Year B
Proper 18
Sunday 9 September 2018


Eucharistic Preface


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 embrace your people now and forever
and promise the Kingdom to all who love you.

The universe came into existence at your command
and rich and poor alike have you as their maker.
Through Moses you taught your people
to provide for the welfare of those in need,
and through the prophets you thundered against our injustice
and called for repentance in word and deed.

In your son, Jesus Christ,
your love and healing mercy
reached beyond the bounds of our prejudice
and demonstrated your compassion
for all who are needy, afflicted or vulnerable.
Though he was killed by those who sow injustice,
you raised him to new life
that he might sow in us the seeds of faith,
filling our communities with love and justice
and bringing forth a rich harvest of good works.

Therefore with .....

©2003 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net


Short Preface
(for insertion into Eucharistic prayers with fixed prefaces)

We give thanks for your son, Jesus Christ,
through whom your love and healing mercy
reached beyond the bounds of our prejudice,
and who is now sowing in us the seeds of faith,
that we might bring forth a rich harvest of good works.

©2003 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



General Prayer of Thanksgiving
(Preface reformatted for use apart from communion)

We give you all thanks and praise, O God,
for you embrace your people now and forever
and promise the Kingdom to all who love you.

The universe came into existence at your command
and rich and poor alike have you as their maker.
Through Moses you taught your people
to provide for the welfare of those in need,
and through the prophets you thundered against our injustice
and called for repentance in word and deed.

In your son, Jesus Christ,
your love and healing mercy
reached beyond the bounds of our prejudice
and demonstrated your compassion
for all who are needy, afflicted or vulnerable.
Though he was killed by those who sow injustice,
you raised him to new life
that he might sow in us the seeds of faith,
filling our communities with love and justice
and bringing forth a rich harvest of good works.

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.

©2003 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



Declaration of Grace / Absolution

When we fail to keep even one point of God’s law,
we become accountable for all of it,
but God’s mercy triumphs over judgment,
setting us free and giving us a faith that is active for good.

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

©2003 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



Commission & Benediction

Go now, and invest your lives in the works of faith.
Make a name for yourselves for generosity and compassion.
Fulfil God’s holy law
by putting love into action as eagerly for others
as you would for yourselves.

And may God be your defender and provider;
May Christ Jesus dispel all that disturbs or disables you;
and may the Holy Spirit make you rich in faith
   and loving and merciful in action.

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

©2003 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net





Paraphrases of the Scripture Lections
for Proper 18 - Year B - Sunday 9 September 2018
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.


* Proverbs 22: 1-2, 8-9, 22-23

Given the choice between a good reputation
    and triple-A credit rating,
        take the good reputation.
Respect will earn you what money can’t buy.

God created everybody equal;
    and at the end of the day,
        the rich and the poor both answer to the same God.

Anyone who invests in injustice
    will reap dividends of disaster,
and angrily throwing their weight around
    won’t get them out of trouble.

If you really want to maximise your returns,
    open your hands, open your table,
        share what you have with those in need.

Don’t rip off the poor just because they’re easy targets,
    and don’t use the law to take advantage of them
        just because you can afford better lawyers.
If you do, you’ll find God rising to their defence,
    and if you’ve stomped them into the mud,
        the LORD will stomp you into the mud.

©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net


* Psalm 125

Those who put their trust in you, O LORD,
........are like Mount Dandenong:
................solid, calm and dependable.

Like the mountain watching over the city,
........so you, LORD, watch over you people,
................offering protection, now and forever.

Where people are committed to playing straight,
........you will not let injustice dominate.
................If it did, even trustworthy people
........................might let evil through their guard.

O LORD, may good things come
........to those who have stayed true,
........to those who have integrity
................and goodness in their hearts.

But as for those who have embraced the ways of corruption,
........be it on their own heads if they are swept away
................when you bring evil to its final end.

May all your people enjoy peace, O LORD.

