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Event Series Event Series: Proper 23 – Year A

Proper 23 – Year A

11 October 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.

Moses was on the mountain with the LORD for such a long time that the people gave up on him. They turned to Aaron and said, “It’s up to you now. Give us a god who we can follow on our journey from here on. Moses led us out of the land where we had been slaves, but now he is missing, presumed dead.”

Aaron said to the people, “Collect up all the gold jewellery that you and your families possess, and bring it all to me.”

So the people took up a collection of all the gold jewellery that they had been wearing, and brought it all to Aaron. He took all the gold, melted it down, and recast it in the shape of a calf. When the gold calf was put on display for the people, they began to shout, “Here is our god, the god who brought our nation out of the land of slavery!”

When Aaron saw how popular it was, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow we will hold a festival in honour of the LORD.”

The festivities started early the next morning. The people sacrificed the traditional burnt offerings on the altar and offered the customary gifts to celebrate good times. Then they ate and drank and partied hard, really letting their hair down.

The LORD said to Moses:

“Get back down there on the double! That mob of yours, who you brought out of the land of slavery, have gone completely off the rails. In the blink of an eye, they have turned their backs on the path I set them on. They have cast an idol in the shape of a calf, and they are worshipping it and giving offerings to it as expressions of their devotion. They are saying that it is the god who brought the nation out of the land of slavery. I have had a gutful of this people. They are always kicking against the traces. Now stand aside and let me give full vent to my blazing anger and blast them off the face of the earth. I’ll start again with you and build a great nation from your offspring.”

But Moses pleaded with the LORD his God, saying:

“LORD, why are you letting your anger at your people burn out of control? You proved yourself to be the strongest and the greatest when you brought these people out of the land of slavery. Are you now going to turn around and give our enemies grounds to accuse you of planning genocide from the start? They will allege that you only took the people into the outback to slaughter them. Swallow your anger! Rethink this, and don’t stamp out your people. Follow through on the promises you made to your trusty servants, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. You gave them your word, your personal guarantee. You said, ‘I will multiply your descendants until they outnumber the stars in the sky, and they will inherit the land I promised to give to your family forever.’”

And so the LORD was persuaded to rethink the situation and to abandon the plan to wipe out the people with a disaster.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

We sing your praises, LORD!
We overwhelmed with gratitude for all your goodness;
your love and loyalty go on forever.

Words cannot describe all the amazing things you have done;
we can’t praise you highly enough, LORD.

Those who stick to the ways of justice are on a winner;
those who always do the right thing will have plenty to smile about.

Count me in, LORD, when you hand out the perks to your people;
don’t overlook me when you come to bail them out.
I want to be there to see your chosen people come into their own;
I want to join in their celebrations
and bask in the glory of the future you have set up.

We have done the wrong thing by you,
just as our ancestors did before us;
we have acted corruptly;
we have done what is evil.

Our forebears made an idol in the shape of a calf;
they worshipped the work of their own hands.

They switched from basking in your glory
to making fools of themselves over a toy cow!

They forgot that you were the God who saved them,
who took powerful action to free them from slavery;
who did amazing things in the land where they were oppressed
and awesome acts of power to get them through the Red Sea.

You were justifiably angry, LORD;
you were planning to wipe them out,
and you would have gone through with the plan
if it had not been for Moses, your chosen leader.
He stood up to you and held you back;
he calmed your anger and talked you out of destroying them.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

My brothers and sisters in Philippi, I love you dearly and long to see you. You are my pride and joy. I urge you to keep your feet planted firmly in the Lord’s way.

I have a special message for two of you, Euodia and Syntyche. You both belong to the Lord, so for God’s sake get your heads together and iron out your differences.

And a message to you, my loyal colleague (you know who you are!). Please do what you can to help these two women sort things out between them while you’re there. In the past they have put in some solid sweat and tears with me getting the Word out, and with Clement and the rest of the team. God has got all their names in the book of life.

