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Event Series Event Series: Proper 28 – Year B

Proper 28 – Year B

17 November 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.

In the days before Israel had a king, there was a woman named Hannah who was married to a man named Elkanah. Hannah had never been able to have children even though Elkanah tended to favour her over his other wife, Peninnah, who had several children. Elkanah provided well for both his wives and all his children, but he really doted on Hannah.

Peninnah used to deliberately torment Hannah about her infertility, taunting her with suggestions that the LORD had dried out her womb. The nastiness was at its worst when they went up to Shiloh each year to offer sacrifices to the LORD, perhaps because that was when Elkanah’s favouritism was most obvious. So the annual visit to Shiloh was always a miserable time for Hannah. She would go off her food and be in tears all the time. Her husband Elkanah tried to comfort her, saying, “Hannah, cheer up? Why won’t you eat something? Look on the bright side. Aren’t I worth more to you than a big mob of sons?”

One year in Shiloh, after they had offered the sacrifices and eaten a meal together, Hannah got up and went back to pray to the LORD by herself. The only other person in the place of worship was Eli the priest who was sitting near the door. Hannah was at her wit’s end and wept bitter tears as she prayed to the LORD. She tried to bargain with God, praying, “O LORD, you rule over everything! Have pity on me, your servant. Don’t write me off in my misery. If you will give me the gift of a baby boy, then I will see to it that he joins the religious order of the Nazarites and never touches drink or drugs or has his hair cut.”

As she was praying silently, Eli could see her lips moving and her tears, but since he couldn’t hear her saying anything, he jumped to the conclusion that she was drunk. He got up and said to her, “Time to go home and sober up, woman. You can’t keep making a drunken spectacle of yourself in here. On your way, and get yourself on the wagon!”

But Hannah defended herself, saying, “No, Reverend Sir, please don’t write me off as a hopeless case. I’m heartbroken, but I haven’t sought solace in the bottle. I’ve been pouring my heart out to the LORD – all my agony and fears – trying to get everything off my chest.”

Then Eli answered, “Go in peace. May the LORD, the God of Israel, go with you and take care of whatever it is that is bothering you.”

“Thank you for being so kind to me, Reverend Sir,” said Hannah. She went back to where she was staying and cheered up no end. She even had a good meal with her husband.

The next morning the whole family got up early and worshipped the LORD. Then they packed up and went back home to Ramah. The LORD remembered Hannah’s prayer and the next time she and Elkanah made love, she fell pregnant. She gave birth to a baby boy and named him Samuel. She often spoke of him as an answer to her prayer.

©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

After the birth of her son, Samuel, Hannah prayed the following prayer:

“Thanks to you, LORD, I am full of joy;
thanks to you, I can stand strong and proud.
I can return the insults that were hurled at me,
and kick up my heels, because you have set me free.

There is no other god like you, LORD,
no one who can hold a candle to you;
not even the ancient rock is as dependable as you.

I can tell the proud to stop their boasting;
tell the arrogant to put a sock in it.
You, LORD, know us inside and out;
you see whether or not we live up to our words.

You, LORD, disarm the powerful,
and redistribute their strength to the helpless.
Those who consumed to excess are now queuing at soup kitchens,
but those who were deprived now feast in splendour.
Infertile couples are having children, one after the other,
while those who flaunted their children
find their families falling apart.

Life is yours to give or to take, LORD;
you can send someone to the land of the dead,
and you can bring them back again.

You, LORD, can make us or break us;
you can put us on a pedestal or knock us off.
You lift up those who have been trodden into the dirt;
you put the poor and outcast back on their feet.
You give them a place among the guests of honour,
a seat with the dignitaries and celebrities.
You can do all this because the earth is yours;
you set it up and you wrote the rules.

To those who are faithful, you guarantee safe passage;
those who are corrupt soon lose sight of any light to steer by,
for no matter how strong people are,
they can’t make it alone.

You are the LORD!
Those who try to obstruct you
find that it is like standing in the path of a train
as you thunder towards your destination.
You, LORD, have the final word on all that is done on earth.
You will give strength and power to your chosen ruler.”

©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Day after day the priests do their job, offering the same old sacrifices over and over again, without so much as budging the problem of sin. What Christ did as priest was quite different. He offered just one sacrifice for sins, a sacrifice with no use-by date! Then he sat down in the seat of honour alongside God and there he waits. It is only a matter of time before those who oppose him run out of options and concede defeat. As a priest he was so perfect, that it only took him one single offering to deal with all the imperfections of all the imperfect people who come to him wanting to be made perfect for God! The Holy Spirit can back us up on this. First she said in the scriptures:

“The new alliance I will make with the people
will be different, says the Lord:
No more writing down the rules for people to read;
this time I’ll write them into their hearts and minds.”

Then, for good measure, she added:

“I’ll wipe the record of their failings and their perverse behaviour;
none of it will ever again even enter my mind.”

So if that’s done — if the slate has been wiped clean — then there is no longer any need to come offering sacrifices to try to make up for what we’ve done wrong.

So, my friends, now it’s a whole new ball game. Now we can confidently walk straight into the sacred place because Jesus won us that right, spilling his own blood in the process. We walk in via a new route. The old way had a big curtain between us and the sacred place — on the new route the only thing between us and the sacred place is Jesus, and he invites us to become part of his own body and go in that way. Add all that to the fact that Jesus himself is now our great priest who says what goes in the house of God, and you’ll understand what is now open to us. So let’s go! Let’s approach God with integrity and with deep trust. Let us stand before God knowing for sure that not only have our bodies been washed clean in pure water, but so to have our hearts, our minds, our conscience.

In light of all this, let’s hold on tight to the hope that we’ve put our hands up to. None of this on-again off-again stuff! You can’t get more dependable than the one who has made these promises. So let’s put on our thinking caps and come up with some good strategies for stirring one another up to greater and greater love and more and more ways to put it into action. Some people have got out of the habit of gathering together as a congregation — let’s not go down that path. Gather often, support and encourage one another. The closer we get to that final day the more we’ll need one another.

©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

As Jesus and his followers were coming out of the temple, one of them said to him, “Teacher, isn’t this building spectacular? Look at the stonework and the scale of the whole place – it’s one of a kind!”

Jesus replied, “Do you think this is the greatest? This whole place will be flattened. There will be nothing left of these great stones but a heap of rubble.”

Later on they went out to the Mount of Olives and were sitting there with a full view of the Temple. Peter, James, John, and Andrew took Jesus aside for a few quiet questions. “Can you tell us when these things are going to happen?” they asked, “and what warning sign should we watch for? What will tip us off that these things are almost upon us.”

Jesus began to launch into an answer, saying, “Be on your guard. Don’t fall for the doomsday enthusiasts. There will be no shortage of people bobbing up and saying, ‘Follow me! I’m the One!’ Far too many people will be sucked into their madness. Every time there’s a new war or a tense stand off between world powers, the fanatics will crank up the speculation again. Keep your cool. These things will happen, but they don’t mean that time’s up. Nations will set out to destroy each other. There will be ethnic conflicts and civil wars. There will be horrendous natural disasters. Countless people will be faced with starvation. This will not be the end. It’s just the beginning, the first labour pangs of what is to come.

©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.

When the time comes, Michael, the great angel prince who stands guard over your people, will step forward. There will be a time of awful suffering, worse than anything any nation has ever seen in all of history. But that will be the time when your people are rescued. Their names are all written on a list and they will all be rescued. Many people who have long been dead and buried will awake as though they had only been sleeping. Some will rise to life and never face death again. Others will be facing shame and disgrace that can never be shaken off. Those who’ve got their heads on straight will light up the sky like the most brilliant fireworks. Those who have led others to get their lives on the right track will outshine the stars of the night with a glory that never ends.

©2012 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Protect me, God,
you are my place of refuge.

I’m acknowledging you as the one in charge, LORD;
you are the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

I delight in the company of those
who dedicate themselves to you;
they are the salt of the earth.

Those who worship other things
will have nothing but grief.
I will not buy into their futile devotions;
I will not utter the names they revere.

You are all I want, LORD, and all I need;
you hold my future in your hands.

You mark out the best of everything for me;
you’ve set me up with a bright future.

I heap accolades on you, LORD,
for you always give me wise advice;
even in the dead of night
you fill my heart with your teachings.

I’ll always stick close behind you, LORD;
with you near by,
I’ll never be pushed off track.

You fill me with delight, LORD;
joy erupts from deep in my bones;
my body relaxes, safe in your care.

You’ll never let the grave drag me down;
your faithful servants are never left for dead.

You set my feet on a life-giving track, LORD.
To be in your presence is absolute bliss.
All I could dream of comes from your hand.

©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 raise up the broken and humiliated
and seat them in honour at your banqueting table.

The whole universe is yours, for you made it;
you set the earth in place and filled it with life.
Through your law and prophets
you promised a day of justice
when the hungry will have their fill.

You sent your child, Jesus, among us
to establish a new covenant,
leading us in the way of faithfulness
and writing your laws on our hearts.
As a great priest, he offered a single sacrifice for all sins,
and was thrown in to the land of the dead,
but you raised him to new life,
opening for us a new and living way into your presence
and convulsing the earth with the birth pangs
of the new age of your glorious justice.

Therefore with .....

©2003 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

We give you thanks, O God, for your son, Jesus,
our great priest, who offered a single sacrifice for all sins,
who opened for us a new and living way into your presence,
and who writes your laws on our hearts.

©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

(Preface reformatted for use apart from communion)

We give you all thanks and praise, O God,
for you raise up the broken and humiliated
and seat them in honour in your presence.

The whole universe is yours, for you made it;
you set the earth in place and filled it with life.
Through your law and prophets
you promised a day of justice
when the hungry will have their fill.

You sent your child, Jesus, among us
to establish a new covenant,
leading us in the way of faithfulness
and writing your laws on our hearts.
As a great priest, he offered a single sacrifice for all sins,
and was thrown in to the land of the dead,
but you raised him to new life,
opening for us a new and living way into your presence
and convulsing the earth with the birth pangs
of the new age of your glorious 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.

©2003 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

As our high priest, Christ offered, for all time,
one perfect sacrifice for sin.
Therefore let us have confidence to approach God
with our hearts washed clean of all guilt
and a confident hope in God’s mercy.

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

©2003 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Go out in peace, for the Lord has heard your prayers.
Do not allow anyone to lead you astray
but hold fast to the hope you have claimed.
Continue to meet together,
encouraging and provoking one another
to put love into action.

And may God be your rock of strength;
May Christ Jesus usher you into the presence of God;
and may the Holy Spirit write the laws of life on your hearts.

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

©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net


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

  1. Get a Life!
    A sermon on Hebrews 10:11-25 by Nathan Nettleton
  2. Earth-Shattering Times
    A sermon on Mark 13:1-8; Hebrews 10:11-25; 1 Samuel 1:4-20 & 2:1-10 by Nathan Nettleton
  3. Apocalypse and Forgiveness
    A sermon on Mark 13:1-8 & Hebrews 10:11-25 by Nathan Nettleton
  4. As It All Comes Crashing Down
    A sermon on Mark 13:1-8 & Hebrews 10:11-25 by Nathan Nettleton
  5. Awkward Conversations
    A sermon on 1 Samuel 1:4-20 & 2:1-10; Mark 13:1-8 & Hebrews 10:11-25 by Roslyn Wright


17 November