Year A
Proper 12
Sunday 26 July 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 faithful to the covenant you have made
with a thousand generations.

You are the creator and judge of all the earth
and in all things you work for good for your chosen ones.
Your servant Jacob laboured seven years
for the love of Rachel;
and for love of us,
your child Jesus has laboured all the way to death.

He came among us, sowing your Word,
and from that tiny seed your kingdom has grown,
a pearl of great price,
a treasure for which we would give everything,
a home of welcome and grace for all people.
Though rulers and powers turned against him
and he was killed,
you raised him to new life
and now there is nothing in all creation
that can separate us from the love given us in Christ.

Therefore with .....

©2002 Nathan Nettleton Laughingbird.net




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

We give you thanks for your child Jesus
who came among us, sowing your Word,
a tiny seed from which your kingdom has grown,
and now there is nothing in all creation
that can separate us from the love given us in Christ.

©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 faithful to the covenant you have made
with a thousand generations.

You are the creator and judge of all the earth
and in all things you work for good for your chosen ones.
Your servant Jacob laboured seven years
for the love of Rachel;
and for love of us,
your child Jesus has laboured all the way to death.

He came among us, sowing your Word,
and from that tiny seed your kingdom has grown,
a pearl of great price,
a treasure for which we would give everything,
a home of welcome and grace for all people.
Though rulers and powers turned against him
and he was killed,
you raised him to new life
and now there is nothing in all creation
that can separate us from the love given us in Christ.

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

The Spirit helps us in our weakness,
and Christ Jesus is at the right hand of God interceding for us.
We have been chosen, called and put in the right
and nothing can separate us from the love of God.

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

©2002 Nathan Nettleton Laughingbird.net





Commission & Benediction

Go now secure in the love of God
from which nothing can separate you.
Delight in seeking the Lord -
look always for the power and the presence of God,
and let love, like yeast in dough, permeate all you do.

And may God work for good in all things for you;
May Christ Jesus conform you in the image of his love;
And may the Holy Spirit help you in your weakness,
interceding for you, and in you, according to the will of God.

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 Proper 12 - Year A - Sunday 26 July 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 29: 15-28

    To fulfil a promise to his father, Jacob travelled to his grandfather’s homeland to find a wife from among his own tribal group. He boarded there with his uncle, Laban, and when he had been there for a month, Laban said to him, “You shouldn’t have to work for me for nothing, just because you are related to me. Tell me what you think would be a fair wage.”
    Now Laban had two grown daughters named Leah and Rachel. Leah was the older of the two and had a nice personality, but Rachel had a gorgeous face and a shapely body, and Jacob fell head-over-heels in love with her. So when Laban asked him about wages, he said, “I want to marry your younger daughter, Rachel, and I will work for you for seven years as the dowry payment.”
    Laban replied, “You’ve got a deal. I’d much rather give her to you than have her marry some stranger.”
    So Jacob put in seven years’ hard work in order to gain Rachel as his wife, but it seemed a small price to pay for one he loved so much, and the time flew. Then one day, Jacob said to Laban, “I’ve fulfilled my side of the deal. It is time for you to give me my wife in marriage so that I can make love with her.”
    So Laban gathered together all the locals for a huge wedding feast, and they ate and drank long into the night. But the veiled woman who Laban gave away and who Jacob took to his bed and made love with, was Leah. When the morning sun came through the window, he discovered he was lying next to the wrong woman! He stormed off to Laban to demand an explanation. “What’s going on here? We made a deal that I was working for you in return for Rachel, so why have you conned me?”
    Laban calmly replied, “It is not the done thing in this neck of the woods to marry off a younger daughter while her older sister is still unmarried. Do the right thing by Leah, and take her on her honeymoon, and as soon as you get back, I’ll let you marry Rachel as well. Then you can work for me for another seven years to pay off the second dowry. So Jacob copped it sweet and fulfilled his obligations to Leah. When their honeymoon was over, there was another wedding and Laban gave his daughter Rachel to Jacob to be his wife.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton Laughingbird.net




* Psalm 105: 1-11, 45c (alt)

We shout your name and give you thanks, LORD;
   we will tell everyone what you have done for us.
We sing your praises in your presence,
   and publicise your wonderful achievements.

We put your name up in lights, your name alone;
   our hearts burst with joy when we approach you.
It is you we want most of all, you and your strength;
   we try to keep near to you all the time.

Like all the descendants of Abraham and Jacob,
   and all your chosen children,
we remember all the astonishing things you have done
   and the breath-taking wisdom of your decisions.

You are the LORD our God;
   what you say, goes, everywhere on earth.
You never forget the alliance you have made with us;
   you’ve been true to your word for a thousand generations.

You made the alliance with Abraham;
   you promised Isaac you would stick to it;
you confirmed it in writing to Jacob,
   promising Israel that the alliance was in place forever.
You gave them the land of Canaan as a family property,
   to be passed on down from one generation to the next.

You are the greatest, LORD!

©2002 Nathan Nettleton Laughingbird.net

OR


* Psalm 128 (alt)

LORD, how good life is for all who respect you,
   for all who stick to your tracks.

They work hard and enjoy the benefits;
   smiles and laughter are never far away,
      and things always seem to work out for them.

They enjoy a rich and satisfying love-life;
   they look forward to going home each day.
Their children spring up like wildflowers,
   and there is always laughter around the table.

Such health, fertility and prosperity are your gifts, LORD;
   given to those who honour and respect you.

You rain down blessings from your holy mountain.
   May we see only good times in our city, LORD,
      for as long as we live.

May we live long enough to enjoy our grandchildren,
   and may there always be peace in our land!

