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Recurring Event Event Series: Proper 20 – Year C

Proper 20 – Year C

21 September 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.

I’m heart-broken, sick with grief.
Smiles are a thing of the past.

Tune in and listen.
From one end of the country to the other
you can hear the cry of my suffering people.
“Has the LORD cleared off and left us?” they groan.
“Has our king fled the country?”

They gave God every reason to be angry,
flaunting their latest trendy objects of devotion.

But still they cry:
“Months pass, seasons come and go,
but still there is no sign of help.”

I am hurting with my people, torn by their pain.
I am grief-stricken, filled with horror.

Surely there is some treatment available.
Surely there is something the doctors can do.
So why are my people still sick and broken?
Why are they not yet back on their feet?

I need a head like a fire hydrant
to do all the crying I am going to do,
gushing tears by the bucket full day and night
over all my people who have been killed!

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

O God, the land you gave us has been invaded;
places erected in your honour have been desecrated;
the city you love has been reduced to rubble.

People who faithfully served you have been slaughtered;
their bodies have been tossed out like garbage,
feral animals tear them to shreds and crows pick their bones.

The city is awash with their blood,
overflowing the gutters;
their bodies lie where they fell,
there is no one left to bury them.

Those outside our borders make a joke of our fate;
they laugh as they stick the boots in.

Why, LORD?
How long will we cop this abuse?
Are you going to be angry forever?
Will your fiery rage never die down?

Take it out on those who really deserve it;
on nations that shut you out and write you off.

They are the ones who chewed up your people
and left nothing but scorched earth where we lived.

Please, God, don’t hold against us the wrongs of our ancestors.
Come quickly with a tender heart and loving arms,
we are at rock-bottom.

You are the only one who can get us out of this mess, God.
Come to our rescue! Bail us out! Forgive and heal us!
Show everyone that your reputation is fully deserved!

©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

The number one thing I would urge you to do is to pray. Pray for everyone, thanking God for them and requesting the best for them. Don’t forget to pray for those who exercise power and influence, for we depend on them to allow us the space to get on with our lives in simplicity, peace, dignity and God-given integrity. There is no doubt that such prayers are exactly what God would wish us to be offering. Indeed, what God really wants is for absolutely everyone to be brought into the life God intends for us, and to know it; to know the full and wonderful truth of it. The bottom line is this:

there is one God, and only one,
and there is one person standing between God and humanity
to bring us together:
Christ Jesus, who was as human as us
and who put his own life on the line
so that everyone else could be set free.
All this was made clear once and for all.

The work to which I have been appointed is the work of broadcasting this news. You can take my word for this; I wouldn’t lie to you. God has made me an ambassador-at-large, so that I might teach those outside the Jewish family to believe and trust in this truth.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Speaking to his followers, Jesus said, “Have you heard the story about the rich tycoon and his shifty business manager? One day the tycoon was presented with evidence that his business was seriously under-performing due to reckless management. So he called in his business manager and sacked him on the spot, saying, ‘Go and clear out your office and hand over the books for a full audit.’

“The manager said to himself, ‘What am I going to do now. I’m out of work and my reputation is shot. I’m not fit enough for manual labour, and I couldn’t bear to be seen receiving welfare. I know what I’ll do. I’ve got a sure-fire way to ensure that there will be plenty of people only too happy to help me out.’

“So, before clearing out his office, he went to work and called up all the business’s debtors, one at a time. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my boss?’

“The debtor replied, ‘I owe him for a hundred barrels of oil.’

“The manager said, ‘Sit down and sign here, and you will only owe for fifty.’

“To another he said, ‘And how much do you owe?’

“‘I owe your boss for a hundred tonnes of wheat,’ the debtor replied.

“The manager said, “‘Sit down and sign here, and it will be written down to eighty.’

“After the transactions had all been signed and sealed, the tycoon discovered what had happened. All he could do was shake his head in admiration over the cunning ingenuity of the shifty business manager.”

Jesus went on to say, “You see, that’s how it is. The people who belong to this present world are far better equipped to dodge and weave their way through their dealings with one another than you lot are, and you belong to the light. So take it from me, if you’ve got a fistful of filthy lucre, use it to help other people out. That way, when it runs out, you’ll have friends for life.

