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Event Series Event Series: 6th Sunday of Pascha – Year A

6th Sunday of Pascha – Year A

14 May

Below you will find the Bible readings set for this occasion in the Revised Common Lectionary, with our Australian idiomatic paraphrases of them, plus prayers and sermons based on them.

Bible Readings (paraphrased)

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.

Paul was invited to present his views to the most respected assembly of civil and religious leaders in the city of Athens. He stood before them and said:

“Good people of Athens, it is clear to me that you are a people who take religion seriously. Everywhere I look in your city, I see places and objects intended for worship. I even came across an altar with a sign that said it was dedicated to ‘an unknown god.’ This God who you already worship but do not know is, in fact, the God I am here to make known to you. This is the God who made the world and everything in it. This is the one who is Lord of heaven and earth. No house built by human hands could ever hold this God. No act of service offered by human beings could ever provide anything which God would otherwise be left in need of. No, it is we mortal creatures who depend on what God provides, for our life, our breathe, and all we need are given by God. This God made the whole human race from scratch – every people and nation on the face of the earth – and set the basic limits on what is possible and impossible for them. All of this inspires us to search for God, which is exactly what God intended. At times we may feel like we are groping blindly in the dark, but God wants to be found by us and is never beyond the reach of anyone. One of your local poets summed it up well:

‘Our lives are lived in God,
everything we do and everything we are;
for we are the fruit of God’s womb.’

So if we have been brought to birth by God, then we should never fall for the idea that we humans can shape God in some image that appeals to us. Even the most exquisite creations of gold, silver and precious stone, crafted with great skill and imagination by the best artists, are nothing but meaningless lumps of rock in comparison to God. Fortunately, God has not taken offence over such unworthy representations when their creators didn’t know any better. But such excuses are a thing of the past. We now know who God is. We are now aware that God wants everyone everywhere to turn their lives around. And we now know that God has appointed the judge and set the date for the world to be put right. You can stake your life on this, because God has given a spectacular guarantee, by raising the appointed judge from the dead.”

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

If only everyone would honour you, God,
and fill the world with the sound of your praises.
You are the one who sustains our life
and keeps our feet on the right track.

You, God, have examined us carefully;
tested us to see what we were made of.
You drove us to our limits
and weighed us down with burdens;
you let us be run into the ground;
you took us through the fires of hell
and the depths of despair
but then finally into a wide and generous land.

So now we come to the place of worship
to fulfil our promises and offer our gifts.
All that we vowed to do if you got us out of trouble
we will now make good on with grateful hearts.

We will offer you whatever you ask;
the best of all we have and all we are;
all you have given us, we offer back to you.

We will tell everyone who honours and respects you
what you have done for us, God.

We cried out loud to you
and acknowledged your goodness.

If we had hung onto evil ideas,
you would have turned you back on us,
but you really have listened to us, God,
and taken note of all we have asked.

We honour you and praise you, God,
because you did not turn a deaf ear
or withhold your rock-solid love from us.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

It is unlikely that anyone will be out to get you because of your enthusiasm for doing what is good. But even if some do set out to make you suffer for doing the right thing, you are still on a winner. Don’t be afraid of them, and don’t let them get you down. Stand your ground, and give your allegiance and obedience to Christ before all others. Be ready to explain yourself to everybody who questions why you live with such confidence. Don’t be pushy or aggressive, but never hesitate to give them a quiet and respectful answer. Keep your nose clean so that if things turn nasty, and somebody starts misrepresenting your commitment to doing what is right as followers of Christ, your record will speak for itself. If you have made sure that the mud won’t stick to you, those who throw it will end up wearing it themselves. There is no shame in suffering if it is a consequence of doing the good that God asks of you, but if you suffer because you are involved in corruption, you have got only yourselves to blame. After all:

The Messiah copped the consequences of human corruption
and suffered them all in one hit.
He who had done only what is right
suffered for those who had done wrong
in order to bring you home to God.
He was killed by human hands
but made alive by the Spirit.

