Year A
Proper 19
Sunday 13 September 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,
with every knee bowed
and every tongue giving you praise,
for in you is extravagant mercy
and salvation from all that would destroy us.

In the first of your mighty wonders, you created the earth,
dividing the watery chaos and bringing forth dry land.
In the days of Moses you divided the sea again
and delivered your people from their oppressors,
leading them by fire and cloud to the land of freedom.

In your child, Jesus the Christ,
your reign of love and mercy has embraced all who live
and even in our weaknesses you uphold us.
He was killed but lived again
so that he might be Lord of both the living and the dead.
Now whether we live or die we belong to you
and in gratitude we share your love and mercy with all.

Therefore with .....

©2002 Nathan Nettleton www.laughingbird.net




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

We give you thanks for your child, Jesus,
who died but lived again,
opening a way of escape for us through the waters of death.
Now whether we live or die we belong to you
and in gratitude we share your love and mercy with all.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton www.laughingbird.net





General Prayer of Thanksgiving
(Preface reformatted for use apart from communion)

We give you all thanks and praise, O God,
with every knee bowed
and every tongue giving you praise,
for in you is extravagant mercy
and salvation from all that would destroy us.

In the first of your mighty wonders, you created the earth,
dividing the watery chaos and bringing forth dry land.
In the days of Moses you divided the sea again
and delivered your people from their oppressors,
leading them by fire and cloud to the land of freedom.

In your child, Jesus the Christ,
your reign of love and mercy has embraced all who live
and even in our weaknesses you uphold us.
He was killed but lived again
so that he might be Lord of both the living and the dead.
Now whether we live or die we belong to you
and in gratitude we share your love and mercy with all.

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 www.laughingbird.net





Declaration of Grace / Absolution

The God who calls us to be a merciful people
is overwhelmingly merciful to us.
God knows our weaknesses
and lifts us when we fall.

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

©2002 Nathan Nettleton www.laughingbird.net





Commission & Benediction

Go now into the world and live for Christ.
Whatever you do, do it in honour of the Lord
giving thanks to God.
Show forgiveness to one another
as in Christ you have received forgiveness.

And may God provide an escape from all that threatens you;
May Christ Jesus shower mercy on you and through you;
And may the Holy Spirit uphold you as you stand in Christ.

We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
    In the name of Christ. Amen.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton www.laughingbird.net







Paraphrases of the Scripture Lections
for Proper 19 - Year A - Sunday 13 September 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.



* Exodus 14: 19-31

    When the Israelite people were caught between the Red Sea and the pursuing Egyptian army, the angel of God who had been in front of the Israelites moved around and took up a new position, covering them from the rear. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front of them and settled in a position behind them, making it impossible for the Egyptians and the Israelites to see each other. The cloud shrouded the Egyptian camp in darkness and lit up the night over the Israelite camp, and the night passed without any contact between the two camps.
    Then Moses stretched out his hand towards the sea, and, with a violent wind that blew all night, the LORD forced back the sea, carving out a track of dry ground right through the middle of the water. The Israelites trooped into the sea on the dry track with the angry waters towering over them on either side. The Egyptian soldiers gave chase, charging into the middle of the sea aboard their horses and armoured vehicles. Just before dawn, the LORD looked down on the Egyptian army from the pillar of fire and cloud, and began to wreak havoc among them, bogging their vehicles and leaving them stuck in the middle. In panic, the soldiers began shouting, “Run for your lives! Get away from these Israelites because the LORD is on their side fighting against us!”
    Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand towards the sea again so that the water will surge back over the Egyptian army and all their soldiers and armoured vehicles.”
    So Moses stretched out his hand towards the sea, and as the dawn broke, the sea came crashing back down on top of the fleeing army. The LORD trapped the soldiers in the middle of the sea, and when the waters had closed over and returned to normal, there wasn’t a soldier or a vehicle left. The Israelites had walked through the sea on a dry track with the angry waters towering over them on either side, but the entire army of the King of Egypt had been swallowed up by the sea while pursuing them.
    So that day the LORD rescued the people of Israel from their oppressors, and the people saw all the dead soldiers washed up on the shore. When they saw the power of the LORD’s action against their oppressors, the people were in awe of the LORD and put their trust in the LORD and in Moses who was working for the LORD.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton www.laughingbird.net



* Psalm 114

When we were led out of the land of slavery
........- the people of Israel, coming out from under the foreign thumb -
the land of Judah became a sacred place,
........the land of Israel came under sovereign rule.

