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Event Series Event Series: Proper 6 – Year C

Proper 6 – Year C

18 June 2028

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.

A man named Naboth owned a vineyard in his hometown of Jezreel, not far from King Ahab’s palace. One day King Ahab decided that he wanted to add Naboth’s vineyard to his own property, so he went to Naboth and said, “Since your vineyard is so near my house, I’d like to have it for a vegetable garden. Sign it over to me and I’ll give you a better vineyard, or if you prefer, I’ll pay you a good price – cash up front.”

But Naboth replied, “God forbid! I could never let go of this land. My family roots are deep in the soil that God has given us.”

Ahab stomped off home in a sulk and stewed all afternoon over Naboth’s refusal to part with his family vineyard. He lay on his bed, scowling at the wall, and wouldn’t even eat. His wife Jezebel came in and demanded, “What has got you so down in the dumps that you’re off your food?”

Ahab replied, “It’s because of Naboth. I wanted to take over his vineyard, and I offered him a good price or even another vineyard in exchange, but he wouldn’t part with it for love nor money.”

Jezebel retorted, “Well, are you the king, or aren’t you? Get up; eat, drink and be merry. I’ll get Naboth’s vineyard for you.”

So Jezebel wrote some letters on the king’s letterhead, signed his name to them and sent them to the leaders of Naboth’s local community. The letters contained the following orders: “Call all the people together for a day of prayer and fasting. Seat Naboth up front and pay a couple of unscrupulous characters to raise accusations against him. Have them accuse him of insulting God and defaming the king. Then take him to the place of execution and stone him to death.”

The community leaders followed Jezebel’s orders to the letter. Just as she had written, they called the people together for a day of prayer and fasting. They gave Naboth a seat of honour up the front. Two paid liars stood up in front of everyone and accused Naboth to his face of having bad-mouthed God and the king. An angry mob dragged Naboth outside the town and stoned him to death. They then sent word to Jezebel that Naboth had been executed.

As soon as Jezebel got the news of Naboth’s death, she went and said to Ahab, “Go and take over Naboth’s vineyard. He won’t cause you any more grief. He’s dead.”

The minute he heard that Naboth was dead, Ahab jumped up and headed off to stake his claim to the vineyard.

Meanwhile, the LORD spoke to Elijah the prophet, saying:

“Go down and confront King Ahab of Israel, who rules in Samaria. At this very moment he is in Naboth’s vineyard, taking it over as his own. Go and say to him, ‘This is what the LORD says: Have you murdered a man and now you’re stealing his property as well? You will pay for what you have done: in the very same spot where the dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, so too will they lick up your blood, Ahab.’”

    So Elijah went and confronted Ahab in Naboth’s vineyard. Before he could say anything, Ahab saw him coming and said, “So my enemy, have you found me out?”

Elijah answered, “Yes, I have found you out. You have sold yourself over to the ways of evil. You have done things the LORD can’t stand to see and, as a result, disaster is coming your way.”

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Please listen to me, LORD;
tune in to my desperate words,
my groans and cries for help.

You are my God and my ruler;
listen as I pray to you.

You’ll hear me every morning, LORD;
as the sun rises, I’ll lay out my needs and wait on you.

You are not the kind of god who gets a laugh out of evil;
you don’t allow corruption to get a foothold anywhere near you.

You can’t stand the company of the arrogant;
you hate wrongdoing with a passion.

You unmask those who deal in deception;
you are disgusted by liars and blood-suckers.

But thanks to your extravagant and unfailing love,
I am free to enter your house.
I am totally in awe of you,
as I bow down in your temple to worship.

Keep me headed on the right track, LORD;
give me a clear-cut path
so I won’t get thrown off course by my enemies.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

We ourselves are not lawless Gentiles, but ‘born and bred Jews’ — people of the law. However, we now know that this gives us no particular advantage, because God’s approval is not a reward for careful compliance with the law, but a gift to those who entrust themselves to Jesus Christ. Once we came to understand that no code of ethics or self-improvement program could ever put us in the good books with God, we also began to believe that Christ Jesus could, and so we entrusted ourselves to him, and left it to him to sort things out with God for us.

Having now entrusted out fate to Christ, we are seeking to pattern our lives on his example instead of on the prescriptions of the law. Does that mean that Christ can now be held responsible for every sin we are found to commit? Don’t be ridiculous! I’m still far from perfect, but that doesn’t mean I should reinstall the system I previously trashed. If I reverted to an obsession with avoiding mistakes, I probably wouldn’t make any less of them; I’d just feel crippled by guilt. I’m not going back to that, because it killed me the first time. If unfailing obedience to the law is all that matters, I’m a dead man. So I’ve given up — but not in despair. I’ve given up in order to take up an alternative — a life open to God. I handed my life over to be crucified with Christ; and the life I now live is not my own, but Christ’s. The only reason I am now living at all is that the risen Christ is living in me. Even my body would be dead meat by now if it weren’t for the life I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself unreservedly for me. So there is no way that I’m going to reject God’s extravagant generosity and go back to trying to prove that I can make the grade on my own without it. If it were possible to make the grade by meticulous law-keeping, then Christ died without achieving anything.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Jesus accepted an invitation to a dinner party in the home of a man named Simon, a member of the devoutly religious Pharisee party. In Simon’s neighbourhood there lived a woman whose life was a tangled mess of degrading behaviour and shame. When she heard that Jesus was a guest in the Pharisee’s home, she took an expensive bottle of perfumed oil and walked in on the dinner party. She knelt down and began kissing Jesus’s feet. She was crying her eyes out, and she dried her tears from his feet with her own hair. Then she opened the perfumed oil and used it to massage his feet.

When the host saw this, he was mortified, but one of his first thoughts was, “If this man was really the prophet that people say he is, he’d know straight off that this woman who’s all over him is a filthy sinner, and he’d get rid of her.”

Before he had a chance to do anything though, Jesus spoke up; “Simon, I’ve got something you need to hear.”

“Well, let’s hear it then, Teacher,” he replied.

Jesus said, “There was a money lender who had two bad debts. One man owed him five grand, and the other only fifty bucks, but neither of them had the means to pay him back. In a fit of generosity, he wrote off the debts leaving them both owing nothing. Now, tell me; which of the two do you think he will be the more popular with?”

Simon answered, “I suppose the one who was let off the bigger debt.”

“No doubt,” said Jesus, and then with a smile to the woman, he said to Simon, “Now think about how you’re looking at this woman. When I arrived here tonight, you didn’t even show me where the bathroom was to wash my hands, but this woman has washed my feet with her tears and dried them with her own hair. You didn’t even offer me a warm handshake, whereas she has hardly stopped kissing my feet. You didn’t even give me a pre-dinner drink to make me feel at home, but she has opened an expensive bottle and given me a beautiful foot massage. Let me tell you what this proves. She knows that although she has committed every sin in the book, she’s been forgiven the lot. Her extravagant display of love is the measure of her gratitude. But those who live so tightly that they hardly need any forgiveness strangle their capacity to love.”

Then, turning back to the woman, he said, “All that you’ve done wrong is forgiven.”

That set the tongues wagging among the religious heavies at the table: “Who does he think he is, forgiving sins?”

But Jesus, unperturbed, said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

Not long after this, Jesus was back on the road. In cities and towns, wherever they went, he broadcast the message about the culture of God. The twelve travelled with him, and so did a number of women who had found healing for physical or spiritual disorders. Among them were Mary from Magdala who had been released from seven demons that had plagued her; Joanna, who was married to one of King Herod’s top officials; and Susanna. There were others too, and together they provided most of the resources needed by the group as they travelled around.

©2001 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.

The news that Uriah had been killed in battle reached his wife, Bathsheba, and she went into mourning. When the customary time of mourning was over, King David arranged for her to move into the palace. She became his wife, and a son was born to them. But David’s actions had put him off side with the LORD.

The LORD sent the prophet Nathan to speak to David. Nathan addressed the King saying:

Consider this case, your Majesty. Two men lived on neighbouring properties. One of them was filthy rich. He owned huge mobs of sheep and cattle, and plenty of land to graze them on. The other man was dirt poor. He rented his land and owned only one small lamb. The lamb was like a pet to him and his children. It even used to eat at their table and sleep on the end of their bed. People used to joke that he treated the lamb like one of his daughters. One day the rich man had a guest from out of town. He was too stingy to butcher any of his own animals to prepare a meal for his guest, so he sent a servant over the fence to steal the poor man’s lamb. He had the lamb roasted and carved up for the evening meal.”

David was so outraged he nearly exploded! He thumped the table and said, “I swear by God, such a cruel and callous crime will not go unpunished. Hanging’s too good for a man like that! I order that he be made to pay compensation at four times the value of what he stole.”

Nathan looked David straight in the eye and said, “You are the man! You stand condemned by your own words! Now listen to what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to you:

I chose you to be king of Israel. When Saul was trying to kill you, I rescued you. I gave you his throne and his wives and made you king over both Israel and Judah. If that wasn’t enough, you should have said so. I would have gladly given you whatever you asked for. So why do you spit in my face now? Why have you rejected what I taught you and committed such a horrible crime? You murdered Uriah the Hittite so you could get your hands on his wife. He was fighting for you against the Ammonites – he shouldn’t have had to guard his back against you! And now the cat’s out of the bag. Your despicable behaviour will sow seeds of violence and betrayal that will tear apart your family generation after generation.”

David cried out to Nathan, saying, “I have sinned against the LORD.”

Nathan replied, “You most certainly have, but the LORD is willing to give you another chance. You will not die for your sin as you deserve. However, you have treated the LORD with utter contempt and the damage is done. The child that is soon to be born to you will not survive.”

With that, Nathan left and went home. Uriah’s wife gave birth to David’s son, but the child was struck down by serious illness right from day one.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

What a blessing it is to be among those you have forgiven, LORD,
those whose record of wrongdoing you have wiped clean.

People who are honest about their lives
have everything going for them;
they never have to cover their tracks
or worry that they’ll be in your bad books.

I used to keep my sins to myself, LORD,
but they poisoned me from within;
wasting my body,
tormenting my mind.

Day and night I felt your eyes following me;
I lived in fear that you’d see right through me.
The joy of living evaporated
in the burning heat of my guilt.

Then I decided to come clean with you, LORD,
to own up to all I’d done and stop living a lie.
I made a full confession to you, LORD,
and you gave me a full pardon, forgiving all my sin.

Now, like all your faithful people, LORD,
I am always ready to open myself to you in prayer.
When trouble breaks its banks,
your faithful ones are on safe ground.

You are like a bomb shelter for us, LORD;
you protect us from danger.
Thanks to you, LORD, we can still laugh;
we can dance around singing songs of freedom.

You have given us clear directions;
you have pointed out the path we should follow.
You have kept a watchful eye on us
and made sure we understood.

You have encouraged us to follow willingly,
to understand and embrace your ways;
not to buck and snort like wild horses,
fighting the reins until our strength is broken.

Those who refuse the straight and narrow
will suffer for it, over and over;
but those who put their trust in you, LORD,
will find love and loyalty wherever they go.

You are celebrated by all right-minded people, LORD;
with open hearts we shout for joy;
with clear minds we sing your praises.

©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 pour out our thanks and praise,
as a fragrant offering to you, O God,
for you have poured out your love and mercy on us
with scandalous extravagance.

You created the earth and the heavens,
and gave us the land as an inheritance.
Through the law and the prophets you confronted us
whenever we sold out to do what is evil.

When the law was unable to save us,
you sent your child, Jesus, among us,
with the good news of your reign.
He showered us with grace
and in the face of pious hostility
brought us to your table.
He was crucified, and we with him,
but you raised him to resurrection life.
Now it is now no longer we who live,
but Christ who lives in us,
for he loved us and gave himself for us,
setting us right and restoring our hope.

Therefore with .....

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

We pour out our thanks as a fragrant offering to you, O God,
for, in Christ, you have poured out love and mercy on us
with scandalous extravagance
and it is now no longer we who live,
but Christ who lives in us.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

(Preface reformatted for use apart from communion)

We pour out thanks and praise
as a fragrant offering to you, O God,
for you have poured out your love and mercy on us
with scandalous extravagance.

You created the earth and the heavens,
and gave us the land as an inheritance.
Through the law and the prophets you confronted us
whenever we sold out to do what is evil.

When the law was unable to save us,
you sent your child, Jesus, among us,
with the good news of your reign.
He showered us with grace
and in the face of pious hostility
brought us to your table.
He was crucified, and we with him,
but you raised him to resurrection life.
Now it is now no longer we who live,
but Christ who lives in us,
for he loved us and gave himself for us,
setting us right and restoring our hope.

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.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Christ Jesus, the Son of God, loved us
and gave himself for us.
We are put right with God through our faith in Christ.
Therefore Jesus says to you:
“Your faith has saved you.”

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

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Go now, and live by faith in the Son of God.
Pray for God’s justice,
Never welcome evil,
pour out your love freely.

And may God hear your cries for help;
May Christ Jesus stand with you in the face of hostility;
And may the Holy Spirit fill you with faith and life.

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

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net


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

  1. Who makes the Grade?
    A sermon on Luke 7: 36 – 8:4 by Nathan Nettleton
  2. The Power of Love versus the Love of Power
    A sermon on 1 Kings 21:1-21a & Luke 7: 36 – 8:3 by Nathan Nettleton
  3. Identity and Compliance
    A sermon on Galatians 2:15-21 & Luke 7: 36 – 8:4 by Nathan Nettleton
  4. Wicked Women Welcome
    A sermon on Luke 7: 36 – 8:4 by Alison Sampson


18 June 2028