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Event Series Event Series: Proper 7 – Year B

Proper 7 – Year B

23 June 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 Philistines were ready for war and their troops took up positions for an attack on the Judean town of Socoh.

The Philistine army had a champion named Goliath who came from Gath. He was a mountain of a man, towering over everyone around him. He was kitted out in the latest military gear with heavy bronze armour on his chest and legs and a gleaming helmet on his head. His chest armour alone was heavier than most men could lift. He carried a bronze sword strapped to his back. His spear was too thick for the average man to get his hand around and it had a head like a sharpened shot put. Another soldier walked in front of him carrying a huge shield.

Goliath strutted out from among the ranks and shouted at the Israelite army:

“Why should we waste time with a full battle? Let’s put up two men to have it out for us – winner takes all. I’m ready to represent the Philistines. Why don’t you lot in Saul’s army choose yourselves a champion to come down and take me on? If your man can kill me, then our army will surrender and our people will be your slaves. But if I win, then you’ll be our slaves. So come on, let’s see what you Israelites are made of. Send down your best man and we’ll see if he has what it takes to match me!”

Goliath’s defiant taunting threw Saul and his army into a panic. Scared witless, they couldn’t do a thing.

While all this was happening in the Elah Valley, David was back home, working on his father’s sheep station. Early one morning, at his father’s request, he left the sheep in someone else’s care and headed off to deliver some extra rations to his brothers in the army. He reached the army camp just as they were taking up their positions and sounding the battle cry. There was a stand off as the Israelite army and the Philistine army faced each other. David left the rations with the supply officer, and then ran up to the ranks to find his brothers and see how they were getting on. While he was talking with them, Goliath stepped forward from among the Philistine army, and began taunting the Israelites again. When David heard Goliath’s scoffing and saw the fear among the Israelite soldiers, he went and addressed King Saul, saying, “Your majesty, why are we letting this Philistine make our army look like a bunch of wimps. I’ll go out and deal with him for you!”

Saul replied, “You’ve got to be kidding. You’d have Buckley’s. You’re only a kid and he’s a top-gun, an elite soldier with more scalps to his name than you’ll ever have.”

But David held his line:

“Your majesty, I work sheep for my father; and whenever a lion or a bear drags off one of those sheep, I go after it and beat the living daylights out of it until it gives up the sheep. And if it makes the mistake of turning on me, I grab it by the throat and kill it. I have killed both lions and bears; and this godless Philistine will be a piece of cake. No one defies the army of the living God and gets away with it! The LORD didn’t let the lions or bears get their claws into me. The same LORD is more than a match for this Philistine.”

“All right,” said Saul, “Go and fight him, and God help you! You’ll need it.”

Saul offered David his own uniform and armour, and even his bronze helmet. But when David put on the armour and strapped on Saul’s sword, he could hardly walk. So he said to Saul, “I can barely stand up in this stuff because I haven’t trained in it,” and he took it all off. Instead he headed out carrying nothing but a hiking stick, a sling shot, and five smooth stones from the creek bed which he popped into his pockets. Out he marched, ready to face Goliath!

Goliath strutted arrogantly towards David, with the soldier carrying the shield still in front of him.  When he got close enough to get a good look at David, he laughed out loud because David looked just like any other fresh-faced kid. “What do you think I am? A dog? Do you think I might heel and roll over for you if you wave your little stick around?!”

And he called down curses from his gods on David and threw every insult in the book at him. “Come on then,” he sneered, “Let’s have you. I’ll make dog meat out of you. I’ll hang you out for the crows to pick your bones.”

But David was undaunted and spoke back:

“You are so sure of yourself, trusting as you do in your fancy weapons of war. But I don’t need them, because my trust is in the LORD who commands the armies of heaven. This is the God you have insulted – the God of the armies of Israel.  You’ve seen your last sunrise, Mister. With the help of the the LORD, I’ll knock you down for the count. I’ll cut off your head, and the only dog meat here will be you. The crows can feast on the carcasses of your Philistine mates. Then the whole world will know that the real God is Israel’s God. Everyone here will see that the LORD doesn’t need weapons to save his people. This battle is all over, bar the shouting, because the LORD has got your measure.”

At that, Goliath started towards David. David ran forward to meet him and reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a stone for his sling shot and let fly. He only needed one shot. It hit Goliath square on the head and cracked his skull. One small stone, and the giant fell on his face, as dead as a doornail.

©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

You, O LORD, are a safe haven for the oppressed,
a refuge when times are tough.
Your name inspires trust,
for you have never let down
those who turned to you. 

We look to Zion, your home, and sing our praises,
announcing to everyone what you have done.
For you, O LORD, track down those
who spill innocent blood
and keep a record of every victim’s cry. 

Give me a break, LORD.
You’ve seen how much I’ve been kicked around;
you’ve even stepped in yourself
to pull me out of danger.
I’ll never stop talking about what a hero you are.
I’ll shout it on the streets
and broadcast it on the air
until everyone knows how you saved us.

The nations that backed away from you
have fallen into their own traps:
the steel jaws they so carefully hid
have slammed shut on their own legs.
You hid nothing from them, LORD.
Your requirements were well publicised.
Judgment has come, just as you said;
the schemes of the wicked backfire on them.
This time they are their own victims!