Celebrate the Lord non-stop. I repeat - celebrate! Let your hair down! See that you get a reputation for gentleness - pushiness only gets up everyone’s nose and we can’t afford that when the Lord is so close.

Don’t go getting anxious about anything, but pray about everything. Worrying never fixed anything, so take action: repackage your concerns as prayers. Spell out what it is you want to God, giving thanks in advance, and get it off your chest. You’ll find it is such a relief! The peace of God, which no one can ever make sense of, will move in and take over. The fears and anxieties will be pushed aside and your troubled hearts and minds will take refuge in Christ Jesus to relax and recover.

One final thing, my dear friends, give your hearts and minds some healthy stuff to chew on. Authentic stuff, principled stuff, uncontaminated stuff. Things that are worthwhile, fulfilling, and straight as a die. Things of integrity that make for a fair go for all. These are the kind of things you should fill your minds with - quality stuff instead of shoddiness. Meditate on these things and you can’t go wrong. Keep yourselves on track, putting into practice what you picked up from me, from my teaching and from the example I set. Rest assured, the God of peace will be right there with you.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

While speaking with the chief priests and the political leaders in the Jerusalem Temple, Jesus used another story to illustrate his point, saying, “Here is a good illustration of the culture of heaven. The son of a powerful king was getting married, and the king had invited many guests to the wedding feast. When the day came, he sent his chauffeurs to collect the guests, but they wouldn’t come. The king sent a second lot of chauffeurs with instructions to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come. The dinner is ready to serve. No expense has been spared and the table is laden with good things. The finest meats have been cooked to perfection. Come and feast with us!’

But the invited guests thumbed their noses at the invitation and went on their way. Some headed off to their farms, others opened their offices for business, while others attacked the chauffeurs, roughing them up and killing them. The king blew his stack. He sent the army after those murdering thugs to wipe them off the face of the earth and reduce their city to scorched earth. Then he said to his chauffeurs, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those who I first invited did not deserve to be on the guest list. So go out onto the streets and invite everyone you find to the wedding feast.’

The chauffeurs went out onto the streets and gathered up everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and brought them in until every seat in the reception hall was filled.

But when the king arrived on the scene to greet the guests, he discovered one man among them who had failed to put on the required wedding attire. The king said to him, ‘Mister, how did you get in here without getting dressed appropriately?’

There was nothing but a terrifying silence until the king called the security guards and said, ‘Chain him up, hand and foot, and throw him into the deepest, darkest dungeon where everyone will be cursing themselves and tearing their hair out.’

“And so,” Jesus concluded, “many are invited to stand up and be counted, but few make the grade.”

©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.

LORD, you are my God;
I will put your name up in lights and sing your praises,
because you have followed through on the fantastic things
that you planned and promised so long ago.

You have reduced the evil city to rubble;
the stronghold of corruption lies in ruins;
the foreign oppressors are now homeless,
and their city will never be rebuilt.

Now even the most powerful nation will honour you;
ruthless tyrants will fall to their knees in your presence.

You have proved yourself to be a safe refuge for those in need;
a welcome haven for the poor and suffering;
a shelter from the cold rain, and a shade from the heat.

When the attacks of ruthless thugs
were as cold and vicious as icy rain;
when the arrogance of the occupying troops
sucked the life out of us like the desert heat;
you were a protection from the elements,
and you put an end to their arrogant slogans.

Every people on earth will be invited to the sacred mountain
for the huge party thrown by the LORD who rules over everything.
It will be the feast to end all feasts,
with the very finest of foods and wines:
choice meats, wines aged to perfection,
gourmet delicacies to make every mouth water!

And right here on this sacred mountain
the LORD will tear off the pall of death
and release the nations from the coffin that held them.
The LORD will swallow up death once and for all.

With that, the Lord GOD will wipe the tears from every eye,
and God’s people will no longer be humiliated and despised;
The LORD says so and that settles it.

