Year A
Second Sunday in Lent
8 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 are our help, our protector, our saviour.

You made the heavens and earth,
calling into existence things which were not.
You founded a people for yourself
on the faithful obedience of Abraham,
and led them through your law and prophets.

From the depths of your love
you sent your Son into the world,
not to condemn it, but to save it.
When he was lifted up on the cross and killed,
you raised him to life again,
and opened the life of your Kingdom
to all who believe and are born of water and Spirit.
Calling us to entrust our destinies
to the unpredictable currents of your Spirit,
and in faith follow your call into unknown places,
you have invited us to share in your gracious promise,
a promise of blessing for all the earth.

Therefore with .....

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




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

We give you thanks for sending your Son into the world,
not to condemn it, but to save it,
and to open the life of your Kingdom
to all who believe and are born of water and Spirit.

©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 are our help, our protector, our saviour.

You made the heavens and earth,
calling into existence things which were not.
You founded a people for yourself
on the faithful obedience of Abraham,
and led them through your law and prophets.

From the depths of your love
you sent your Son into the world,
not to condemn it, but to save it.
When he was lifted up on the cross and killed,
you raised him to life again,
and opened the life of your Kingdom
to all who believe and are born of water and Spirit.
Calling us to entrust our destinies
to the unpredictable currents of your Spirit,
and in faith follow your call into unknown places,
you have invited us to share in your gracious promise,
a promise of blessing for all the earth.

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

If we put our trust in the one who justifies the ungodly,
God counts our faith as righteousness,
for God did not send the Son into the world
to condemn us
but in order that the world might be saved through him.

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

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net





Commission & Benediction

Go out into the world at the call of God.
Find your help in the Lord,
and allow the Spirit to carry you wherever she blows.

And may God shelter you from evil and keep you from stumbling;
May Christ Jesus secure your life in faith;
And may the Holy Spirit carry you on the winds of God’s love.

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 Second Sunday in Lent - Year A - 8 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 12: 1-4a

The LORD spoke to Abram, and said:

“Get up and leave your country, your relatives and the family of your parents, and move to the land that I will show you. I will make things go well for you and see that your descendants become a great nation. I will see to it that you are remembered as one of the greats; as one whose life was a blessing to others. I will do good to those who do good to you, and I will pull the rug out from under anyone who pulls the rug out from under you. Life will be better for everyone on earth because of you.”
So Abram got up and left Haran, just as the LORD had told him to.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



* Psalm 121

If we look to the mountains,
........will we find security there?

No, our security comes from you alone,
........the LORD, the maker of earth and sky.

You are on the alert, twenty four hours a day,
........making sure that we don’t lose our footing.

You never slack off or take a nap,
........but constantly guard your people.

You keep us safe, LORD,
........you are always at our side to shield us.

While the sun shines, nothing can harm us;
........the moon comes up, but still we are safe.

You stand between us and all evil, LORD;
........you keep our lives clear of danger.

Whether we are coming or going,
........you look after us, LORD;
................you always have and always will.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




* Romans 4: 1-5, 13-17

........How does our new perspective on faith affect the way we understand the example set by our ancestor Abraham? If Abraham had earned God’s acceptance through his own hard work, then he could quite fairly claim to be a cut above the rest of us, though not above God of course. But that is not the way it happened. As the scriptures clearly say: “Abraham put his trust in God, and God counted that as the equivalent of a perfect life.”
........When people put in an honest day’s work, their wages are not thought of as a gift, but as something they have earned. But no one can earn God’s acceptance. Instead of claiming it as an entitlement, we can only put our trust in God, who generously treats such trust as the equivalent of a perfect life, and puts right those who could never make the grade on their own.
........When God promised Abraham that he and his descendants would inherit the earth, it was not because Abraham had earned it by following God’s instructions to the letter. Instead it was a gift given when God put things right for Abraham in response to the trust he had shown. If it were possible to earn the rights to the earth by rigid compliance with the law, then basic values like trust and promise would be irrelevant. It would all become just another legal contract to be negotiated. Tie it all up in fine print and it will only end up serving as evidence against you; but where the relationship is conducted on the basis of trust, no one goes on the lookout for every possible breach.
........So instead of being a legal matter, the fulfilment of the promise is conditional only on people’s willingness to put their trust in God. It is simply an expression of God’s generosity, and that’s why it is guaranteed to always be available to everyone. Whether you were raised in a culture where observing the religious law was the norm, or whether you have simply stepped out and put your trust in God like Abraham did, the promise is open to you. After all, both groups can rightly trace their line back to Abraham, and the scriptures say that God promised to make him the father of many nations. When it looked like Abraham wouldn’t ever become the father of anyone, he trusted his future into the hands of God, believing that the God who can bring life out of death could create something out of nothing.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



* John 3: 1-17

........There was a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Pharisee party and a leader in the Jewish nation. Late one night he came to speak with Jesus. He said, “Rabbi, we recognize that God has sent you as a teacher and that God is with you. How else could you do these things which are so clearly the work of God?”
........Jesus answered him, “Right you are. And let me tell you this: no one will see the full life of God without being born into it from above.”
........Nicodemus was taken aback. “How can this be?” he asked, “A person can only be born once. None of us can go back to the womb and be born again.”
........Jesus replied saying:
....“Listen again, for it is important that you get this. There is only one way into the full life of God, and it is through a birth of water and Spirit. A baby that emerges from a womb got its body from the bodies of its parents. But a growing person is not just a body, and the life-force within them emerges from the womb of the Spirit. So don’t be surprised that I said you have to be born from above. You can’t control or predict these things. They are like the wind. You can hear it coming and see what it does, but what’s driving it or where it is going next is anyone’s guess. God’s Spirit is like the wind, and so are all those who are born of the Spirit.”
But Nicodemus said, “I’m not with you. How can these things be?”
Jesus replied:
....“How can you set yourself up as one of the teachers of Israel when you are struggling to get your head around the basics?
....“Listen carefully because I’m speaking the truth. We know these things from our own experience, we’ve seen them with our own eyes, and yet you fob us off as though we were reporting a rumour we’d heard in the street. If I told you the sky was blue, you’d blink and take another look, so what chance is there of you believing anything I have to say about the ways of God? How are you going to check out what I say? None of you have ever gone up and stood face to face with God. The only one who has done that is the New Human, the one who came from God in the first place. You know the old story from the desert: the one about Moses lifting up the hand-made snake so that the people could look at something that would help them to focus their trust in God. Well, the New Human is going to be lifted up for much the same reason. Everyone who looks up to him in trust and hope will receive life without limit.
....“God’s love for the world is so overwhelming that even giving up his own son was not too great a cost to ensure that no one need succumb to death. All those who put their trust in him can have boundless life instead.
....“God didn’t put his son’s life on the line merely to bring down the hammer and pass sentence on us. Rather, God saw the world in desperate trouble and sent the Son on a cosmic rescue mission.”

©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




Alternative Gospel Lection (for those churches which did not observe the last Sunday before Lent as Transfiguration Sunday)

Matthew 17: 1-9

    Jesus took Peter and the brothers, James and John, and led them off up a high mountain. Before their very eyes, the way Jesus looked was suddenly changed from the inside out. His face shone like the sun and his clothing became so white it was dazzling. And, lo and behold, they saw Moses and Elijah there too, in deep conversation with Jesus.
    Peter said, “Lord, this is fantastic! What a moment! If you like, I will knock up three huts, so that you, Moses and Elijah can all stay here longer.”
    Even before he finished getting the words out, a dazzling cloud engulfed them all. Deep within the cloud, a voice boomed forth: “This is my Son, the love of my life, who fills me with pride. Listen to him!”
    When Peter, James and John heard this, they hit the deck, dumbfounded. But Jesus came and tapped them on the shoulders and said, “Up you get! There’s nothing to be afraid of!”
    And when they looked up, everything looked normal again and they saw no one there but Jesus.
    As they were coming back down the mountain, Jesus swore them to secrecy, saying, “Don’t breathe a word to anyone about what you’ve seen until the New Human has been raised from the dead.”

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net