Callous and ruthless nations
have spurned your ways, LORD,
and written their own ticket to hell. 

But the deprived will not always be disregarded,
and those who dream of a day of plenty
will live to see it.

Up and at it, LORD! It’s time for action!
Don’t let these people have their way.
Call them to account for what they’ve done;
them and the nations they lead.
Put the fear of God into them, LORD;
strip them of their pretensions
so that everyone can see them
for what they really are.

©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

After killing Goliath the Philistine, David was granted an audience with King Saul. He was still carrying the severed head of the Philistine when he was introduced to the King by Abner, the commander of the army. Saul asked him, “Whose people do you come from, young man?”

David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse, from Bethlehem.”

After David had finished speaking to Saul, he met Saul’s son Jonathan. The two were soul mates from the word go, and Jonathan loved David as much as his own life. From that day on, Saul gave David a position in the royal household and would not let him return to his family home. Jonathan bound himself to David in a formal alliance, because he loved him so much. He took off his own royal robe and put it on David, and handed over to him his own military uniform and weapons.

Saul sent David out on numerous military campaigns, and wherever he went, he was successful. As a result, Saul gave him command of the whole army. David was becoming so popular with all the people that even Saul’s closest officials approved of his promotion.

However, David’s popularity started to get under Saul’s skin. One day an evil spirit from God seized him and he lost the plot completely, raving like a madman in his house. David was there playing some soothing music for the king on his lyre, as he did each day. Saul had a spear in his hand, and in his madness he twice threw it, trying to pin David to the wall, but David managed to duck clear each time.

Saul was increasingly afraid of David, because it was clear that the LORD had given up on Saul and was now backing David. So Saul kicked him out of the house and put him in command of a thousand soldiers on the front line. David led the unit out, and before long he was back with another great victory under his belt. He had success in everything he took on, because the LORD was backing him. When Saul saw how successful he had become, he was quaking in his boots. But all the people of Israel and Judah worshipped the ground David walked on, because it was him who led them into battle and brought them safe home again.

©2003 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

What a great thing it is, LORD,
when people can get along with one another,
and live together in unity and mutual respect.

It is even more satisfying than holding the cup aloft
and dancing in the rain of champagne
on Grand Final day.

It is even more desirable than sitting by an open fire
sharing chocolates and fine wine with a loved one.

It is even more beautiful than the monsoon rains
turning the desert into a sea of wildflowers.

For you LORD created us to be one people,
committed to one another, honouring one another,
sharing the land and its blessings forever.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

We are working together, shoulder to shoulder with God, and we urge you not to take God’s extravagant generosity for granted.

In the scriptures God says,

“At exactly the right moment,
I heard your call.
The day you needed help,
I was there to bail you out.”

Well, this is it — the exact right moment. This is the day to throw off the shackles and walk free! It won’t be our fault if you don’t take this chance — we’re doing everything in our power not to get in anyone’s way. There’s no point in nit-picking over the details of our work. We have endeavoured to be faithful servants of God and we’re confident that we’ve got the runs on the board. It’s not as though we’ve had it easy either. We have hung in there through hard times, tough times and horrendous disasters. We’ve been bashed, lynched and locked up. We’ve worked ourselves into the ground when things needed to be done, sometimes even going without sleep and food. And through all this we have maintained our integrity — our intentions have been pure and our heads have been clear. We have managed to hold on to our patience, generosity, and holiness of spirit. Our love has been genuine, our speech truthful, and God has continued to work powerfully through us. We have armed ourselves with nothing but an iron commitment to doing what’s right, and we’ve grasped the work of justice with both hands. Sometimes we’ve been honoured and sometimes slandered. We have been true to our word and yet denounced as charlatans. We’ve been treated as nobodies even though everyone knows who we are. We’ve been written of as dead, but here we are, brimming with life. We’ve been flogged to within an inch of our lives but never quite killed. We’ve almost drowned in tears and yet we are still bubbling with joy. They say we are poor, and yet many are enriched by us. They say we have nothing to offer, and yet everything is ours to share.

My dear friends in Corinth, what we say is the honest truth — our hearts are wide open to you. We are not holding back on our affection for you; we are laying ourselves open to you. But you are being so stunted in your response. Your hearts are full, but you live like misers. I’m speaking to you as I would to my own children, with all the love and clarity I can muster. Open up your hearts. Live generously and expansively!

©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

One evening, after Jesus had spent the day teaching the crowds on the shore of Lake Galilee, he said to his followers, “Let’s go. Let’s sail across to the other side.”

So they piled into the boat, just as they were, and left the crowds behind. They weren’t completely alone though, because a few other boats came with them. Suddenly a huge storm whipped up, and the waves were smashing against the boat. It was a desperate situation – they were taking on water fast, but Jesus was sound asleep with his head on a cushion at the back of the boat. His terrified followers shook him awake, yelling, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are all about to die here?” Jesus got up and began barking orders at the wind and the waves: “Calm down! Let’s have some peace here!”

Right on cue, the wind dropped to a whisper and the sea was as smooth as glass. Jesus turned to his astonished followers and said, “Why are you so gutless? Where’s your faith?”

Now they were really quaking in their boots! “Who is this man?” they asked one another, “Even the wind and the sea fall into line at his command!”

©2000 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.

From the midst of a cyclone, the voice of the LORD answered Job, saying:

“Who are you to mouth off against me
when you’ve got no idea what you’re talking about?
Stand up straight like a man
and see if you can give answers when I ask the questions.

“Were you there when I laid the foundations of the earth?
If you’re so smart, tell me all about it.
Who drew up the plans and decided how big it would be?
Who held the tape measure and marked it out?
Speak up – surely you know!
What do the foundations sit on, and how far down do they go?
Who turned the first sod? Who laid the cornerstone?
Do you remember what the morning stars sang at the celebration?
It brought everyone in heaven to their feet cheering.

“Perhaps you remember who closed the floodgates
to contain the ocean
when it gushed up from the womb of the earth?
I was there. I clothed it in mist
and tucked it up in a thick blanket of fog.
I decided where it should start and finish.
I closed the gates and built the levy banks.
I said to the sea, ‘I’ve drawn a line in the sand that you must not cross.
Your powerful waves can pound to here, but no further.’”

©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Thank you, LORD! Thank you for being so good.
Your rock-solid love will never end.

LORD, we freely and openly acknowledge
that it was you who got us out of trouble;
you who put us back on the right track.
You gathered us from the four corners of the globe,
from wherever we had been lost or exiled.

Some of us went to sea;
made our living sailing the ocean
Your awesome power was clear to see, LORD,
in the restless energy of the deep.
One word from you and storms whipped up;
furious waves crashed and tore at us.
Hurled to the sky and slammed back down,
our courage failed and we feared the worst.
Tossed like a cork; staggering like drunks;
nothing to do but cling on and pray.

In sheer despair, we cried out to you, LORD,
and in a flash, you came to our rescue.
You calmed the storm
and the waves fell quiet.
Overwhelming relief left us speechless
as you piloted us safely into a sheltered bay.

So let us tell you how grateful we are, LORD.
Thank you for your rock-solid love
and for the great things you do for everyone.
Let us talk you up whenever your people gather,
and sing your praises when the leaders meet.

©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 a safe haven to those in trouble
and we rejoice in your deliverance.

On the day of creation, you calmed the chaos
and with a word, brought forth the earth and its riches.
You never forget the cries of the victims of oppression
or let the hope of the poor perish forever.
You have delivered those who trust in you,
defeating their powerful enemies,
not with the sword, but with the weapons of righteousness.

You sent to us your Son, Jesus the Christ,
and in him we have encountered a peacemaker
who is undaunted even in the wildest storms.
Though the waves of death crashed over him,
you raised him up and gave him the power
to subdue even the tempest of death,
and to release from its terrors all who trust in him.

Therefore with .....

©2003 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

We give thanks for your Son, Jesus the Christ,
for though the waves of death crashed over him,
you raised him up and gave him the power
to subdue even the tempest of death,
and to release from its terrors all who trust in him.

©2003 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

(Preface reformatted for use apart from communion)

We give you all thanks and praise, O God,
for you are a safe haven to those in trouble
and we rejoice in your deliverance.

On the day of creation, you calmed the chaos
and with a word, brought forth the earth and its riches.
You never forget the cries of the victims of oppression
or let the hope of the poor perish forever.
You have delivered those who trust in you,
defeating their powerful enemies,
not with the sword, but with the weapons of righteousness.

You sent to us your Son, Jesus the Christ,
and in him we have encountered a peacemaker
who is undaunted even in the wildest storms.
Though the waves of death crashed over him,
you raised him up and gave him the power
to subdue even the tempest of death,
and to release from its terrors all who trust in him.

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.

©2003 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Now is God’s chosen time.
Now is the day of salvation.
The Lord meets you in grace and mercy,
lifting you from the gates of death.

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

©2003 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Go out, trusting in God, even in the midst of the storms.
Arm yourselves only with the weapons of righteousness
and stand firm before the enemies of life.
Put no obstacle in anyone’s way,
but in every way commend yourselves as servants of God.

And may God deliver you from all that would destroy you;
May Christ Jesus calm all that would terrorise you;
and may the Holy Spirit sustain you in patience, kindness, truthfulness and genuine love.

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

©2003 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net


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

  1. Giving yourself away and looking after yourself
    A sermon on 2 Corinthians 6:1-13 & Mark 4:35-41 by Nathan Nettleton
  2. Against Overwhelming Odds
    A sermon on 1 Samuel 17 & Mark 4:35-41 by Nathan Nettleton
  3. When the Ship is Going Down
    A sermon on 1 Samuel 17 & Mark 4:35-41 by Nathan Nettleton
  4. Beyond the Limits!
    A sermon on Mark 4:35-41 & 1 Samuel 17 by Nathan Nettleton
  5. Peace, be still.
    A sermon on 1 Samuel 17: 1a , 4-11, 19-23, 32-49 and Mark 4:35-41 by John Fowler


23 June