©2002 Nathan Nettleton Laughingbird.net


* Romans 8: 26-39

   There will be times when our strength fails us and we will feel like just accommodating ourselves to the way things presently are, but the Spirit will always be there for us. Even when our prayer dries up and words fail us, the Spirit is there within us, keeping the communication lines open by turning our deepest achings and yearnings into prayers that pass wordlessly from heart to heart. And God, being of one mind with the Spirit, is able to hear the cries of our hearts because the Spirit offers them — along with the prayers of all God’s people — in language that connects with the cries of God’s heart. Because the Spirit is always on the job, we know that everything that happens will contribute something to bringing about the best for those who love God and have responded to the call to cooperate with what God is on about.
   You see, being able to tell who they would be, God booked them all in ahead for a full reconstructive make-over. They will come out being just like God’s Son, all related to him and to one another, but he’ll still be the stand-out original. Having set this up for people, God contacted them individually and challenged them to get in on it. Those who were contacted were put in the good books with God, and once in the good books, they were lifted up and covered in glory.
   So what are we to make of all this? If God is personally backing us, who can stand against us? Having spared nothing for us so far, and having continued to give freely to us all, even when it meant losing his own Son, God is clearly set on going the whole way and giving us the lot. So who would dare mouth off against one of God’s chosen ones? It is God who says who is in the good books. Who would dare condemn us when the one who is going to plead our case to God is the Messiah, Jesus, who died and was raised and is now God’s right hand man. Is there anyone or anything that can put us beyond the reach of the Messiah’s love? Can tough times do it? Or Grief? Can victimising us, or denying us food and shelter, or subjecting us to torture and violence do it? The scriptures suggest not:

“The violence we cop for God never seems to stop;
   we are marched off like animals to be butchered.”
No, even when we are copping all these things, the One who already went through them and continued to love us sets us up as the ultimate winners. So I am dead-set sure that there is absolutely nothing — nothing living or dead, nothing wielding power in heaven or on earth, nothing in the past or in the future, nothing of authority or influence, nothing above or below or any place else in the entire universe — that will ever be able to come between us and the love of God that we have found in the Messiah, Jesus our Lord.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton Laughingbird.net




* Matthew 13: 31-33, 44-52

Jesus used some more stories to teach those around him, saying, “Here is a good illustration of the culture of heaven. Someone takes a blackberry seed and plants it in the garden. One little seed; you wouldn’t even know it was there. But it grows into a huge bush, and then just keeps on going and no one can stop it. Eventually it is so big that a whole colony of rabbits can build a home under its branches!
    “The culture of heaven is like some vodka that a woman secretly added to a huge vat of fruit punch at a party. No one realised it was there until it had the whole crowd under its influence!
    “Here is another good illustration of the culture of heaven. A person took a shortcut through someone else’s property and stumbled across a reef of gold. Jumping for joy, he covered it over and ran off to sell everything he had so that he could buy the property.
    “Here’s another illustration. A diamond trader is out to buy some fine diamonds. He comes across one of a quality far beyond anything he has ever seen before, so he goes and cashes in everything else he owns in order to buy it.
    “Here is one more illustration of the culture of heaven for you. A couple of fishing boats pull a drag net through the sea, catching everything in its path. When it is full, they pull it ashore, and the crews sit down to sort out the catch. The good fish are put on ice ready for the market, and the rubbish is thrown away. The same sort of thing will happen at the end of the age. The angels will come and pick out those who are corrupt from among those who stick to the right track, and throw them into the incinerator. They’ll be cursing and kicking themselves then!”
    Jesus asked his followers, “Are you beginning to cotton on to what I’m saying here?”
    “Yes,” they answered.
    So he went on to say to them, “You see then, when those who really know the scriptures are trained in the ways of the culture of heaven, they become like a good wine merchant who can, at a moment’s notice, bring out from the cellar just the right bottle; something new or something old as the occasion demands.”

©2002 Nathan Nettleton Laughingbird.net



Alternative Hebrew Bible Lections themed to the Gospel Lection


* 1 Kings 3: 5-12

   One night, while Solomon was staying in Gibeon, the LORD God appeared to him in a dream. God said to him, “Solomon, what would you most like me to give you?”
   Solomon answered God, saying:
You always loved my father, your servant David. Your love was solid and unshakable, because he was good and honest and did what was right by you. As a sign of your love and loyalty to him, you gave him a son to inherit his kingdom. So here I am, LORD God. I am your servant, and you have made me king in place of my father, even though I’m little more than a boy and have no idea how to conduct myself properly. I am your servant and you have given me the job of ruling your chosen people, even though they are a great nation and there are more of them than anyone can count. So then, what I would most like you to give me is a sharp mind to rule justly and to be able to pick the difference between right and wrong every time. Without such a gift, no one could ever hope to rule your people.
The Lord was most impressed with Solomon’s request, and said to him:
You could have selfishly asked me to give you a long life, or to make you the richest man on earth, or to wipe out your enemies. But instead you have asked me for the wisdom to make the right decisions for my people. You have chosen well and I will give you exactly what you have asked for. You will have more wisdom and insight than anyone else who has ever lived or ever will.
©2000 Nathan Nettleton Laughingbird.net




* Psalm 119: 129-136

The instructions you have given, LORD, are the best;
   they find a ready welcome within me.

As your words become clear, they light up the world,
   and even the simplest minds begin to understand.

In my thirst for more of your teachings,
   I’m like a dog panting for water.

Look my way and give me the inside running,
   as is your usual practice to those who love you.

Keep me safely on track as you promised you would,
   and don’t let corruption get the better of me.

Rescue me from those who would stand over me;
   keep me free to do what you want me to do.

I am your trusty worker;
   smile on me and teach me your ways.

It tears my heart out
   to see how so many defy you.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton Laughingbird.net