©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net


* James 2: 1-10, (11-13), 14-17

........Sisters and brothers, if you really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, how come you still play favourites? If people walk into one of your meetings and you make a fuss of the ones dressed up to the nines and looking a million dollars, ushering them to the best seats in the house, while at the same time turning up your nose at those dressed like battlers, down on their luck, telling them to stand out in the foyer, aren’t you practising apartheid, segregating God’s children? You’re as crooked as a judge who bases your sentence on the length of your skirt!
........Get this straight in your minds, dear friends. God has turned the world’s opinion polls upside down. Those who have been deprived of what the world values have a huge head-start in the faith stakes. Their names are at the top of the list of those who God has chosen to inherit the riches of the kingdom. All who love God have an equal share in God’s promises, but you’re insulting some of them by means-testing your welcome. And just think about it — it’s the fat-cats who cut your wages and increase your hours, isn’t it? It’s the silvertails who use their fancy lawyers to bleed you dry. Aren’t they the ones who even make a mockery of Christ by invoking his name to baptise their positions of privilege?
........It is quite simple to do the right thing — just fulfil the basic law of God’s realm, as spelt out in the scriptures: “Love everyone else as you love yourself.” But if you show favouritism to the young and beautiful or the wealthy and powerful, then you are violating that law and you stand convicted by it. It will show you for what you are — a sinner. You see, you can’t pick and choose when it comes to the law of God. You can’t claim exemption from one law on the grounds that you’ve kept the rest. You can’t pretend that because you’ve never had an affair you should be regarded as a model of virtue and excused one little murder. God ruled out both sexual betrayal and murder, and either one puts you outside the law of love. See to it that everything you say and do is consistent with the law of love which sets us free, for your living of it sets the tone for how you’ll be judged by it. If you’ve been harsh and intolerant in your judgment of others, you can be sure of copping the same yourself. Mercy and generosity however will outbid judgment every time.
........Brothers and sisters, what’s the good of claiming to be a person of faith if you never put love into action? Do you think a head full of theoretical faith is enough to save you? You’ve got to be kidding. Think about this: if someone you know has barely got a stitch to wear or a scrap to eat, and you walk past saying, “Praise the Lord, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and fail to offer even a coat or a sandwich, what good is that? You’ve been worse than useless. Faith that doesn’t express itself in compassionate action is obviously dead — rotting, putrid and no use to anyone.

©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net


* Mark 7: 24-37

    Jesus moved on to the district around the city of Tyre, and stayed in a house where he didn’t think anyone would be able to find him. He stuck out like a sore thumb though, and the word got around in no time. He’d barely had time to take the weight off his feet when there was a woman bowing and scraping before him, begging for help. She wasn’t even Jewish, but came from the part of Syria known as Phoenicia. She had a daughter who was deeply disturbed by some demonic force, and she begged Jesus to set her free from it. But Jesus said to her, “First things first. You can’t snatch food out of the children’s mouths and throw it to the dogs.”
    But she didn’t give up. “Sir, even dogs know to sit under the table when the children are eating because there is always plenty of scraps for them.”
    Jesus was won over. “You’re absolutely right! Your words have carried the day. Go home. The demons are gone. Your daughter is free.”
    So she hurried home and sure enough, her daughter was relaxing on the bed and the demonic torment was completely gone.

    Jesus moved on again, leaving the district of Tyre and heading back towards Lake Galilee via Sidon. As he passed through the district of the Ten Towns, some people begged him to stop and lay a healing hand on a man who was stone deaf and had such a severe speech impediment that he could hardly make himself understood. Jesus took the man aside, away from the eyes of the crowd. In the customary way, Jesus put his fingers in the man’s ears and then spat on his finger and touched the man’s tongue as he prayed for him. Looking heavenward, Jesus gave a deep groan and said, “Effatha!” which is the Aramaic word for “Open up.”
    And it happened, just like that. The man’s ears began to hear perfectly and his speech became steady and clear.
    Jesus gave them strict instructions to keep this to themselves, but he was wasting his breath. The more he tried to hush it up, the more energetic the grapevine got! Everyone was just so blown away by the things he did, that they told anyone who would listen. “You should see the things he can do – wonderful things. He even restores hearing to the deaf and the power of speech to the dumb!”

©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net


Alternative Hebrew Bible Lections themed to the Gospel Lection

* Isaiah 35: 4-7a

Encourage those who are fearing the worst;
    tell them not to give in to their fears but to hang in there.
Assure them that God is at hand;
    coming to pay back oppressors what they deserve;
        coming to rescue you, to set you free!

What a day that will be!
    Eyes long blind will open to colour and light!
        Ears long deaf will hear music and laughter!
    Legs long paralysed will dance like brolgas!
        Tongues long tied will sing like lyrebirds!

For reviving rains will fall on dry dusty land,
    and rivers will flow in the desert.
Hard-baked salt pans will become inland lakes,
    and cool water will gush up between scorching rocks.

©2003 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net


* Psalm 146

You are the best, LORD!
........With all my heart I sing your praises.
I will never stop talking you up;
........I won’t stop spruiking your goodness till the day I die.

There is no one but you that we can depend on, LORD;
........not experts, not leaders, no one.
No human being can give what we most need;
........no matter what their plans and schemes promise,
................the minute they’re gone, their promises die with them.

But we hit the jackpot when we look to you for help, LORD;
........when we put all our hopes in you — the God of our ancestors.
You are the one who made earth and sky,
........who poured out the seas and filled them with life.
You are true to your word no matter what;
........when people are ground into the dirt, you bring about justice;
................when people are left to starve, you come with food.

You, LORD, set the prisoners free.
........You, LORD, open the eyes of those who can’t see.
You, LORD, put the downtrodden back on their feet.

You, LORD, love those who do the right thing.
........You, LORD, keep a caring eye on the asylum seekers.
You stick up for those who have no one else to stick up for them,
........but you make the schemes of the corrupt backfire on them.

Take charge forever, LORD,
........rule from your sacred Mountain for all time.
You’re the best, LORD. We’re with you all the way!

©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net