Year A
First Sunday in Lent
1 March 2020



Eucharistic Preface

Let us lift up our hearts.
    We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
    It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is indeed right to give you our thanks and praise, O God,
for you have given us the free gift of righteousness and life.

You created the world, abundant and fertile,
and entrusted it to us.
With every word that comes from your mouth,
you feed us with the fruit of life
and show us how to avoid the fruit of death.

When sin entered the world through one man’s deceit,
we were all left, poisoned by shame,
our strength withering as in a summer drought.
But now, through one man, Jesus Christ,
righteousness has come.
He was tested in the wilderness
but refused to compromise with evil,
even when it came disguised
as compassion, knowledge and reason.
Though he was killed, you raised him to life,
and in him we have received the abundance of grace
that we might stand before you cleansed of all evil and deceit.

Therefore with .....

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




Short Preface
(for insertion into Eucharistic prayers with fixed prefaces)

We thank you for feeding us with every word that comes from your mouth,
and for not leaving us poisoned by the fruit of death,
but, through one man, Jesus Christ,
reaching out to us with the free gift of grace
that we might stand before you cleansed of all evil and deceit.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net





General Prayer of Thanksgiving
(Preface reformatted for use apart from communion)

We give you all thanks and praise, O God,
for you have given us the free gift of righteousness and life.

You created the world, abundant and fertile,
and entrusted it to us.
With every word that comes from your mouth,
you feed us with the fruit of life
and show us how to avoid the fruit of death.

When sin entered the world through one man’s deceit,
we were all left, poisoned by shame,
our strength withering as in a summer drought.
But now, through one man, Jesus Christ,
righteousness has come.
He was tested in the wilderness
but refused to compromise with evil,
even when it came disguised
as compassion, knowledge and reason.
Though he was killed, you raised him to life,
and in him we have received the abundance of grace
that we might stand before you cleansed of all evil and deceit.

Therefore, with our hearts lifted high,
we offer you thanks and praise at all times
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net





Declaration of Grace / Absolution

When we hide our sin, we grow weak,
but when we confess our wrong,
God pardons us.
A free gift of righteousness is ours through Jesus Christ
who brings justification and life for all.

Sisters and Brothers,
    your sins are forgiven;
        be at peace.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net





Commission & Benediction

Go out into the world in the righteousness of Christ.
Do not hide your sin,
but trust in God who gives mercy and love.
Do not be afraid to face the wilderness,
but do not compromise with evil.

And may God be your shelter to save you from ruin.
May Christ be your teacher and show you the path to walk.
And may the Spirit encircle you with songs of freedom.

We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
    In the name of Christ. Amen.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net







Paraphrases of the Scripture Lections
for the First Sunday in Lent - Year A - 1 March 2020
Lections from The Revised Common Lectionary.
Copyright 1992 by the Consultation on Common Texts (CCT)
P. O. Box 340003, Room 381, Nashville, TN 37203-0003, USA. Used with Permission.



* Genesis 2: 15-17; 3: 1-7

    The LORD God put the humans in the garden of Eden so that they could tend the garden and look after it. The LORD God gave them these instructions: “You are free to eat the fruit from every tree in the garden except one. There is one tree whose fruit you must not eat, for just one bite of it and your minds will start dividing everything up into good and evil. The day that happens, you lose your life.”
    Now, among the wild animals which the LORD God had made, the most devious of all was the snake. The snake approached the woman one day and said, “Did God tell you you couldn’t eat fruit from the trees in the garden?”
    The woman replied, “We are free to eat fruit from any tree in the garden except for one tree in the middle. God told us not to eat its fruit or even touch it because if we do we will die.”
    But the snake said to the woman, “You would not die. God knows very well that if you eat that fruit you will be able to see what you cannot yet see. You will be like God, because you be able to judge good and evil.”
    Then the woman stared at the fruit on the tree. It was beautiful, and not only looked delicious, but now it looked to her like a desirable shortcut to great wisdom, so she took a piece of the fruit and ate it. The man was with her, so she gave some to him and he ate it too. Suddenly they saw everything through different eyes. Feeling exposed, and needing to cover up, they sewed fig leaves together to hide their nakedness.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




* Psalm 32

What a blessing it is to be among those you have forgiven, LORD,
........those whose record of wrongdoing you have wiped clean.

People who are honest about their lives
........have everything going for them;
they never have to cover their tracks
........or worry that they’ll be in your bad books.

I used to keep my sins to myself, LORD,
........but they poisoned me from within;
wasting my body,
........tormenting my mind.

Day and night I felt your eyes following me;
........I lived in fear that you’d see right through me.
The joy of living evaporated
........in the burning heat of my guilt.

