Year A
The Third Sunday in Lent
19 March 2017


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 saviour, our rock,
the shepherd who leads us with care.

You formed the earth by hand
and brought forth all things from nothing.
You led your people to freedom
and provided them with living water,
and with the law and prophets to guide them.

You sent your child, Jesus, to reconcile us to yourself.
While we were still sinners,
he proved your love for us in dying for us.
You raised him to life that we might be saved through him,
and drink from the spring of living water
that gushes up for eternal life.
Through your Holy Spirit poured into our hearts,
you have given us access to grace
and formed in us endurance, character and hope
that we might worship you in spirit and truth
and share in your eternal glory.

Therefore with .....

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



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

We thank you for pouring your Holy Spirit into our hearts,
giving us access to grace
and forming in us endurance, character and hope
that we might worship you in spirit and truth
and share in your eternal glory.

©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 saviour, our rock,
the shepherd who leads us with care.

You formed the earth by hand
and brought forth all things from nothing.
You led your people to freedom
and provided them with living water,
and with the law and prophets to guide them.

You sent your child, Jesus, to reconcile us to yourself.
While we were still sinners,
he proved your love for us in dying for us.
You raised him to life that we might be saved through him,
and drink from the spring of living water
that gushes up for eternal life.
Through your Holy Spirit poured into our hearts,
you have given us access to grace
and formed in us endurance, character and hope
that we might worship you in spirit and truth
and share in your eternal glory.
Amen.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




Declaration of Grace / Absolution

God proves his love for us in that
while we were still sinners Christ died for us,
and was raised that we might be saved and reconciled to God.

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

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




Commission & Benediction

Go out into the world
and in your words and your living
make it known that Christ is the saviour of the world.
Make it your food to do the work of God who sends you,
and drink deeply of the water of life.

And may God shepherd you and lead you with care.
May Christ who justifies you, give you peace with God,
and may the Spirit fill you with truth
that your lives may be worship, and your worship may live.

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 Thrid Sunday in Lent - Year A - 19 March 2017
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.


* Exodus 17: 1-7

    The whole gathered people of Israel pushed on from the Sen Desert, making the journey in manageable stages as the LORD directed them. At the end of one stage, they set up camp at a place called Rephidim, only to find that there was no drinking water in the area. The people started getting stuck into Moses again and demanding that he provide them with water to drink. But Moses said to them, “What are you taking it out on me for? Are you trying to provoke the LORD into losing patience with you?”
    But the people’s thirst was becoming severe, and the more desperate they became, the more they blamed Moses. “Now look at the mess you’ve got us into,” they said. “Is this what you dragged us all out of Egypt for: to watch us die in a parched desert, and our children and livestock with us?
    So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, “What am I supposed to do with these people? They are nearly ready to tear me limb from limb.”
    The LORD replied, “Take some of the Israelite tribal leaders with you, and go on ahead of the people. Take your hiking stick with you — the same one you used to strike the waters of the Nile. I will be waiting for you at the rock at Mount Sinai. Give the rock a good thump with your stick, and water will come pouring out of it for everyone to drink.”
    In full view of the tribal leaders, Moses did as the LORD had told him, and sure enough, there was water for everyone. From then on, Moses referred to that place by either of two names: Massah, which means ‘testing’, because the people had tested the LORD’s patience; and Meribah, which means ‘dispute’, because the people had questioned the LORD’s loyalty.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



* Psalm 95

We gather and sing to you, LORD.
........We raise the roof with shouts of joy
................for you are the rock on which we are safe!

We come into your presence bursting with gratitude;
........we set the house rocking as we sing your praises!

For you, LORD, are the greatest God of all;
........you rank way above every other claim on our loyalty.

You hold the depths of the earth in your hands,
........and the highest mountains are at your disposal.

The oceans and the dry lands alike belong to you,
........for you made them with your own hands.

You made us too, LORD, and we worship you,
........falling to our knees and bowing down to the ground!

You are our God and we are your people;
........you tenderly care for us like a sheep rearing her young.

If only all your people would pay attention to you!

If only they wouldn’t turn their backs on you
........like their ancestors did that day at Meribah.
There in the Massah Desert they slandered you;
........they forgot all you had done
................and demanded that you prove yourself.

For forty years you turned your back on them, LORD,
........for you couldn’t stand to see how twisted they became
................as they deserted your ways.

You angrily wrote off the whole generation
........and denied them the satisfaction of finding a place to call home.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



* Romans 5: 1-11

........It was our faith that put us back in the good books with God. We put our trust in Jesus Christ our Lord and we can rest assured that he has cleared up everything with God for us. Christ got us in on the extravagant generosity of God, and that generosity has given us a safe place to plant our feet. We don’t just stand there, though. We hold our heads up high and announce, with pride, that we confidently expect to be sharing the glory that is coming to God. Actually, it’s not just what’s coming in the future that makes us feel so good. Even now, when life seems to be giving us a raw deal, we can stand proud. We know that going through suffering can make us tough enough to survive the worst of times. This ability to tough things through will in turn generate new depths of integrity and maturity within us. And that brings us full-circle because it is this integrity and maturity that gives us our confidence about the future. Our confidence is not in vain either. We are sure about that because of what we have already experienced: a flood of love surging into our hearts from the Holy Spirit who God has given to us.
........Christ got us on track at the cost of his own life. He did it right when we most needed it; when we were way off course and too weak to ever get ourselves back. It’s hard to believe, but true. You rarely hear of people putting their lives on the line for others, even for innocent children. Perhaps we might be able to imagine finding the courage to die for someone who we deeply admired and loved. But if you need proof of how much God loves us, just look at what Christ did. While we were still showing no signs of ever offering God anything but contempt, Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for us.
........So if Christ was willing to spill his own blood to get us back on side with God, you can bet your bottom dollar that he will get us through safely when it all hits the fan. When we were still his enemies, Christ died to reconcile us to God, so imagine how much he would be prepared to do for us now that we are his friends. In his dying he ended the hostility: now in his living he is building us a rich life of love and peace. So you can see why we get so carried away about it all. Christ has taken us from being enemies to being friends of God, and we can never find adequate words to express the praise we want to heap on God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



* John 4: 5-42

........On his way back to Galilee, Jesus stopped in a Samaritan town called Sychar; a town known for its historic links to Jacob. There was a piece of land which Jacob had given to his son Joseph there; and a well he had dug was still providing the town with water. Feeling bushed after hiking all morning, Jesus plonked himself down near the well while his disciples went into town to buy some lunch.
........One of the local women came out to draw water from the well. Jesus said to her, “Could you give me a drink, please?”
........The woman replied, “What are you doing talking to me? I didn’t think you Jews ever had anything to do with us Samaritans, let alone with Samaritan women!”
........Jesus answered her, “You don’t realise what God is willing to give you, or who it is who is asking you for a drink. If you did, you’d be asking me to give you a drink, and I would have offered you pure living water.”
........The woman replied, “Mister, this is a deep well and you don’t even have a bucket. Where do you suppose you’re going to get this living water? This well was given to us by our ancestor Jacob. He drank from it himself, and so did his family and his livestock. You’re not making yourself out to be a better man than Jacob are you?”
........Jesus said to her, “You can drink this water all you like, but it won’t quench your thirst for long. But everyone who drinks the water I give them will never be thirsty again. For them, the water I will give will become a permanent spring within, an overflowing source of life without limit.”
........“O please Mister,” said the woman, “give me some of this water so that I won’t keep getting thirsty and having to trudge out here to draw water.”
........Jesus said to her, “Go and get your husband first, and come back with him.”
........“But I don’t have a husband,” the woman protested.
........“You’ve hit the nail on the head there,” said Jesus. “You’ve been through five husbands, and now you’re living with a man you are not married to. You’re not wrong saying you don’t have a husband!”
........“Obviously you are a prophet, Mister,” said the woman, “so clear up a question for me. Who’s right: our ancestors who worshipped God on this mountain, or you Jews who claim that Jerusalem is the only place to worship?”
........Jesus replied, “Woman, you can take from me that the time is coming when it won’t make the slightest bit of difference where you worship. You people worship as best you can, but you don’t have the full picture. We Jews have got a much better idea what we are doing when we worship, because God is working through us to save the world. But the time is coming — it’s here now now — when the measure of true worship will be the integrity and spirit of those who offer it, not their location. The God who conceived us seeks people whose worship is for real. Since God is spirit, our worship of God must flow out of the integrity of who we are in the core of our being, and of how we live.”
........The woman said to him, “Well, I know that the anointed one is coming, the one who is called the Christ. When he arrives, he’ll spell out the truth about everything for us.”
........Jesus said to her, “You are looking at him. I am the one.”
........At that moment, his disciples came back with the lunch. Their shock at finding Jesus interacting with the woman was written all over their faces, even though none of them came right out and challenged him. The woman cleared off in such a hurry that she forgot her bucket. She went back into town and began telling everyone about Jesus. “You have all got to come and see this bloke,” she said. “He read me like a book and told me all about my past! You don’t think he could perhaps be the Messiah do you? Come and see.”
........So everybody began coming out from the town to see him. Meanwhile, the disciples were trying get him ready to move on again, saying, “Come on, Rabbi. Get some food into you.”
........But he said to them, “I’m getting by fine on food that you lot know nothing about.”
........They looked at one another and said, “Surely no one else has been bringing food to him out here?”
........Jesus said to them, “The food that keeps me going is to do what is asked of me by the One who sent me, and to finish the job I was sent to complete. Now you lot might look around you and think that it will be at least four months until the crops are ready for picking, but I’m telling you to look again. What has been growing around here is ripe for picking now. The gun picker is already on the pay roll and the fruit he is picking is destined for life without limit. You can be sure that the One who planted and the One who harvested will be celebrating together. You can see here the truth of the old saying, ‘One sows, and another reaps.’ The job I’m setting for you is to pick fruits that you haven’t had to do a moment’s work for. Others have put in the hard yakka, and you get to share in the rewards.”
........Many of the Samaritan people from the town were ready to put their trust in Jesus because of what the woman had told them about how he had read her like a book. They came out and pleaded with him to stay on in the town, so he stayed there for a couple of days. Many more of them put their trust in him once they had heard his message for themselves. They told the woman, “We believed what you said about him, but now we have heard him for ourselves and we are quite convinced that he is the One who will save the world!”

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net