The wild sea took one look, and turned tail and ran,
........the Jordan river backed off and headed the other way.
The mountains skipped like a rock wallaby;
........the hills were as jumpy as a kelpie pup.

What was it that made the wild sea turn tail?
........What was it that made the Jordan back off?
What made the mountains quiver and jump?
........What made the hills shudder and shake?

It was awe of you, LORD, God of our ancestors.
........The whole earth trembles in your presence.
For you are the one who melts rocks into pools of water;
........the one who brings springs bubbling up from hard baked ground.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton www.laughingbird.net

OR


* Exodus 15: 1b-11, 20-21 (alternative Psalm)

The prophet Miriam, who was Aaron’s sister, led the women in a dance of celebration, playing tambourines and singing:

Our song is for you, LORD,
    for you have won a glorious victory!
        You have tossed the soldiers and warhorses into the sea!

We would be nothing without you, LORD,
    but with you, we are strong.
You are our God, and we sing your praises;
    the God of our ancestors,
        and we applaud you long and loud.

You are the greatest hero, LORD;
    LORD by name, LORD by reputation.

You swept the tyrant’s armoured vehicles and soldiers into the sea;
    all his top brass disappeared beneath the waves.

The surging waters closed over them,
    and they sank like a stone into the murky depths.

With your bare hands, LORD,
    you put on an awesome display of power;
        you rolled up your sleeves and decimated the enemy.

With the full force of your majestic power,
    you defeated your opponents;
they ignited your anger
    and were gone like dry grass in a bushfire.

The fearsome blast of your fury cut a swathe through the waters;
    the surging depths were heaped up on each side;
        the wild ocean set like jelly, all the way down.

The tyrants said, “We’ll give chase, we can catch them.
    All that they have will be ours, all we could ever want.
        We will turn our weapons on them and wipe them out.”

You sent your wind howling after them and closed the sea over them;
    they sank like a stone and were never seen again.

You are in a league of your own, LORD;
    Nothing else is worthy of our devotion.
Nothing can compete with you for awesome grandeur;
    Nothing else can match your record
        for getting the job done against the odds.

Our song is for you, LORD,
    for you have won a glorious victory!
        You have tossed the soldiers and warhorses into the sea!

©2002 Nathan Nettleton www.laughingbird.net



* Romans 14: 1-12

........Don’t put anyone down for being timid in their faith. Welcome them into the congregation, and don’t give them a hard time for being hung up about things that cause you no concern. Some people believe that it is okay to eat anything, while those who are more timid would rather eat only vegetables than risk eating meat that might not be kosher. Those who eat with confidence must not make fun of those who play it safe; and those who play it safe must not pass judgment on those who eat. The fact is that God has extended a welcome to both. What gives you the right to criticise the workers in someone else’s employ? They don’t rise or fall on your say so. It will be sorted out between them and their Lord directly, not through you; and they will get the thumbs up, because the Lord is quite capable of getting them to stand where they should without your help.
........Some people are of the opinion that certain days should be treated as special and sacred, while others reckon that no day is any more important than any other. There are good arguments either way, so let everyone faithfully practice what they believe to be right. Those who observe a particular day as special are celebrating it in honour of the Lord. Those who eat meat without asking questions are eating in honour of the Lord, and you can see this in the way they thank God for the food. Likewise, those who abstain from eating certain things are doing so in honour of the Lord, for they too give thanks to God.
........You see, we are not our own bosses; we do not have the final say on how we are to live or die. We dance to the Lord’s tune in our lives, and we will dance to the Lord’s tune when we die. We belong to the Lord for the entire journey. The Messiah made this possible by dying and returning to life again. Having been through it all, he is now able to call the shots among everyone in life and in death.
........So, you there! Why would you write off another brother or sister as too lax? Or you: why would you look down your nose at another sister or brother for their lack of confidence? Everyone of us will have our day in court, and it will be God who brings down the verdict on what we have done. As the scriptures say:

“Every knee will bow to the Lord who lives,
........and every tongue will sing the praises of God.”
So, at the end of the day, each and every one of us is accountable to God for the way we live our lives and the way we treat one another.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton www.laughingbird.net



* Matthew 18: 21-35

    While Jesus was teaching his followers, Peter raised a question: “Lord, how many times should I forgive someone in the congregation who does the wrong thing by me? Is seven times enough second chances, or should I draw the line before that?”
    Jesus replied, “Try seventy times seven and then some! Take it from me; you should still be forgiving when you can’t count any more!”

He went on to say:
    “That’s why this story is a good illustration of the culture of heaven. A corporate boss wanted to end his investment in a small single-operator subsidiary. He called up the operator and demanded repayment of almost one billion dollars. The operator was unable to pay, and unable to adequately account for the money, so the corporate boss ordered the repossession of the operator’s house and all his belongings, casting him and his family into the street, and began proceedings to have him arrested for fraud. But the operator fell to his knees and begged for mercy, saying, ‘Just give me a little more time and I will pay you the full billion.’
    And in a sudden fit of compassion, the corporate boss let him go and wrote off the entire debt. But later the same day, the operator called in one of his own contractors who owed him just five grand. He grabbed him by the lapels, pinned him to the wall, and said, ‘Cough up, now!’
    The contractor fell to his knees and pleaded with him, saying, ‘Just give me a little more time and I will pay you every cent.’
    But the operator would have none of it, and repossessed his house and all his belongings and had him and his family thrown out into the street. When some of his fellow contractors saw what had happened, they were absolutely gutted, and went to the big boss and blew the whistle on the operator. The boss called the operator back in and tore strips off him. ‘You scumbag! I wrote off your entire debt out of the goodness of my heart. Don’t you think you could have gone easy on your contractor the same as I went easy on you? At the very least you could have given him more time.’
    And in anger the boss called in some of the boys and had the operator beaten to a pulp, and then had the claim for the billion dollars served on him again.
    And you can take it from me, that if you are not generous in your forgiveness of one another, you can expect the same kind of response from the One we answer to in heaven.”

©2002 Nathan Nettleton www.laughingbird.net


Alternative Hebrew Bible Lections themed to the Gospel Lection


* Genesis 50: 15-21

    After Jacob’s funeral, Joseph’s brothers began to worry that Joseph might still be carrying a grudge against them for selling him into slavery and faking his death all those years before. They were afraid that he might have just been waiting until their father was dead before taking his revenge. So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Shortly before he died, your father put a message in his will for you, saying, ‘To my son, Joseph, I beg you to forgive your brothers for their horrendous crime against you and for all the hurt they caused you.’ So please forgive us for our crime against you. We too are in the service of the God of your father.”
    Joseph broke down in tears when he got the message. His brothers came and fell to their knees before him, saying, “We are here at your mercy to do whatever you demand of us.”
    But Joseph spoke to them kindly and bent over backwards to reassure them, saying, “Relax! You’ve got nothing to fear from me. I’m not setting myself up as God, so get up off your knees! I know you meant the worst for me then, but God was at work to make the most of what you did. To this day,  God is working through what you did to keep the growing multitude of God’s people safe. So don’t worry. I will personally set you up for life, you and your families.”

©2002 Nathan Nettleton www.laughingbird.net



* Psalm 103: (1-7), 8-13

With all our hearts, we praise you, LORD,
........from the depths of our being
................we name you as our one and only.

With all that we are we sings your praises,
LORD;
........how could we ever forget all you have done for us?

When we do wrong, you forgive us;
........when we are sick, you make us well;
................when our lives fall apart, you put us back together.

With love and mercy, you treat us like royalty;
........you shower us with good things all our lives;
................you makes us feel as young and free as an eagle.

You are there for those who are victimised,
LORD;
........you clear their names and bring them justice.

Through Moses, you let us know what you are on about;
........through Israel, you let us see what you can do.

Your mercy and generosity are extravagant, LORD;
........your patience and love are as solid as rock.

When we do things that anger you,
........you don’t keep dredging them up forever.

You never deal with us as harshly as we deserve;
........despite the wrong we have done, you let us off lightly.

We could no more climb to the moon on a step ladder
........than measure the limits of the love and loyalty
................you show to those who respect you.
We could no more swim the ocean from pole to pole
........than cover the distance you put between us and our sins.

Your care and concern for those who honour you
........is as tender as that of parents for their children.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton www.laughingbird.net