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Recurring Event Event Series: 5th Sunday in Lent – Year C

5th Sunday in Lent – Year C

6 April 2025 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.

This is what the LORD has to say:

I am the one who cut a path through the ocean for you,
an escape route through the raging waters.
I am the one who dealt with the army that pursued you:
the soldiers and all their weapons of war.
Where are they now? Lying dead, never to rise again;
snuffed out like a drenched candle.

Now I say to you: Don’t dwell on the things of the past;
don’t get bogged down in nostalgia.
I am about to do something completely new;
can’t you see it taking shape before your eyes?

I will make a safe path through the hostile wilderness.
I will make the desert rivers flow again.
Untamed animals will applaud what I do
– dingoes, emus, goannas –
because the desert bursts into life
as I send rains, filling the inland lakes.

Now the people I have chosen can drink their fill;
I created them to be my people,
to enjoy and celebrate the things I do.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

When you brought us home to Zion from exile, LORD,
    we had to pinch ourselves to be sure it wasn’t a dream.

Laughter and singing kept bubbling up in us;
    we were just over the moon!

Even the nations around us had to admit
    that you must have taken our side, LORD.
Indeed, we could only celebrate and thank you
.    for the wonderful things you had done for us.

LORD, we need your help again;
    we are like dry creek-beds in need of rain.

We have worked with sweat and tears;
    let us reap the rewards with celebration.

Let those who laboured with heavy hearts,
    expecting nothing but despair,
come home with pride renewed,
    celebrating unimaginable success.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

If anyone starts bragging about their breeding and background to win an audience, I could trump them every time. I’ve got a pedigree to die for! I’m a pure blooded Israelite, born into the noble tribe of Benjamin. I was circumcised when I was eight days old, exactly as the law prescribes. I was educated by the Pharisees at the best school, so I know the scriptures inside out, and discipline and obedience are second nature to me. I was so pumped up with passion for the purity of religion that I led violent campaigns against declared heretics, including the church. You could measure me against the strictest interpretations of the law and I’d come out with a perfect record every time.

Most people would count all this as the perfect start in life, but I have come to see it as more of a disadvantage. Why? Because of the Messiah. You see, the one and only thing that is of real and lasting value is knowing the Messiah Jesus, my Lord, and I now realise that just about everything else gets in the way of that. This is why I’ve stopped counting my so-called blessings. I used to think that such things gave me the inside running with God, but I now regard such thinking as a lot of crap. I have given up clinging to such crappy ideas, so that I can give myself totally to the Messiah and be embraced fully by him. I’m no longer interested in how I measure up to any checklist of religious laws, however worthy it may be. God’s checklist is the only one that matters to me now and it only has one item on it. All those who trust Christ get the big tick from God. What I really want now is to know Christ intimately and to experience in my own life the power that raised him from the dead. I’ll do whatever it takes — I’ll take my share of his sufferings, I’ll follow him on the road to death if need be — because the only thing that matters to me is to be united with him in his resurrection life.

I’m not claiming for a moment that I’ve made it, or that I’ve now got it all together. There’s a long way to go, but at least I’m now on the right track and I’m not giving up. I know I’ll make it because the Messiah is backing me all the way. My friends, I don’t see myself as the expert in these things, but I know enough to be sure of which way to go. I’m taking no further interest in the successes or failures of the past. I’ve got my eyes firmly fixed on what God has called me to become, and I won’t let anything stop me until I cross the line and fall into the waiting arms of Christ.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Six days before the celebration of Passover, Jesus arrived in Bethany. He stayed overnight in the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus; the man he had previously raised from the dead. Martha prepared a dinner party in honour of Jesus, and everyone was there, including Lazarus. During the evening, Mary broke open a very expensive bottle of blended fragrant oils. She poured out the oil and used it to massage Jesus’ feet. She then wiped them dry with her own hair. The intoxicating fragrance of the oils filled the whole house.

Judas Iscariot, however, took exception to her behaviour. Although he was one of Jesus’ closest followers, the seeds of betrayal were taking root in his mind. When he saw what Mary was doing, he growled, “What do you think you’re doing? That stuff is worth a fortune. Why was it not sold and the money put to work to do something for the poor?”

He wasn’t really the least bit concerned about the plight of the poor, but he was their treasurer and liked to keep their shared account topped up so he could help himself to it without anyone noticing.

Jesus said, “Get off her case, Judas! She brought that oil and kept it to use in preparing me for a decent burial. There will never be any shortage of opportunities to do something worthwhile for the poor, but you won’t always have the opportunity to do anything worthwhile for me.”

©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,
for there is nothing else in life that can compare
with the surpassing value of knowing you.

The newborn earth sprang forth at your touch
and life burst free as you lavished your love upon it.
You formed a people to declare your glory
and led them to freedom on a road through the sea.

Your child, Jesus Christ, honoured our outpoured devotion,
but was betrayed and killed by those
who profit from corruption.
You raised him to life
and called us leave the past
and look to the new wonders you are doing:
opening pathways through inhospitable places
and pouring forth springs where all was dry and lifeless,
so that we, and all who have laboured in sorrow,
might joyously bring forth a harvest of righteousness
and join Christ in the glory of his resurrection life.

Therefore with .....

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

We thank you for your love in Christ
which opens pathways through inhospitable places,
so that we might press on through suffering and death
to the prize of resurrection life in Christ.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

(Preface reformatted for use apart from communion)

We give you all thanks and praise, O God,
for there is nothing else in life that can compare
with the surpassing value of knowing you.

The newborn earth sprang forth at your touch
and life burst free as you lavished your love upon it.
You formed a people to declare your glory
and led them to freedom on a road through the sea.

Your child, Jesus Christ, honoured our outpoured devotion,
but was betrayed and killed by those
who profit from corruption.
You raised him to life
and called us leave the past
and look to the new wonders you are doing:
opening pathways through inhospitable places
and pouring forth springs where all was dry and lifeless,
so that we, and all who have laboured in sorrow,
might joyously bring forth a harvest of righteousness
and join Christ in the glory of his resurrection 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.
Amen.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

The righteousness that comes from God
is given to all who turn from their past
and put their faith in Christ.
Sisters and brothers, God has heard your confession;
Christ Jesus has made you his own.

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

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Go now, and press on in the path to which God has called you.
Do not get caught up in the things of the past,
or in the things that the world prizes,
but welcome the new things God is doing,
and take the new paths that open through the places of death.

And may God pour life-giving waters into your wilderness;
May Christ Jesus make you his own;
And may the Holy Spirit strengthen you
for the race that lies before you.

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

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Sermons

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

  1. What are we striving for?
    A sermon on Philippians 3:4b-14 and John 12:1-8 by Nathan Nettleton
  2. Building Fortresses
    A sermon on Isaiah 43:16-21, Philippians 3:4b-14 and John 12:1-8 by Nathan Nettleton
  3. Renouncing Gifts and Wasting Resources
    A sermon on Philippians 3:4b-14 and John 12:1-8 by Nathan Nettleton
  4. Getting Jesus Right
    A sermon on John 12:1-8 by Nathan Nettleton
  5. Dealing with the Past
    A sermon on Isaiah 43:16-21 & Philippians 3:4b-14 by Nathan Nettleton
  6. Scandalous Extravagance
    A sermon on John 12:1-8 by Nathan Nettleton
  7. A Gift Far Too Small
    A sermon on John 12:1-8 & Philippians 3:4b-14 by Alison Sampson
  8. Scandal, Personal Space, and Passing the Peace
    A sermon on John 12:1-8 & Luke 7:36-50 by Nathan Nettleton
  9. Where To From Here?
    A sermon on Isaiah 43:16-21 & Philippians 3:4b-14 by Nathan Nettleton

Details

Date:
6 April 2025
Series: