Year A
Proper 15
Sunday 16 August 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 your gifts and calling are irrevocable
and you bless us with life forever.

You created the earth and everything in it,
and formed it’s peoples to live as one.
In ancient times you worked through your servant, Joseph,
sending him ahead of your people to preserve life
and open up a way of salvation.

And now, though never rejecting those you first chose,
you have thrown open the gates of mercy to all.
You sent your own child, Jesus, among us,
and when his eyes were opened
by the pleas of a gentile woman,
you made it known that no one
would have to scrape for crumbs of mercy
beneath your table.
When he was killed, you raised him to life,
and with him raised us all
and seated us in honour at your banqueting table.

Therefore with .....

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




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

We give you thanks that you do not make us scrape
for crumbs of mercy beneath your table,
but that you sent your servant, Jesus,
before us to preserve life
and open up a way of salvation.

©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 your gifts and calling are irrevocable
and you bless us with life forever.

You created the earth and everything in it,
and formed it’s peoples to live as one.
In ancient times you worked through your servant, Joseph,
sending him ahead of your people to preserve life
and open up a way of salvation.

And now, though never rejecting those you first chose,
you have thrown open the gates of mercy to all.
You sent your own child, Jesus, among us,
and when his eyes were opened
by the pleas of a gentile woman,
you made it known that no one
would have to scrape for crumbs of mercy
beneath your table.
When he was killed, you raised him to life,
and with him raised us all
and seated us in honour at your banqueting table.

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

Do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves,
for though we have sinned,
Christ has gone before us to create new life,
showing God’s mercy to all
and bringing us out of the prison of disobedience.

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

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net





Commission & Benediction

Go now as creators and preservers of life,
and live together as one.
Do not follow blind guides,
but always be prepared to hear the Word of God anew,
even challenging you from unexpected sources.

And may God bless you with life forever;
May Christ Jesus heal you of all that would harm you;
And may the Holy Spirit cleanse your hearts of all that would defile you.

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 15 - Year A - Sunday 16 August 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 45: 1-15

    As his brothers spoke, Joseph was getting very emotional, and he didn’t want his servants to see him crying so he ordered them all out of the room. Once he was alone with his brothers, he blurted out the truth about his identity. “I am Joseph, your brother,” he said, and promptly burst into tears. His sobbing was so loud that his Egyptian servants heard it from outside and sent a message about it to the Pharaoh’s palace.
    Amidst his tears, Joseph asked his brothers whether his father was still alive, but they were in such a state of shock and panic that they couldn’t even answer him. Joseph called them to gather close around him and, when they did, he said:

“I am your brother, Joseph: the one you sold to the Egyptian slave traders. But don’t panic! Despite what you did, it has worked out for the best. Your actions played into God’s hands, because God was bringing me here so that I could save many lives. The land has been in the grip of drought and famine for two years already, and it’s only going to get worse. It will be another five years before crops can be sown and harvested again. You and your families would have all perished if God hadn’t brought me here ahead of you, but now you will be among the survivors. So, don’t kick yourselves: it was not you, but God, who brought me here. Because of what God has done, even Pharaoh looks up to me now. I run all his business for him, both in the palace and in the whole land of Egypt.”
Joseph then told his brothers that he wanted them to get home as quickly as possible and deliver a message to his father. This is what it said:
“Dear Dad, I am your son, Joseph, and I am alive! God has put me in charge of the whole land of Egypt. Move down here at once. I will set aside land for you in the region of Goshen so that you can live near me. There will be plenty of room for you, and for your children, your grandchildren, all your livestock, and all your possessions. The drought will last for another five years, but I will provide for you and all your family and livestock so that you will be protected from starvation.”
Joseph said to his brothers, “Now all of you, and especially my brother Benjamin, can see from what I’ve said that I really am Joseph. So don’t waste any time. Get back to my father and tell him what a big man I’ve become here in Egypt and bring him down here as soon as possible.”
    Then Joseph threw his arms around Benjamin and wept openly. Benjamin, too, was crying as he hugged his brother. With tears flowing freely, Joseph hugged and kissed all his brothers, and they finally loosened up and were able to talk with him.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




* Psalm 133

What a great thing it is, LORD,
........when people can get along with one another,
................and live together in unity and mutual respect.

It is even more satisfying than holding the cup aloft
........and dancing in the rain of champagne
................on Grand Final day.

It is even more desirable than sitting by an open fire
........sharing chocolates and fine wine with a loved one.

It is even more beautiful than the monsoon rains
........turning the desert into a sea of wildflowers.

For you LORD created us to be one people,
........committed to one another, honouring one another,
................sharing the land and its blessings forever.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




* Romans 11: 1-2a, 29-32

God’s chosen people, the people of Israel, have refused to let God put them on the right track through Christ. So the obvious question is, has God given up on them and written them off? The answer is No. No way! Look at me: I’m one of them; a descendant of Abraham, an Israelite born of the tribe of Benjamin. God went into this with eyes wide open and is not about to give up on these people now. When God has chosen a course of action, and commissioned and equipped the people involved, there is no going back. It is guaranteed and God will follow through on it, no matter what. In the past, it was you who were at odds with God, but when the people of Israel went off the rails, God reached out even wider in mercy, and so you were gathered in. But the widened reach of God’s mercy which gathered you in now ensures that there is a way for them to be gathered back in. It was God’s desire to show mercy to those who had gone off the rails, but the only way to do that without creating two classes of people was to ensure that everybody was implicated in the human race’s rebellion. Now we are all in the same boat and God can show mercy to us all.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




* Matthew 15: (10-20), 21-28

    Speaking to the crowd who had heard him arguing with the investigators from the devoutly religious Pharisee party, Jesus said, “Listen up and get this into your heads: it is not the foods that people put into their mouths that defile them. What really turns God’s stomach is the muck that comes out of their mouths.”
    Some of his closest followers tapped him on the shoulder at this point and said, “Do you realise that the Pharisees have got their noses out of joint over what they are hearing you say?”
     Jesus replied, “Don’t worry about them. All sorts of plants spring up in the garden, but anything that wasn’t planted by the One who planted me, is going to be ripped out by the roots. Leave them to stew. They are blind guides; as blind as the people they are trying to lead. And the blind leading the blind is a disaster waiting to happen.”
    Peter said to him, “Explain what you were getting at with your illustration of what defiles people.”
    “Haven’t even you got this sorted out in your head yet?” Jesus replied. “Can’t you see that even if a person eats something really disgusting, it just goes through their gut and ends up down the toilet? It doesn’t affect who they are. But the things that come out of people’s mouths reveal what they are really made of, and so it is these things that can defile them. It is in the depths of the human heart that you will find the roots of things like crooked dealings, murder, sexual conduct that betrays or trivialises others, theft, perjury and vilification. These are the things that God finds repulsive, not every little failure to religiously observe the social norms about personal hygiene and table etiquette.
    After that,
Jesus hit the road and headed across the border into the region of Tyre and Sidon. Soon after arriving, a local Canaanite woman began following him around, calling out, “Lord, you are the new King David! Have pity and help me out! My daughter is in the grip of some demon.”
    But Jesus just ignored her and kept walking. After a while, his followers who were with him started urging him to get rid of her, because her shouting was driving them nuts. Jesus spoke up and said, “I have only been sent to work with those who have gone off the rails among the Israelite people.”
    But the woman fell to her knees at his feet and said, “Lord, please help me.”
    He answered, “It is just not right to take food out of the mouths of the children and throw it to little dogs.”
    “Fair enough, Lord,” she replied, “but even dogs are not denied the scraps that fall off the family’s table.”
    “Point taken,” Jesus replied. “Woman, your faith has got real guts! What you have asked for is now done.”
    And sure enough, at that very moment, her daughter was healed completely.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



Alternative Hebrew Bible Lections themed to the Gospel Lection


* Isaiah 56: 1, 6-8

This is what the LORD has to say:

“I am about to put things right;
    any day now, I will be there to save the world.
So do the right thing;
    see that justice is done.

What will happen to the foreigners, you might ask;
    what of those who were not among the chosen few,
        but who nevertheless looked to me, the LORD, for refuge?

Look, they have devoted themselves to me;
    they love me and honour my name;
        they are happy to do whatever I ask of them.

They observe the Sabbath faithfully;
    they don’t make a mockery of it;
        they keep all the terms of the alliance with me.

And so I will give them free access to my sacred places;
    I will see that they enjoy the celebrations in my house of prayer.
They can worship me just like anyone else;
    I will welcome their gifts every bit as much as yours.
My house of worship will become known
    as the house of prayer for all the peoples of the world.

I, the Lord GOD, give you my word on this.
    Just as I welcomed home those who had been lost from Israel,
        so too I will welcome others from outside,
            and gather them together as one with you.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




* Psalm 67

Lord God, bless us generously;
........smile on us kindly;
show yourself to everyone, everywhere
........as the one who saves us with power.

Everyone has reasons to praise you, O God,
........absolutely everyone should be singing your praises.

The whole world should celebrate you with joyful song,
........for you are even-handed with all people
........and your guidance is there for every nation.

Everyone has reasons to praise you, O God,
........absolutely everyone should be singing your praises.

The land has produced a bumper harvest;
........a clear sign of your goodness to us, God.

Keep it up, God, keep it coming;
........the whole planet will honour you for it.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net