Then I decided to come clean with you, LORD,
........to own up to all I’d done and stop living a lie.
I made a full confession to you, LORD,
........and you gave me a full pardon, forgiving all my sin.

Now, like all your faithful people, LORD,
........I am always ready to open myself to you in prayer.
When trouble breaks its banks,
........your faithful ones are on safe ground.

You are like a bomb shelter for us, LORD;
........you protect us from danger.
Thanks to you, LORD, we can still laugh;
........we can dance around singing songs of freedom.

You have given us clear directions;
........you have pointed out the path we should follow.
You have kept a watchful eye on us
........and made sure we understood.

You have encouraged us to follow willingly,
........to understand and embrace your ways;
not to buck and snort like wild horses,
........fighting the reins until our strength is broken.

Those who refuse the straight and narrow
........will suffer for it, over and over;
but those who put their trust in you, LORD,
........will find love and loyalty wherever they go.

You are celebrated by all right-minded people, LORD;
........with open hearts we shout for joy;
................with clear minds we sing your praises.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




* Romans 5: 12-19

........Sin infected the world through one person; and it proved to be fatal. It spread rapidly and no one was immune. In no time at all everybody was facing death because sin had shown up in the actions of every person on the planet. Indeed, the epidemic of sin had well and truly taken hold before God gave us the Law through Moses, but until then, there was no way to accurately diagnose it or keep a record of it. Records or no records, death was still the order of the day before the time of Moses, and had been ever since Adam. While most people had not developed symptoms as serious as Adam’s — flat out disobedience of a clear instruction from God — even the mildest cases of sin proved to be fatal. Despite his role in all this, when we look back at Adam we can see in him some clear indicators of the nature of the one who would later come to clear up the mess.
........Of course the free gift that the Messiah gives is nothing like the infection that Adam left us, but there are striking similarities in the way that their respective actions had such enormous consequences for everybody else. One person’s stuff-up was responsible for the death of many; while the other person, Jesus the Messiah, through his own generous love, was responsible for the extravagant generosity of God becoming freely available to everyone. The comparison ends there, though, because the consequences are clearly a world apart. The sentence that was brought down on that first act of corruption put us all on death row, but despite the sorry history of corruption since, the Messiah’s free gift enables anybody and everybody to stand before God with a perfectly clean record. All it took for death to seize absolute power was for one person to do the wrong thing. So you can imagine what can be achieved through the actions of one person when that person is Jesus the Messiah! It is a sure thing that those who open themselves to his extravagant generosity, and accept his free gift of being put in the good books with God, will topple death and regain the power to live life to the full.
........So it all boils down to this: just as a corrupt act by one person resulted in us all being condemned to death, so an act of unshakeable integrity by one person resulted in us all being able to make a fresh start with a clean slate and an open ticket on life. One person did the wrong thing by God and we were all tarred with the same brush; but now one person has done the right thing by God, and we’re all going to get the credit!

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




* Matthew 4: 1-11

   The Spirit led Jesus up into a remote wilderness area so that he could be challenged and prove himself. He went without food for forty days and nights out there, and after that he was weak from hunger. Sensing his weakness, the devil tried every trick in the book to lure him off-track. Playing on his hunger, the devil said, “If you are really the Son of God, prove it! Say the word and turn these rocks into loaves of bread.”
    Jesus answered him, “As the scriptures say,

    ‘It takes a lot more than bread to make life worth living.
        It is the words that God speaks, every one of them,
            that really feed us.’”

    The devil decided to try quoting scripture too. Taking Jesus to the holy city and standing him on top of the Temple’s highest tower, the devil said, “If you are really the Son of God, prove it to everyone. Throw yourself down from the top of this tower so that God can fulfil the scriptures that say:

    ‘God will give instructions to the angels about you,’
    ‘They will catch you as you fall
    and you won’t so much as stub your toe on the rocks below.’”

But Jesus couldn’t be budged and replied, “The scriptures also say, ‘Don’t go trying to test out the Lord your God.’”

    Making another try, the devil took Jesus up onto a very high mountain with panoramic views of all the world’s nations in all their splendour, and said to him, “I can make the world your oyster. I will give you all this if you just get down on your knees and worship me. Just acknowledge me as number one – and it’s all yours.”
    But Jesus was not taken in, and he said, “Get out of here, you satan! The scriptures leave no doubt about who we are to call number one:

    ‘Worship the Lord your God and no other.
    Give your whole-hearted service
        to the Lord your God and no other.’”

    With that, the devil cleared off, and suddenly God’s angels showed up and took care of everything Jesus needed.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net