“Those who can be trusted with a little
can be trusted with a lot.
Those who are dishonest over little things
are also dishonest over big things.
If you can’t even be trusted with a fistful of filthy lucre,
who is going to trust you with things of real value?
If you can’t be trusted to look after other people’s things,
who is going give you anything to keep as your own?

“No one can play on two teams.
You’ll either give your best to one
and under-perform for the other,
or short-change one
and give your heart and soul for the other.
You can’t dedicate yourself to both God and financial success.”

©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.

“Listen to me, you who wipe your feet on those in need;
you who destroy the poor for your own gain.
You resent religious holidays
because they interrupt your wheeling and dealing.
You demand twenty-four hour, seven-day trading,
so that you can rip people off without ceasing.
Your advertising is all deceit and delusion.
You rig the odds and the interest rates.
You lure the poor into crippling debt
until you own them – body and soul –
and then charge them again for owing you money.

“I, the LORD, swear on the Bible you so proudly wave,
that I will not forget a single one of your mongrel actions.”

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

You are the greatest, LORD!

We, your servants, can’t stop singing your praises;
the mere mention of your name sets us singing!

From now on and forever,
your name will be held sacred, LORD.

From east to west, from dawn to dusk,
your name will inspire songs of praise.

You are ranked number one, LORD,
way above even the greatest nations,
outshining even the sun and the stars.

Can anyone compare with you, LORD?
Is there anyone else even close to your league?
Not likely! You are seated so high
that you look down even to see the sky!

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 give the infertile couple a family
filling their lives with the laughter of children.

You are the greatest, LORD!

©2001 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 you desire everyone to be saved
and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

The earth is your handiwork, but it has brought you tears;
you created the nations, but they have brought you grief.
You sent your law and prophets,
but your people served idols and wealth before you,
and were unfaithful with all you entrusted to them.

When we despaired of ever being restored to health,
you lived up to the name of “Saviour”,
sending us your child, Jesus the Christ
— himself human —
who gave himself as a ransom for all.
Although his blood was shed in Jerusalem,
you raised him to life
and now and forever, he is our mediator in your presence,
welcoming us with love and renewing us through prayer
that we might live faithfully in all godliness and dignity.

Therefore with .....

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

We thank you that though we have brought you grief,
your son, Jesus Christ, gave himself as a ransom for all,
and is, now and forever, our mediator in your presence,
that we might live faithfully in all godliness and dignity.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

(Preface reformatted for use apart from communion)

We give you all thanks and praise, O God,
for you desire everyone to be saved
and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

The earth is your handiwork, but it has brought you tears;
you created the nations, but they have brought you grief.
You sent your law and prophets,
but your people served idols and wealth before you,
and were unfaithful with all you entrusted to them.

When we despaired of ever being restored to health,
you lived up to the name of “Saviour”,
sending us your child, Jesus the Christ
— himself human —
who gave himself as a ransom for all.
Although his blood was shed in Jerusalem,
you raised him to life
and now and forever, he is our mediator in your presence,
welcoming us with love and renewing us through prayer
that we might live faithfully in all godliness and dignity.

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

Jesus Christ, has lived up to the name of “Saviour”
for he gave himself as a ransom for all
to rescue us and forgive our sins.

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

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Go now
and continue to offer prayers and thanksgiving for everyone.
Be shrewd in dealing with the world around you
but do not be seduced into serving wealth.
Weep for those who suffer
and share faith and truth with all.

And may God welcome you with love;
May Christ Jesus give you knowledge of the truth;
And may the Holy Spirit lead you into all godliness and dignity.

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. Is moral integrity for weaklings?
    A sermon on Luke 16: 1-13 by Nathan Nettleton
  2. Learning from Low-life Scum
    A sermon on Luke 16: 1-13 by Nathan Nettleton
  3. Pray for Them?!!!
    A sermon on 1 Timothy 2:1-7 by Nathan Nettleton
  4. Defrauding for Jesus
    A sermon on Luke 16: 1-13 by Nathan Nettleton
  5. Assessing Claims and Detaining God
    A sermon on Luke 16:1-13; Jeremiah 8:18 – 9:1; & 1 Timothy 2:1-7 by Nathan Nettleton
  6. Feeling Depressed and Following Jesus
    A sermon on Jeremiah 8:18 – 9:1 by Nathan Nettleton
  7. A Clever Rogue and Outrageous Graciousness
    A sermon on Luke 16: 1-13 by Gilbert Joyce

Details

Date:
21 September 2025
Series: