Our Lenten self-examination, penitence and amendment of life should include an ecological perspective. The impact of our lifestyles and actions on the Earth, air and water, and all their inhabitants – animal as well as human – can come under review.
Year C 
First Sunday in Lent
Year A  

Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7 
Psalm 32 
Romans 5:12-19 
Matthew 4:1-11

The human vocation is to till and keep the soil – to cultivate and conserve (Genesis 2:15). But moral choice and responsibility are inescapable (16-17). We are tempted to follow our own judgement, desires and ambitions without looking to God. If we do so, all our relationships (with ourselves, each other and the Earth) are corrupted (Genesis 3:1-7 and following chapters). God offers us a way back through Jesus, the New Man who brings us new life (Romans 5:15-17). Jesus who conquered the tempter (Matthew 4:1-11) can help us when we are tempted. The temptations can be seen as having an ecological dimension: the use of power to provide plenty on the wrong terms; putting God to the test by reckless behaviour, and turning from God to enjoy worldly splendour.
Year B

 Gen 9:1-18
Psalm 25:1-9
1 Peter 3:18-22
Mark 1:9-15

God’s covenant with Noah (Genesis 9:8-17) is God’s gracious unconditional commitment as Creator, to the whole earth community. God’s later covenants with Abraham, and with the Church in Christ, are set within this creation covenant. God is revealed as compassionate and merciful to all who turn to God (Psalm 25:1-10). At Christ’s baptism, heaven was opened to earth (Mark 1:10). His involvement with the whole earth community is underlined by the note that he was ‘with the wild beasts’ in the wilderness (Mark 1:13). Through faith and baptism, we also can begin on earth to live with God (1 Peter 3:18-22)
Year C 
Deuteronomy 26:1 11 Psalm 91:1 2, 9 16 (or 1 11) Romans 10:8b 13 Luke 4:1 13
The offering of the firstfruits (Deuteronomy 26:1-11) was an acknowledgement that the land with all its produce was a gift from the Lord, to be received with gratitude and celebration. The principle behind this Israelite practice shows the way for all people. Luke 4:1-13: The temptations that Jesus overcame in the wilderness are all too often those to which our culture succumbs: the lure of easy affluence, worldly glory and recklessness all contribute to a lifestyle that destroys the planet. If we truly believe that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9) and seek ultimate security in God (Psalm 91) we shall not look for a fulfilled life elsewhere.

Second Sunday in Lent
Year A 
Genesis 12:1-4a
Psalm 121
Romans 4:1-5, 13-17
John 3:1-17
For Abraham (Genesis 12:1-4a) and those who share his faith (Romans 4:16-17) the key to true life with God is a response to God’s character and promise (Genesis 12:4a; Romans 4:1-5). This God is ‘the maker of heaven and earth’ (Psalm 121:2). The same faith directed to Jesus Christ leads to the offer of eternal life for the world (John 3:16-17) through rebirth by the Spirit of God (John 3:3-8). How does such a faith express itself in our time of ecological crisis?
Year B 
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
Psalm 22:23-31
Romans 4:13-25
Mark 8:31-38
The earth is possessed by believers (Romans 4:13-25, especially verse 13) in the sense that faith is the key to living in accordance with God’s plan and therefore with our nature. The way of faith is the way of the Cross which begins with self-surrender to Christ (Mark 8:34-38).
Year C 
Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18
Psalm 27
Philippians 3:17-4:1
Luke 13:31-35
God promised Abraham an inheritance (Genesis 15:17). Our inheritance in Christ transcends the promise of the land. Although our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20) we should not over-spiritualise our idea of God’s heritage. In the end our bodies will be transformed, not done away (Philippians 3:21).

Third Sunday in Lent
Year A

-Exodus 17:1-7
Psalm 95
Romans 5:1-11
John 4:5-42

What God did for Israel in exceptional circumstances (Exodus 17:1-7) is typical of what God does regularly in nature: being present with his creation, God gives water to all creatures, in spite of the frequent ingratitude, faithlessness and rebellion of humans (Psalms 95:8-11). The true foundation for a life at peace with creation is peace with God through faith and trust in Jesus Christ, and the receiving of the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:1-11). The natural and the spiritual merge in one, in Jesus’ discussion with the Samaritan woman on the theme of the ‘living water’ (John 4:5-30) and with the disciples on the natural and spiritual harvests (31-38).
Year B 
Exodus 20:1-17
Psalm 19: [1 6,} 7-14
I Corinthians 1:18-25
John 2:13-22
The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1 17) point to an ‘ecological’ lifestyle. For example, worshipping the creature rather than the Creator (4-6) and covetousness (17) can both lead to greedy over-consumption of resources. The heavens proclaim God’s glory, and the Scriptures tell us the way to live acceptably to him (Psalm 19). Paradoxically, the way back to God is pointed by the ‘foolish’ message about the Cross of Christ which enshrines God’s true wisdom. Jesus’ attack on the selling of sacrificial animals in the Temple (John 2:13-22) can be seen in part as a sign that he was ending the Old Testament sacrificial system, fulfilling it by his offering of himself.
Year C ()
Isaiah 55:1-9
Psalm 63:1-8
I Corinthians 10:1-13
Luke 13:1-9
The best commentary on Isaiah 55:1-9 is perhaps Matthew 4:4 quoting Deuteronomy 8:3: true sustenance comes from God, not from human effort (cf. Psalm 63:1-8). Such a faith strikes at the roots of excessive consumption. Nor is association with the people of God a guarantee against judgment (1 Corinthians 10:1-13). Repentance and steadfastness cannot be bypassed (Luke 13:1-9).