Paraphrases of the Scripture Lections
for the Monday of Holy Week
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.


* Isaiah 42:1-9

The Lord says:

Let me introduce to you the one who serves me,
    the one I am backing all the way.
I have chosen him,
    and I am bursting with pride over him.
I have given him my spirit in full measure,
    and he will bring about justice everywhere on earth.

He won’t go thrusting himself into the public eye,
    or grandstanding in the street with pompous speeches.
He won’t exploit the vulnerability of damaged people,
    or squeeze the last drops out of those who are running on empty.
He will be completely fair dinkum
    about making justice a reality.

He will not run out of steam or throw in the towel
    until his mission is accomplished;
until justice holds sway everywhere on earth
    and the world’s peoples are eager to learn from him.

I am the one who created the universe
    and stretched out the skies;
the one who constructed the earth
    and produced everything that grows from it;
the one who breathes life into the world’s people
    and kindles the spark of life within them;
I am the LORD your God;
    so listen to what I have to say:

I, the LORD, have called you to stand for what is right.
    I have put my arm around you and kept you safe.
I have made you a shining light for all the earth to see,
    to draw all people everywhere
        into a permanent alliance with me.
I have given you a privileged role
    as the one who enables the blind to see the light;
    the one who opens the gates of the stifling detention centres
        and welcomes the prisoners into the fresh air of freedom.

I am the LORD, that is my name;
    I don’t allow pretenders to cash in on my glory
        or rip off my image to promote their frauds.

Take note: everything I warned you about has happened on cue.
    Now I am announcing my new projects;
        I’m letting you in on them even before they get started.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



* Psalm 36: 5-11

You unwavering love fills the universe, LORD;
........your loyalty is as timeless as the milky way.

Your passion for doing right
........is as solid as the mountain ranges;
your understanding of us
........is as deep as the oceans.

You set out to save the lives of every creature, LORD,
........and no one — not man nor woman,
................not bird nor beast — is left out of your care.

Your love, O God, is our greatest treasure!
........You keep a place for everyone
................under the shelter of your wings.

You invite all who come to feast at your table;
........the wine of your love flows like a river
................and no one’s glass is allowed to run dry.

Life bursts forth from you like a fountain;
........light shines from you and lights up our world.

Don’t ever give up on us, LORD;
........keep loving all who trust you,
........keep rescuing all whose hearts are in the right place.

Protect us from those who would trample us underfoot.
........Stand in the way of those who would drive us from the land.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



* Hebrews 9: 11-15

........The priests of old served in a great tent which people had made as the place to approach God here on earth, but when Christ came he bypassed the old tent. He came as the new high priest, bringing a new improved way of approaching God. Once and for all he went in to the real Holy Place of God’s presence, in the middle of the ultimate tent — heaven itself. He also bypassed the old sacrifices of goat and calf blood. Instead, he shed his own blood in the process of winning permanent freedom for everyone.
........Under the old arrangements, people were not permitted to come and worship God if they had done something that made them officially unclean. They had to be purified first in a ritual that required them to be sprinkled with blood from goats and bulls and with the ashes of a sacrificed calf. Now if such a ritual was enough to clear up these problems, imagine how much more thoroughly our lives can be cleaned up — inside and out — by the blood of Christ! Christ’s self-sacrifice — which because of his spotless record was the greatest possible sacrifice — was made in the power of God’s Spirit to wipe the slate clean for us. No longer are we weighed down by the emotional debris left over from previous futile efforts to sort things out with God. Now we are free to join the joyous dance of life that honours God!
........This is why we say that Jesus is the mediator. He brought the two sides together — us and God — to establish a new alliance. It took his own death to bring the job to completion, but he succeeded in having written off the debts we had accumulated by breaking the rules of the old agreement, and having us written back into the list of those who God has called — those who will inherit for all time all that God has promised to give.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



* John 12: 1-11

........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.”
........The news that Jesus was back in Bethany spread quickly and the crowds gathered to see him. Many were also keen to see Lazarus, because they had heard about Jesus raising him from the dead. When news of this reached the senior religious authorities, they began plotting to have Lazarus killed as well. They wanted to get rid of him because he had inspired so many of their followers to give up on them and switch their allegiance to Jesus.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net