When that happens people will say,
Wow! This is our God!
We hoped, we waited, we trusted God to save us.
And our waiting has not been in vain.
The LORD has not let us down.
Celebrate! Sing and dance,
for God has come to our rescue and set us free.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

You, LORD, are my guide in the wilderness;
there is nothing more I could need.

You set up camp in places of beauty and shelter;
you lead the way on secluded tracks
beside creeks of cool clean water.
I feel my spirit breathing freely again;
your reputation puts me at ease;
I leave the navigating to you, and follow.

Even if we hike through a perilous valley,
where crows keep a menacing watch,
fear will still not get the better of me.
As long as I stick with you
I know I’ll make the distance;
with a knife and a bit of rope
you seem able to tackle any challenge.

You cook up a feast for me,
as those who wanted to feed on me watch, frustrated.
You pamper me like an honoured guest
and constantly top up my glass.

My life feels charmed, each and every day.
Love, mercy and all good things
keep falling into my lap.

I’m with you for life, LORD,
where you go, I’ll go;
where you live, I’ll live.

©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 are the Lord of lasting love,
and you invite good and bad alike to feast with you.

With great power and a mighty hand
you created the universe and filled it with life.
You freed your people from slavery,
and even when they offered to a statue of gold
the worship due to you alone,
you listened to the fervent prayer of your servant Moses
and turned from your fierce anger.

Even now, when you anger is inflamed
by those who say “Yes” to your call
but refuse to robe themselves in righteousness,
you accept the prayers of your anointed child, Jesus,
who, though shunned and killed by his own wedding guests,
was raised to life by you
and now intercedes for the world without ceasing,
winning for us your peace that passes all understanding.

Therefore with .....

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

We give thanks that even when we have been faithless
and offered to other things the worship due to you alone,
you have listened to the prayers of your anointed child, Jesus,
and turned away your anger,
offering us instead the peace that passes all understanding.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

(Preface reformatted for use apart from communion)

We give you all thanks and praise, O God,
for you are the Lord of lasting love,
and you invite good and bad alike to feast with you.

With great power and a mighty hand
you created the universe and filled it with life.
You freed your people from slavery,
and even when they offered to a statue of gold
the worship due to you alone,
you listened to the fervent prayer of your servant Moses
and turned from your fierce anger.

Even now, when you anger is inflamed
by those who say “Yes” to your call
but refuse to robe themselves in righteousness,
you accept the prayers of your anointed child, Jesus,
who, though shunned and killed by his own wedding guests,
was raised to life by you
and now intercedes for the world without ceasing,
winning for us your peace that passes all understanding.

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 Christ has stood alone before God,
pleading for our salvation.
In the mercy of Christ, you are robed in righteousness
and welcomed into the banqueting room of heaven.

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

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Go now, rejoicing always in the Lord.
Stand firm in Jesus Christ and be of one mind in him.
Always act with justice;
let your gentleness be known to everyone,
and yield up your worries on the altar of prayer.

And may God give you peace that passes all understanding;
May Christ Jesus guard your hearts and minds;
And may the Holy Spirit plant within you
all that is honourable, just and pure.

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. Ready to Party
    A sermon on Matthew 22: 1-14 by Nathan Nettleton
  2. No Jacket – No Entry
    A sermon on Matthew 22: 1-14 by Nathan Nettleton
  3. The Impulse for Images
    A sermon on Exodus 32. 1-14 by Garry Deverell
  4. Can anything good come out of Bethel?
    A sermon on Exodus 32 and Matthew 22:1-14 by Mark Brett
  5. Mind What Your Mind’s On
    A sermon on Philippians 4:1-9 & Matthew 22:1-14 by Nathan Nettleton
  6. Confronting Terrorist Texts
    A sermon on Exodus 32:1-14 & Matthew 22:1-14 by Nathan Nettleton
  7. The Temptation of Certainty
    A sermon on Exodus 32:1-14 & Matthew 22:1-14 by Nathan Nettleton


11 October 2026