Year A
The Fifth Sunday in Lent
29 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 yours is the power of life
that even death cannot hold back.

You created the world
and breathed your Spirit into our bodies of earth,
forming for yourself a people with whom to celebrate life.

In Jesus Christ, your child,
you have sent to us one who is both life and resurrection.
Sharing our grief in the face of death,
he prised open the grip of the grave
and called us forth into the fullness of life and peace.
Arousing the fury of hell,
he was crucified and cast lifeless into the depths,
but you raised him to new life.
Now, wherever people lay lost in valleys of death,
he again comes speaking the word of life
and calling his Spirit to breathe new life into us
so that hope is reborn and you are glorified.

Therefore with .....

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




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

We give thanks for your Son, Jesus Christ,
who comes wherever people lay lost in valleys of death
and calls his Spirit to breathe new life into us
so that we might come forth into the fullness of life and peace.

©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 yours is the power of life
that even death cannot hold back.

You created the world
and breathed your Spirit into our bodies of earth,
forming for yourself a people with whom to celebrate life.

In Jesus Christ, your child,
you have sent to us one who is both life and resurrection.
Sharing our grief in the face of death,
he prised open the grip of the grave
and called us forth into the fullness of life and peace.
Arousing the fury of hell,
he was crucified and cast lifeless into the depths,
but you raised him to new life.
Now, wherever people lay lost in valleys of death,
he again comes speaking the word of life
and calling his Spirit to breathe new life into us
so that hope is reborn and you are glorified.

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 God recorded our sins, no one could survive,
but God’s forgiveness is awesome.
The Lord will bring mercy
and grant full pardon.

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

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net





Commission & Benediction

Go now and walk in the light of Christ.
Trust in the one who is resurrection and life.
Stand firm before the forces of death
and speak words of life.

And may God raise you up and give life to your bodies;
May Christ Jesus dwell in you in righteousness;
And may the Holy Spirit be the life in your every breath.

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 Fifth Sunday in Lent - Year A - 29 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.



* Ezekiel 37: 1-14

The LORD took hold of me and the LORD’s Spirit carried me away and dropped me off in the middle of Death Valley. I took a look around but there was nothing to be seen but bones – old human bones, baked dry in the sun – thousands and thousands of them. The LORD questioned me saying, “Ezekiel, mortal man, can these bones come back to life?”
I replied, “Lord GOD, only you can answer such a question.”

Then the LORD told me to preach boldly to the bones, saying:

“All you dry bones, listen to what the LORD is saying to you. Though you are long dead, I, the Lord, will put breath into you again, and you will live. Muscles, ligaments, organs, veins; all these I will give you, wrapped in healthy new skin. You will have whole new bodies and I will breathe life into you. Then you will know for sure that I am the LORD.”
 So I did what the LORD told me and I preached to the bones. Even while I was in full flight, the noise of rattling bones began to echo through the valley. They were coming together, linking up, one bone to another. As I watched, muscles appeared and grew. Bodies filled out with new flesh, and fresh skin was wrapped around them. But they were still lifeless.

Then the LORD told me to call to the winds, saying:

“North Wind, South Wind, East Wind, West Wind, listen to what the LORD is telling you to do. Come from everywhere and blow the breath of life into these corpses, so that they can live again.”
 Again I spoke as the LORD had said, and even as I did, gusts of wind swirled among the bodies, resuscitating them before my very eyes. Rising to their feet like a finals’ crowd, they could have easily filled the biggest stadium.

Then the LORD explained to me what it all meant:

“Ezekiel, mortal man, my people are just like old dry bones. They are always whingeing that life has become one long drought and they’ve been left for dead with no reason to hope that the future might be any better. So preach boldly, Ezekiel, and tell them this:
“All you people, listen to what the LORD is promising: I am going to dig up your graves, and open your coffins. I will bring you back as my people to the promised land. When I do this for you, my people, when I restore life to your bodies, then you will know for sure that I am the LORD. My Spirit will be within you like the breath in your lungs, and so you shall live. I will once again plant your feet on your own patch of dirt. Then there will no longer be any doubt that I, the LORD, have spoken and that what I say goes.” 
©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net





* Psalm 130

From the depths of despair, from rock bottom,
........I cry to you, O LORD.
................I beg you to listen!
Please tune in and hear what I’m asking!

If you put black marks against our names
........for every failing,
........Lord, wouldn’t you have to write off everyone?

But forgiveness is much more your style,
........and for this we adore you.

I wait in eager anticipation for your presence, LORD.
........Everything inside me yearns for you
........and your promises fill me with hope.

Deep in my guts there is a hunger for you, LORD,
........more pressing than a woman
................waiting for the birth of her baby,
........more impatient than a child
................waiting for a birthday;
................crossing off the days, one by one.

O People of Israel, put your trust in the LORD!
........The LORD’s love never lets us down,
........and is always ready to rescue us from danger.

It is the LORD who will bail us out
........when we are caught in the consequences
................of our own sin.

©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




* Romans 8: 6-11

........Preoccupation with gratifying your own selfish impulses is a downward spiral into living death. But a mind open to the Spirit is an open door to the fullness of life and peace. Clearly then, a mind that is fixated on self-gratification is hostile to God. Such a mind will not, and can not, respond positively to anything God asks of it, and so those who are locked into their own selfish impulses are incapable of getting the thumbs-up from God.
........But you are not locked into such impulses. You are now living in union with God’s Spirit, and the Spirit has moved in and become the life-force within you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of the Messiah at work within them does not, in fact, belong to him at all. But if the Messiah has taken up residence within you, then, even though your bodies will die from the after-effects of sin, the Spirit has put you on the right track and you will have life. If the Spirit who lives in you is the Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead, then you can rest assured that this same Spirit will raise your bodies out of death and into a life that is lived to the full in union with the Spirit of the Messiah.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




* John 11: 1-45

........A man named Lazarus became dangerously ill. He and his two sisters, Mary and Martha, lived in the town of Bethany and were good friends of Jesus. Mary was the one who is remembered for having massaged the Lord’s feet with perfumed oils and dried them with her hair. When her brother Lazarus got sick, she and her sister sent a message to Jesus, saying, “Lord, your good mate Lazarus is gravely ill.”
........When Jesus got the message, he said, “This illness is not going to result in death, but in great credit being given to God and to the Son of God.”
........Despite his great love for Martha and her sister, and for Lazarus, Jesus did not drop everything the minute he got the message and head off to be with them. It was another two days before he finished up what he was doing and got ready to go. When he was ready he said to his disciples, “Let’s make tracks back to Judea.”
........But the disciples said, “Rabbi, you’ve only just fled Judea because they were trying to kill you there. Why on earth would you be wanting to go back?”
........Jesus replied, “There is a time for working and a time for sleeping. If you go about your business during the daylight, you won’t stumble, because your world will be full of light. But if you wait until its dark, you will fall flat on your face because you will have no light to guide you. Our good mate Lazarus has gone to sleep, and I am going down there to wake him up.”
........The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he is getting plenty of sleep then he will be back on his feet in no time.”
........Jesus had really been saying that Lazarus had died, but the disciples had taken him too literally, so he spelt it out for them: “Lazarus is dead. I’m glad, for your sakes, that I wasn’t there, because this will toughen up your faith. So let’s go and join him.”
........Thomas the Twin turned to the other disciples and said, “Come on. If he is going to get himself killed, we might as well be killed with him.”
........When Jesus arrived in Bethany, he discovered that Lazarus had been buried four days earlier. Many people from nearby Jerusalem had come to town to comfort Martha and Mary and pay their last respects to Lazarus. Martha heard that Jesus had arrived and ran down the street to meet him, leaving Mary at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you’d been here. I know my brother wouldn’t have died if you had been here. But I know that, even now, God will do anything you ask.”
........Jesus said to her, “Your brother will be raised to life again.”
........Martha replied, “I know that he and all the dead will be raised to life at the end of time.”
........But Jesus said to her, “I am the one who raises the dead and gives life. Those who put their trust in me will have life, even if they die. Those who live trusting in me, will never succumb to death. Will you take my word for this, Martha?”
........“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God; the one whose arrival the world has been waiting for.”
........Having said this, Martha went back to the house and spoke in private to her sister Mary, saying, “The teacher is here and he wants to see you.”
........When she heard this, Mary wasted no time in getting up and hurrying out to meet Jesus. She found him where Martha had left him, just outside the fringe of the town. When all the visitors from Jerusalem who had been with her in the house saw her hurrying out, they assumed that she was going to the graveyard to mourn and leave flowers, so they followed her. When Mary saw Jesus, she embraced him and sobbed, “Lord, if only you’d been here. I know my brother wouldn’t have died if you had been here.”
........Jesus was stirred up, deep in his guts, by her tears and by the crying of the people who were with her. “Where did you bury him?” he asked.
........“Come and we’ll show you, Lord,” they said. As they went, Jesus too began weeping. This prompted some of the people to say, “He must have really loved Lazarus,” but others were more cynical, saying, “If he loved him so much, how come he didn’t do something to keep him from dying? After all, he had no trouble giving sight to a blind man.”
........Jesus arrived at the tomb, and by now he was quite worked up. The tomb was a cave with a big rock sealing the entrance. Jesus gave orders for it to be reopened. Martha, the other sister of the dead man, protested saying, “Lord, it will stink to high heaven. He’s already been dead for four days.”
........But Jesus said, “I told you, didn’t I, that if you believed, you would see things so amazing that they could only be credited to God?”
........So they went ahead and removed the rock from the entrance of the tomb. Jesus paused to pray, saying, “Father, thank you for hearing my prayer. I know you always do, but I want this crowd to hear me giving the credit to you, because then they might believe that it was you who sent me.”
........Having said that, he raised his voice and bellowed, “Lazarus, get out here!”
........And sure enough, the dead man came out, still wrapped up like a mummy from head to toe. Jesus gave the order to unwrap him and set him free.
........This was the turning point for many of the people who had accompanied Mary. When they saw what Jesus did, they put their trust him.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net