In the spirit, he went and preached freedom to those who refused God’s way in past generations and whose spirits have remained in prison ever since. In their own day, God had given them every chance. While Noah was building his boat, for example, there was plenty of time for people to realise why and change their ways, but in the end a mere eight people were saved from the waters by getting into that lifeboat. Their experience was a bit of a preview of the way baptism saves you. It is not just a bath to clean up your appearance. Rather, you are pulled from the water to a new life so that you can stand before God with a clear conscience. You are raised from death to life with Jesus the Messiah, who has since taken his place in heaven as God’s right hand man, and he has the last word on everything and everyone. There is no authority or power, human or angel, that can overrule him.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Jesus said to his disciples, “If you love me, it will show in the way you live out what I’ve told you to do. I will have a word with the Father and arrange for another defence counsel to be permanently assigned to you. Your new defence counsel will be the Spirit of Truth. The rest of the world will not accept the Spirit because they never accept what they can’t see or comprehend. You already know the Spirit though, because the Spirit is with you and will be at work inside you.

"I’m not going to leave you to fend for yourselves like abandoned children; I’ll be there for you. Soon the rest of the world will think I’m gone — out of sight, out of mind — but you’ll still be seeing me. I am really living, and because of that you’ll be really living too. When that day comes you’ll be left in no doubt that I am one with my Father, and that you are one with me and I am one with you. Those who take seriously what I’ve said and live it out are the ones who truly love me. My Father will love all those who truly love me. I’ll love them too, and bare my soul to them.”

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Prayers

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,
and to bring our gifts into your house
in gratitude for the constant love you have pledged to us.

The world and everything in it was made by you.
Life and breath are your gifts to all mortal things,
and in you we live and move and have our being.
Everywhere and always you have been within our reach
and have inspired us to search for you.

In Jesus the Christ you have shown yourself to us,
the unknowable revealed in the known.
He was rejected and put to death in the flesh,
but you raised him from the dead
and gave him life in the Spirit.
Through his resurrection,
you have raised us from the saving waters,
and now your blessing abides with us
even in suffering
and your Spirit assures us of your coming justice.

Therefore with .....

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

We give you thanks for your resurrection power
which raised Christ from the dead, giving him life in the Spirit,
and which raises us from the saving waters of baptism
assuring us that even in suffering your blessing abides with us.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

(Preface reformatted for use apart from communion)

We give you all thanks and praise, O God,
and bring our gifts into your house
in gratitude for the constant love you have pledged to us.

The world and everything in it was made by you.
Life and breath are your gifts to all mortal things,
and in you we live and move and have our being.
Everywhere and always you have been within our reach
and have inspired us to search for you.

In Jesus the Christ you have shown yourself to us,
the unknowable revealed in the known.
He was rejected and put to death in the flesh,
but you raised him from the dead
and gave him life in the Spirit.
Through his resurrection,
you have raised us from the saving waters,
and now your blessing abides with us
even in suffering
and your Spirit assures us of your coming justice.

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

Christ suffered for sins once for all,
the righteous for the unrighteous,
in order to bring you to God.

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

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Go now into the world.
Search for the God who is not far from each one of us.
Offer to all who ask an account of the hope that is in you.
Keep your conscience clear
as you live the commandments in love.

And may God greet your prayers with constant love;
May Christ Jesus give you life through his own life;
And may the Spirit of truth abide with you and within you, always.

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

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Sermons

Sermons will open in new tabs from our SYCBaps church website.

  1. The Harrowing of Hell
    A sermon on 1 Peter 3: 13-22 by Nathan Nettleton
  2. Christ, the unknown God
    A sermon on 1 Peter 3: 13-22 & Acts 17: 22-31 by Nathan Nettleton
  3. Gentleness, Reverence, and Proselytising
    A sermon on 1 Peter 3: 13-22; Acts 17: 22-31 & John 14: 15-21 by Nathan Nettleton
  4. Giving up goodness for Jesus
    A sermon on 1 Peter 3: 13-22 & John 14: 15-21 by Nathan Nettleton
  5. On a threshold, but not alone
    A sermon on on John 14:15-21 by Cas Wepener

Details

Date:
14 May
Series: