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Event Series Event Series: Proper 5 – Year A

Proper 5 – Year A

7 June 2026 All day

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.

The LORD spoke to Abram, and said:

“Get up and leave your country, your relatives and the family of your parents, and move to the land that I will show you. I will make things go well for you and see that your descendants become a great nation. I will see to it that you are remembered as one of the greats; as one whose life was a blessing to others. I will do good to those who do good to you, and I will pull the rug out from under anyone who pulls the rug out from under you. Life will be better for everyone on earth because of you.”

So, at the age of seventy five, Abram got up and left Haran, just as the LORD had told him to. He took with him his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, and all their labourers. They packed up all the possessions they had accumulated over the years in Haran, and set out for the land of Canaan.

When they arrived in the land of Canaan, Abram pushed on as far as Shechem, to the sacred site known as the tree of Moreh. The Canaanite people were living in the land at the time, but the LORD turned up and made a promise to Abram, saying, “I will give this land to your descendants.”

Abram built a monument to the LORD there, so that the place where the LORD had appeared to him might be a place for offering worship. After that, he set out again and headed into the hill country to the east of Bethel. He set up camp between Bethel and Ai, and there he built another monument to the LORD and called on the LORD in prayer. From there, Abram pushed south towards the Negeb Desert, making the journey one stage at a time.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

We celebrate all you are to us, LORD.
We are your people,
and it feels right to sing your praises.

We make music in your honour,
with guitars and fiddles and drums.

We write new songs dedicated to you, LORD,
singing and playing with all our skill and energy.

Every word you speak is honest and true,
and everything you do shows you to be trustworthy.

You have a passion for justice and integrity;
your love and loyalty flood the earth.

The universe was created on your say-so, LORD;
everything in it, you breathed into life.

Filling the oceans was like running a bath for you;
fathomless depths poured out like a bottle.

All the earth is in awe of you, LORD;
all of us fall to our knees in your presence.

When you spoke, LORD, the world appeared;
one word from you and it was fixed in place.

All our big ideas collapse when you speak, LORD;
our national strategies are reduced to rubbish.

But what you have to say, LORD, is rock-solid;
your thoughts and feelings are consistent through the centuries.

What more could a country want than to have you as their God?
To be your cherished people, LORD, is the best thing in life.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

When God promised Abraham that he and his descendants would inherit the earth, it was not because Abraham had earned it by following God’s instructions to the letter. Instead it was a gift given when God put things right for Abraham in response to the trust he had shown. If it were possible to earn the rights to the earth by rigid compliance with the law, then basic values like trust and promise would be irrelevant. It would all become just another legal contract to be negotiated. Tie it all up in fine print and it will only end up serving as evidence against you; but where the relationship is conducted on the basis of trust, no one goes on the lookout for very possible breach.

So instead of being a legal matter, the fulfilment of the promise is conditional only on people’s willingness to put their trust in God. It is simply an expression of God’s generosity, and that’s why it is guaranteed to always be available to everyone. Whether you were raised in a culture where observing the religious law was the norm, or whether you have simply stepped out and put your trust in God like Abraham did, the promise is open to you. After all, both groups can rightly trace their line back to Abraham, and the scriptures say that God promised to make him the father of many nations.

When it looked like Abraham wouldn’t ever become the father of anyone, he trusted his future into the hands of God, believing that the God who can bring life out of death could create something out of nothing. He hung onto his hope even when it seemed utterly hopeless. He kept on believing that he would have many descendants because he was sure that God had promised him that. Even the cold hard biological facts didn’t cause him to throw in the towel. He knew that his hundred year old body was past it, and that Sarah was an old woman who hadn’t even been fertile when she was young. Yet he didn’t allow even such obvious obstacles to break down his trust and make him cynical about God’s promise. Instead his faith actually grew stronger as he went right on crowing about the greatness of God. He remained dead-set certain that God was more than capable of making good on the promise. That is why God counted his trust as the equivalent of a perfect life. Now when the scriptures say “it was counted as the equivalent of a perfect life”, it is not speaking of a special arrangement for Abraham alone. No, it refers to all of us. We will all be accepted on that same basis if we too put our trust in the One who raised Jesus our Lord to new life from the dead. Jesus was put to death even though it was us who had done the wrong thing; but he was raised to new life so that we could be put right with God.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Jesus was heading down the street when he saw a man named Matthew sitting in his office, where he worked collecting taxes for the Roman occupation forces. Jesus said to him, “Come and join me,” and Matthew got up and began following him.

That evening, Jesus and his followers were out to dinner with a group that included many disreputable characters whose lifestyles were considered offensive by the more respectable members of society. Some members of the Pharisee party saw who he was with and confronted his closest followers over it, saying, “What does he think he’s doing, sharing meals with people whose behaviour is beyond the pale?”

When Jesus heard this, he replied, “Who needs the help of a doctor: the fit and healthy, or the sick? Go and work out what the scripture means when it says, ‘What I want is mercy, not a blood-spilling quest for purity.’ I didn’t come to spend my time preaching to the converted, but to call back those who are off the track.”

A respected community leader came in and fell on his knees at Jesus’s feet, saying, “My precious daughter has just died, but come and lay your hands on her and she will live.”

So Jesus and his followers got up and went with him. As he went, a woman came up behind him and touched the edge of his coat. She had been suffering from prolonged bleeding, and for the previous twelve years her condition had meant that everyone treated her as defiled and contagious. She was thinking to herself, “Surely even touching this man’s clothes will be enough to make me well.”

Jesus looked around and saw her and said, “Good on you, daughter. You took a risk of faith and it has paid off for you. Welcome back to the world of the healthy!”

Sure enough, at that moment she became completely healthy.

  When Jesus arrived at the home of the community leader and saw all the chaos of mourners and funeral directors and people bearing condolences and casseroles, he said, “Everybody out! The girl is not dead. She’s only asleep.”

But they rubbished him. They knew she was dead. Unperturbed, Jesus took charge of the situation and kicked them all outside. He went in and clasped the girl’s hand tenderly and up she got. The news of this spread through the district like wildfire.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Prior to the revision of the Lectionary in 1992, the 1st reading and the psalm that responded to it were chosen to link thematically with the gospel reading. After hearing the critique of those who said that the Hebrew Scriptures, from which the first reading is usually chosen, should be allowed to speak with their own voice rather than just add support to the gospel reading, the Lectionary was revised so that during Ordinary Time, the 1st reading runs in its own semi-continuous series, working through various books of the Hebrew Bible. The older themed series continues to be available as an alternative.

The weekly prayers offered here at LaughingBird Resources are based on the four readings above, and do not draw on the themed 1st reading and psalm.

I, the LORD, am going to pack up and go home.
I will have nothing more to do with my people
until they wake up to themselves and come clean,
until they are ready to turn to me again.

As soon as things fall apart for them,
they will come running to me in tears, saying:

“Please take us back, LORD.
You were right to knock us flat, and tear us apart;
but come now and bind our wounds.

Teach us a lesson by grounding us for a couple of days,
but then give us a fresh start.
On the third day, put us back on our feet
so we can live in your presence.

We want to stick with you and learn your ways, LORD.
We know we can rely on you, as sure as day follows night.
You are like welcome rain to our parched spirits;
soaking in and bringing new life to flower.”

What am I to do with you, my people?
What am I to do with you, my chosen ones?
Your love is as fickle as the morning mist;
as lasting as a puddle in the blazing sun.

That is why I have unleashed my prophets against you
and cut you down to size with my fierce words.
That is why I have turned the spotlight on you
to make it clear what I think of you.

It is not gifts and offering that I want from you,
but a love that lasts.
It is not dutiful religious behaviour that I’m looking for,
but people who know and care what I am on about.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

We belong to you, LORD, and you call us to listen.
You set out the case against us, your chosen people.
You are God; our God.

It is not our sacrifices you condemn;
the gifts we are constantly offering.

But when they mean nothing to us, they mean nothing to you.
You don’t want any more thoughtless gifts.

You don’t depend on us for supplies.
From farm to forest, every creature is yours.

The birds of the air, the fish of the sea,
every beast in every paddock belongs to you.

You have no need of our help if you get hungry;
the best fruits of all the earth are yours for the picking.

Only a fool would think you eat our burnt beef!
Or that you literally drink the blood of sheep!

You welcome our gifts if they are really offered in gratitude;
if we back them up by keeping our promises.

When trouble breaks out, we only have to call you;
You’ll be there to bail us out,
and we’ll put you name up in lights!”

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net


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 give life to the dead
and fill the world with love.

The heavens and earth came into existence when you spoke;
all things appeared at your command.
You called a people to be your own,
making them strong in faith as they gave glory to you,
and blessing the whole earth through them.

You sent your child, Jesus,
to teach us the ways of mercy
and to call sinners to leave their past behind
and follow you.
When he was handed over to death,
you raised him to new life and,
taking us by the hand, raised us with him.
When we put our faith in you,
you were true to your promise of grace
and declared us to be in the right with you,
healing us of all that would drain us of life.

Therefore with .....

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

We give you thanks for your Son, Jesus,
who calls us to leave our past behind and follow you,
taking us by the hand to raise us up
and heal us of all that would drain us of life.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

(Preface reformatted for use apart from communion)

We give you all thanks and praise, O God,
for you give life to the dead
and fill the world with love.

The heavens and earth came into existence when you spoke;
all things appeared at your command.
You called a people to be your own,
making them strong in faith as they gave glory to you,
and blessing the whole earth through them.

You sent your child, Jesus,
to teach us the ways of mercy
and to call sinners to leave their past behind
and follow you.
When he was handed over to death,
you raised him to new life and,
taking us by the hand, raised us with him.
When we put our faith in you,
you were true to your promise of grace
and declared us to be in the right with you,
healing us of all that would drain us of life.

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.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Jesus came to restore sinners to God.
When he was handed over to death he took our sins
and was raised so that we might be put right with God.

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

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Go now, at the call of God
and follow wherever the Lord leads you.
Love truth and justice,
and share the healing mercy of God with all.

And may God bless you and make you a blessing to others;
May Christ Jesus take you by the hand and lift you to life;
And may the Holy Spirit nourish you in hope
so that you will grow strong in faith.

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

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net


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

  1. Feeling Useless?
    A sermon on Genesis 12:1-9 & Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26 by Nathan Nettleton
  2. The Blessing of Faith
    A sermon on Genesis 12:1-9 & Romans 4:13-25 by Garry Deverell
  3. You’re Not That Dead!
    A sermon on Matthew 9, Romans 4 & Genesis 12 by Nathan Nettleton
  4. Leaving Quarantine with Jesus
    A sermon on Matthew 9:9-13 by Nathan Nettleton