Paraphrases of the Scripture Lections
for Annunciation of the Lord (March 25)
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 7: 10-14

The LORD sent word to King Ahaz of Judah, saying:

I, the LORD your God, will give you a sign so that you can be sure that it is really me who is sending you this promise of safety. What sign do you want? Something dramatic, deep the earth or high in the sky? You name it, and I’ll do it.
But Ahaz refused, saying, “I will ask no such thing. Far be it from me to demand guarantees from the LORD.” So Isaiah the prophet spoke on behalf of the LORD, saying:
Then get this into your head, you who rule from David’s throne. Haven’t you made enough people sick and tired of your weak-as-water religious posturing? Do you have to try it on with God as well?! Well, the Lord is going to go ahead and give you a sign anyway. Check this out: there is a girl who is pregnant. She will give birth to a baby boy and he will be given the name Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’
2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



* Psalm 45

My heart overflows with words of delight;

    a song of love bursts forth for the king;

    my voice as charmed as the poet’s pen.

You, my king, are a man of unsurpassed beauty.

   Every word that passes your lips is generous and inspiring.

   God’s richest blessings are yours forever.

Warrior, present yourself armed and in uniform,

    in all your splendour and majesty.

Ride forth in glory, the pride of your people,

    to defend the cause of truth and justice.

May your arm be strong and your skills razor sharp;

    may every blow land with telling effect,

       piercing the opposition to your righteous reign,

        bringing to their knees the enemies of life.

Your throne is God-given, and will never be shaken.

    Your royal power is wielded for justice.

       You have a passion for integrity

        and a loathing for corruption.

Therefore God has chosen you above all others,

    crowned you with joy like no other has known.

Rich and exotic fragrances cascade from your royal robes,

    and your palace is alive with music and dancing.

The daughters of kings wait on you, hand and foot;

    and on your arm is your chosen bride in a gown of liquid gold.

O chosen daughter, bride of the king, listen to my advice:

    leave your father’s home and don’t look back

        for the king is wild with desire for you.

What more could you want? Abandon yourself to him!

    Wedding gifts will arrive from every nation,

        the wealthy outdo each other with their presents.

The inner beauty of your bride, O king,
 
    outshines even her wedding gown,

        woven with gold and sparkling with jewels.

In dazzling beauty she is brought to you

    with her chosen bridesmaids at hand.

Joy and laughter process in with her,
 
    and the whole palace erupts with elation.

Soon you will have children, continuing your family line,

    and the thrones of the earth will be theirs.

No one will ever forget you,

    your fame will inspire generation after generation,

    and songs will be sung in praise of you forever and ever.

2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net


OR

* Psalm 40: 5-10

You are in a league of your own, LORD God;
    nothing and no one comes within a bull’s roar of you!
I can’t keep track of all the amazing things you’ve done
    or all the generous plans you’ve made for us.
I could talk about them till the cows came home
    and still have barely scratched the surface.

You are not looking for gifts from us, LORD;
    nothing we own is any use to you;
Your generosity and mercy are not for sale;
    but you have given us ears and asked us to listen.

So I am giving you my “Yes!”
    I’ll make your book my own and live by it.
Doing what pleases you will be my greatest delight,
    for you are my God and I’m taking your ways to heart.

When all your people gathered,
    I spoke up about how you had bailed me out.
I gave them the full story; I left nothing out;
    you know this is true, LORD.

I have made no secret of the help you gave me;
    I have put it all out in the open.
I have told everyone how you saved my life
    and how we can trust you completely.
I have put it all on the public record
    and kept nothing to myself
    about your rock-solid love or dependability.

2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net





* Hebrews 10: 4-10

The old system of dealing with sin just wasn’t up to the job. There is no way that the blood of sacrificed animals could fix the problem. Because of this, Christ came into the world saying,

    “God, you don’t want more sacrifices and offerings.
        I know you get no pleasure from all that stuff,
            even when it’s done sincerely and by the book.
    But you have prepared a body for me, God,
        and I come now to do what you really want,
            for it is what I do that is really ‘by the book’.

Do you see what he’s saying there? He’s saying that God gets neither satisfaction nor pleasure from all the different kinds of offerings that the law prescribed for sin and for various other things. And he’s going further than that because he’s saying that he’s here to do what God really wants. This is a total change over. He is abolishing the previous system and putting a new one in place. So now, according to what God really wanted, Jesus has dealt with sin once and for all, at the cost of his own body, and brought us all up to scratch for God.

2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



* Luke 1: 26-38

    God sent the angel Gabriel to a town called Nazareth in the region of Galilee, to speak to a young woman named Mary. Mary was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, whose family line went back to King David. The angel approached Mary and said, “Hello there! You’ve got it made! The Lord is with you and has chosen you.”
    But Mary was freaking out over this and didn’t know what to make of the angel’s words, so he spoke to her again, saying, “There is no need to be frightened, Mary. God is smiling on you. Look what God is about to do: a child will be conceived in your womb. You will give birth to a baby boy, and you will name him Jesus. He will have a great future, and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will put him on the throne established by his ancestor David. He will lead God’s people forever, establishing a culture that will never die out.”
    Mary replied, “How can this possibly happen? I am still a virgin.”
    The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will take hold of you, and the life-force of the Most High will enfold you. Therefore the child that is born will belong to God, and will be called God’s Son. Check it out: your wrinkly old relative Elizabeth is also carrying a baby boy in her womb. Even when she was young she was infertile, but now she is six months pregnant. It just goes to show that when God gets involved, nothing will ever be impossible.”
    So Mary said, “Okay. Count me in. I’m at the service of the Lord. Let these things happen to me just as you have said.”
    And with that, the angel was gone.

2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net