Year A
Proper 21
Sunday 27 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,
for you are at work among us,
conforming our will and our work to your sacred purposes.

In the first of your mighty wonders,
you divided the waters
and brought forth a newborn earth.
You rescued your people from slavery,
and though their faith dried up in the desert,
you split the rocks and quenched their thirst
with waters welling up from ancient depths.

Your child Jesus, though one with you,
was born as one of us and humbled himself,
passing through the ancient waters of baptism
and following the ways of righteousness
even to the point of death on a cross.
Therefore you raised him to life
and exalted him above every other power.
Now you embrace all who in action confess him as Lord,
baptising them in his name into the life of your Kingdom.

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,
having humbled himself even to the point of death on a cross,
was raised by you and exalted above every other power,
and now lives to bring life to your thirsty people
from the ancient wellspring of love and consolation.

©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 at work among us,
conforming our will and our work to your sacred purposes.

In the first of your mighty wonders,
you divided the waters
and brought forth a newborn earth.
You rescued your people from slavery,
and though their faith dried up in the desert,
you split the rocks and quenched their thirst
with waters welling up from ancient depths.

Your child Jesus, though one with you,
was born as one of us and humbled himself,
passing through the ancient waters of baptism
and following the ways of righteousness
even to the point of death on a cross.
Therefore you raised him to life
and exalted him above every other power.
Now you embrace all who in action confess him as Lord,
baptising them in his name into the life of your Kingdom.

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

Though Christ was one with God,
he humbled himself and become obedient
even to the point of death on a cross,
so that we might drink deeply from the well of grace
and know the mercy of God at work within us.

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

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net





Commission & Benediction

Go now to will and to work for God’s purposes.
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.
Be filled with the same love
and look to the interests of others.
With reverence for God, work out your salvation.

And may God quench your thirst with love and consolation;
May Christ Jesus strengthen you and encourage you;
And may the Holy Spirit lead you on and make your joy complete.

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 21 - Year A - Sunday 27 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 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 78: 1-4, 12-16

We are keen to learn of you, LORD;
........your people are eager to hear what you have to say.

We listen to those who pass on the old stories;
........the dark mysteries of ancient wisdom.
These are things we must hear and know,
........for the wisdom of our ancestors must not be lost.

We will not deprive our children of these things.
........We will pass on the stories to the next generation, LORD,
................stories of the wonderful things you have done,
........so that they know how great and amazing you are.

Our ancestors saw the miraculous things you did
........when they were still doing hard labour in the land of slavery.

You cut a track through the sea and let them escape;
........you made the angry waters stand aside to let them through.

You sent a cloud to guide them in the daytime,
........and a fire to light the way for them at night.

In the parched outback, you broke open rocks,
........bringing drinking water flooding up from deep below.
You made fresh water pour from the rock;
........a river of life flowing in the desert.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




* Philippians 2: 1-13

........If you have indeed experienced the encouragement of being united to Christ, and the support that genuine love offers, and the deep bonds of a shared life formed in the Spirit; if indeed you have any compassion and concern for me, then make my dreams come true: get your heads tuned to the one wavelength so that you will share a common love, a common dedication to the one cause, and a common mindset. Don’t let yourself be driven by self-centred ambitions or empty egotism, but keep your feet firmly on the ground and promote others ahead of yourself. To each one of you, I would say, don’t focus on doing what is in your own best interests, but on what is in the best interests of others. Model your attitude on the attitude of the Messiah, Jesus.

Although Jesus was the same as God in every way,
........he did not think of his God-like privileges
........as something to milked for all they were worth.

Instead, he laid it all aside
........and, with no more privileges than a slave,
........was born as a human being.

Having become a human being,
........he was the model of humility.
He didn’t demand his own way
........but let God set the agenda;
even when it included his own death,
........and a gruesome public death at that.

Because of all this,
........God has raised him to the status of number one
and honoured him more highly
........than anyone else in the universe.

So now, just the mention of the name ‘Jesus’
........should bring everyone to their knees;
........everyone who has ever lived or ever will.

Everyone, everywhere will honour God
........by openly acknowledging
........that Jesus the Messiah is Lord of all!
Therefore, my dear friends, there is work to do. You have always stuck to the agenda that was set for you, so keep it up, not only when I am around but even more when I am gone. Continue to work at living the life for which you are being saved, and do so with such an awareness of how high the stakes are, that it fills you with awe and makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. For this is awesome stuff: it is God who is at work within you, making it possible for you to set your mind on what God wants and to work for those things which are ultimately pleasing to God.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




* Matthew 21: 23-32

    While Jesus was teaching the people in the Jerusalem Temple, the chief priests and the political leaders came up and challenged him, saying, “What authority do you have for what you are doing, and who authorised you to do these things?”
    Jesus replied, “I’ve got a question for you too, and if you tell me the answer to mine, I’ll answer yours and tell you what authority I have for what I am doing. Where did John’s authority to baptise people come from? Was it from God, or did he just dream it up himself?”
    They thought for a moment, weighing up their options and saying to themselves, “If we tell him we think God was behind it, then he’ll want to know why we failed to get on board. But if we say that John just dreamed it up himself, we will be in trouble with the people, because the popular opinion says that John was a messenger from God.”
    So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.”
    And so Jesus said to them, “Well then, neither am I going to answer your question about what authority I have for what I am doing. Listen to this story though, and tell me what you think.
A man had two teenage sons. One day he said to one of them, ‘Son, the garden needs a bit of work. Would you give us a hand?’ The boy said, ‘No way!’ but later he had second thoughts and went and got stuck into it. Meanwhile, the father went to his other son with the same request. The boy answered, ‘Sure, Dad, I’ll get into it in a few minutes,’ but he never got around to it. Which of the two did what the father would have hoped for?”

    They replied, “The first one.”
    Jesus looked at them and said, “I kid you not; when it comes to becoming part of the culture of God, the prostitutes and the collaborators who sell out to the occupation forces are miles ahead of you lot. Why? Because John was on the right track when he came to you, and you didn’t believe him. But the people you had written off as moral garbage did. They took what he said seriously, and even though you saw the difference it made to them, your minds were set like concrete and you wouldn’t take any notice of him.”

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



Alternative Hebrew Bible Lections themed to the Gospel Lection


* Ezekiel 18: 1-4, 25-32

I received another message from the LORD:
    Why are you repeating the old saying, “The parents eat junk, and their kids’ teeth rot”? I am the Lord GOD and I swear I do not want to hear this saying from any of my people ever again. Get this into your heads: I have the power of life and death over everyone, both the parents and the children, and it is only the person responsible for the sin who will die for it.
    Yet I hear you whingeing, “The way the Lord treats us is not fair.” Well listen up, my people: is it my ways that are not fair? Isn’t the reality that it is your ways that are not fair? When people who have previously done the right thing turn their backs on what is right and start doing things that are corrupt, they are making a fatal mistake. They will die because of the corrupt things they have done. On the other hand, if corrupt people mend their ways and begin living by what I have taught and doing the right thing by others, they will save their lives. They have woken up to themselves, turning their backs on corruption and getting their lives back on track, and so they will no longer be under sentence of death. And yet I hear my people whingeing, “The way the Lord treats us is not fair.” Give me an answer, my people: is it my ways that are not fair? Isn’t the reality that it is your ways that are not fair?
    So, my people, I am telling you that I, the Lord GOD, will judge each of you on the basis of how you, yourself, live. Give up corrupt ways and get your lives back on track; otherwise corruption will be your downfall. Put behind you all the corrupt things you have done against my express instructions, and make a fresh start. Get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why go on trudging towards death, my people? I am the Lord GOD, and I am never happy to see anyone die, no matter who they are. So do an about face and live!
©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




* Psalm 25: 1-9

I gladly offer you everything I am, LORD.

I have put my trust in you, God;
........please don’t let me down;
........don’t give my enemies grounds to gloat.

Be there for those who hang in there for you, no matter what:
........don’t leave them with egg on their faces.
........Save that for the two-faced scabs who deserve it.

Let me in on your way of doing things, LORD;
........teach me how to follow your tracks.

Steer me along your ways of truth, and teach me all about them.
........Only you can save me from disaster, God,
........so I’ll wait for you before setting out.

Your love and mercy have been as timeless and dependable as the rock;
........please don’t change your mind about them now!

Don’t keep a record of everything I’ve done wrong in the past.
........Let your unshakable love colour your view of me,
........and keep your reputation for generosity intact!

You always do what is good and right, LORD,
........and so you patiently retrain those who do wrong.

You pilot a safe course for those who are not too full of themselves;
........you give lessons on your ways to the humble folk.

©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net