Paraphrases of the Scripture Lections
for Visitation (May 31)
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.



* 1 Samuel 2: 1-10

After the birth of her son, Samuel, Hannah prayed the following prayer:

ďThanks to you, LORD, I am full of joy;
    thanks to you, I can stand strong and proud.
I can return the insults that were hurled at me,
    and kick up my heels, because you have set me free.

There is no other god like you, LORD,
    no one who can hold a candle to you;
        not even the ancient rock is as dependable as you.

I can tell the proud to stop their boasting;
    tell the arrogant to put a sock in it.
You, LORD, know us inside and out;
    you see whether or not we live up to our words.

You, LORD, disarm the powerful,
    and redistribute their strength to the helpless.
Those who consumed to excess are now queuing at soup kitchens,
    but those who were deprived now feast in splendour.
Infertile couples are having children, one after the other,
    while those who flaunted their children
        find their families falling apart.

Life is yours to give or to take, LORD;
    you can send someone to the land of the dead,
        and you can bring them back again.

You, LORD, can make us or break us;
    you can put us on a pedestal or knock us off.
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 can do all this because the earth is yours;
    you set it up and you wrote the rules.

To those who are faithful, you guarantee safe passage;
    those who are corrupt soon lose sight of any light to steer by,
    for no matter how strong people are,
    they canít make it alone.

You are the LORD!
    Those who try to obstruct you
        find that it is like standing in the path of a train
        as you thunder towards your destination.
You, LORD, have the final word on all that is done on earth.
    You will give strength and power to your chosen ruler.Ē

©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net


* Psalm 113

You are the greatest, LORD!

We, your servants, canít 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

* Romans 12: 9-16b

........See to it that your love is for real and without pretence. Avoid corruption like the plague. Dig your heels in and donít be budged from the side of good. Love one another, and not just in theory but with warmth and friendly affection. If you need something to compete over, see who can score the most points for treating everyone else like royalty. Donít let your enthusiasm get slack, but keep yourselves on the boil and work hard for the Lord. Celebrate in anticipation of all that is to come. When you are being put through the wringer, tough it out, and pray all the harder. Do what you can to help out other Christians who are in need, and work at making strangers feel welcome and at home among you.
........When others persecute you, wish them all the best and pray that God will look after them. Seek the best for them; donít wish disaster on them. When others are celebrating, celebrate with them. When others are hurting, share the pain with them. Stay in tune with one another, living a shared life based on common commitments. Donít be full of yourselves, but hang out with those who the world writes off as nobodies.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



* Luke 1:39-57

    When the angel told Mary that both she and her relative Elizabeth were going to have babies, Mary took the first opportunity to make the trip to visit Elizabeth. Elizabeth lived with her husband Zechariah in a Judean town in the hills. Mary sang out as soon as she arrived at their house, and when she heard the greeting, Elizabeth felt the baby jump in her womb. The Holy Spirit welled up in Elizabeth and she cried out with joy, saying:

ďYou have been blessed like no other woman!
    And doubly blessed is the child in your womb!
And what about me? Why am I so blessed,
    that my Lordís own mother should knock at my door?
The moment your greeting reach my ears,
    the baby in my womb began bouncing with glee!
Clearly you are Godís favoured one,
    because you believed what God said to you;
        trusting God to follow through on every promise.

Mary too was bursting with joy. She said:

ďLet me turn the spotlight on Godís greatness!
    With all that I am I dance with joy over God, my saviour!
God has smiled upon me, though I was no one special.
    Now Iíll be remembered forever as the favoured one.
The supreme God has done wonderful things for me.
    No other name is in the same league as Godís.

In every generation, those who treat God with respect
    are rewarded with showers of mercy.
With sleeves rolled up, God has made a show of strength,
    and sent packing those who were so full of themselves.

God has kicked the power mongers out of office,
    and lifted the downtrodden back to their feet.
God has put on a feast for those who were hungry,
    and slammed the door on the rich without giving them a bite.

The Lordís servant Israel receives a helping hand.
    God always remembers them with tender care.
This is exactly what God promised long ago,
    a vow made to Abraham and Sarah for every generation.Ē

Mary didnít return home for about three months, but stayed until Elizabethís baby was born. Elizabeth gave birth to a boy who was given the name John.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net