Year B
Proper 21
Sunday 26 September 2021



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 in love and mercy you have rescued us
from all that would harm us or lead us to destruction.

The earth and sky were created by your hand,
and the land brings forth its harvest when you say.
You committed yourself in love to your people,
and saved them from the teeth of their enemies.

When we wandered into the pathways of death,
you heard our plea for life
and came to save us in your son, Jesus Christ.
Confronting demonic forces
and offering your healing and forgiveness to all,
he honoured as allies all who took the side of life.
He was killed by those who block the paths of the humble,
but you raised him back to life
and sent your Spirit to fill us with love, mercy
and an uncompromising passion for righteousness.

Therefore with .....

©2000 Nathan Nettleton www.laughingbird.net




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

We give thanks for your son, Jesus Christ.
who offered your healing and forgiveness to all
and honoured as allies all who took the side of life.
Though him you sent your Spirit to fill us with love, mercy
and an uncompromising passion for righteousness.

©2003 Nathan Nettleton www.laughingbird.net





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

We give you all thanks and praise, O God,
for in love and mercy you have rescued us
from all that would harm us or lead us to destruction.

The earth and sky were created by your hand,
and the land brings forth its harvest when you say.
You committed yourself in love to your people,
and saved them from the teeth of their enemies.

When we wandered into the pathways of death,
you heard our plea for life
and came to save us in your son, Jesus Christ.
Confronting demonic forces
and offering your healing and forgiveness to all,
he honoured as allies all who took the side of life.
He was killed by those who block the paths of the humble,
but you raised him back to life
and sent your Spirit to fill us with love, mercy
and an uncompromising passion for righteousness.

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.

©2000 Nathan Nettleton www.laughingbird.net





Declaration of Grace / Absolution

Our confession of sins before one another
opens us to receive the healing that God offers.
God has promised that those who pray in faith
will be raised up to new life
and forgiven for all their sins.

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

©2000 Nathan Nettleton www.laughingbird.net





Commission & Benediction

Go now and celebrate wherever God’s name is honoured.
When suffering comes, pray in faith.
In times of joy, sing songs of praise.
Persevere in prayer and action
to bring the fallen back to the truth.

And may God save you from all that would harm you;
May Christ Jesus heal you and raise you up;
and may the Holy Spirit anoint you
   and give you peace with one another.

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

©2000 Nathan Nettleton www.laughingbird.net







Paraphrases of the Scripture Lections
for Proper 21 - Year B - Sunday 26 September 2021
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.



* Esther 7: 1-6, 9-10; 9: 20-22

(When Xerxes was King of Persia, his prime minister, Haman, conspired to exterminate the entire Jewish population in a single day. The King’s wife, Esther, was Jewish, and she and her cousin Mordecai set out to thwart Haman’s genocidal plan.)
    Queen Esther put on a special dinner and invited the King and Haman to join her. As they were enjoying the fine wine at the end of the meal, the King said to Esther, “You had something you wanted to ask me, Esther my queen. What is it? I’d be happy to give you whatever you want, even half my Kingdom if it would make you happy.”
    Queen Esther answered, “Your Majesty, if you really love me and you want to do something for me, you can save my life and the lives of my people. That’s all I ask. A price has been put on our heads, mine and all my people. The order has been given to wipe us out, to eradicate us like vermin. We are to be marched off to our deaths, exterminated. I would have kept my protest to myself if we were only to be sold as slaves – I couldn’t expect a king to be concerned over so small a matter, but we are about to be massacred!”
    The King nearly exploded. “Who is responsible for this outrage?” he demanded. “Name names.”
    Esther replied, “The treacherous enemy is right here, your Majesty. This murdering mongrel, Haman!”
    Haman didn’t know where to look. He just froze on the spot between the king and queen, like a scared rabbit. Then one of the King’s personal servants, a eunuch named Harbona, spoke up. “Your Majesty, if you look out your window you will spot the biggest gallows you have ever seen right outside Haman’s house. He built them to hang Mordecai the Jew – the very same Mordecai who warned you of the plot to assassinate you.”
    “Right,” said the King. “String Haman up on his own gallows!”
    So the guards dragged Haman out and hanged him on the gallows he had built to get rid of Mordecai. That satisfied the King’s anger.
    Mordecai kept written records of all that had occurred. He sent letters to all the Jewish communities in the empire with the following instructions:

In the sixth month of each year, declare a long weekend on the 14th and 15th. Hold celebrations to remember that these were the days on which we Jews were saved from our persecutors. This month began in fear and grief but it has become a time of joy and celebration. So make these days a festival – throw parties, eat and drink, sing and dance, give presents to one another, and see that you include the poor in your giving.

©2000 Nathan Nettleton www.laughingbird.net




* Psalm 124

If you had not sided with us, LORD,
........we all know where we’d have ended up.

If we had not had you on our side
........when people turned against us,
................attacking with the fury of a wounded shark,
........they would have made mince meat out of us.

Their frenzied rage would have dragged us under,
........their lust for blood would have torn us apart.
The thrashing waters would have closed over us,
........hiding the violence,
................concealing our fate.

All the credit and all the honours go to you, LORD;
........it was you who saved our flesh
................from the teeth of our enemies.

Thanks to you, we have shaken off their grip,
........and soared to safety, as free as a bird.
Their savage attack was repelled,
........and we have escaped unharmed.

It is you, LORD, the creator of heaven and earth,
........who guarantees our safety.

©2000 Nathan Nettleton www.laughingbird.net




* James 5: 13-20

........Are some of you doing it tough? — well then, pray. Are some of you on top of the world? — then sing! Sing songs of praise. Are some of you sick? Well, call up the church leaders and ask them to come and anoint you with oil and pray for you. Take your medication, but put your trust in the Lord. Faith-filled prayer can make all the difference. The Lord will put you back on your feet, healed and whole.
........Those who are sick with guilt can do the same and their sins will be forgiven. Get into the practice of confessing your sins honestly to one another and praying for one another. This sort of prayerful openness and honesty will enable you to receive God’s healing.
........When people have got their lives in order, their prayer is a potent force. Take Elijah for example. He was just as human as the next bloke, but when he prayed hard, asking God to send a drought, there was not a drop of rain anywhere for the next three and a half years. Then he prayed again, asking for rain, and sure enough, the clouds opened and the crops began to grow again.
........Sisters and brothers, if one of your number wanders off track and falls away from the truth, don’t give up on them. No one is beyond hope, so do your best to bring them back. No matter what sins they might have fallen into, if you get someone back on track you will have rescued a precious life from disaster. Any number of sins will be forgiven as a result of your loving persistence.

©2000 Nathan Nettleton www.laughingbird.net




* Mark 9: 38-50

    John, one of the twelve, reported to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, we came across a man who was exposing and expelling demonic forces and claiming to be doing it on your behalf. We tried to stop him because he was not a member of our group.”
    Jesus wasn’t impressed. “Don’t stop him,” he said. “If someone acts powerfully for good and gives me the credit, they’re not going to then turn around and stab me in the back, are they? Those who are not opposing us are our allies. I’m not kidding when I say that even if all a person does to support us is offer you a drink of water because you are associated with me, they’ll get the thumbs up from God just like you.
     “On the other hand, if someone – however insignificant they might seem – is believing in me, and you put up a road block and turn them back, you’ll be made to pay for it. You’d have been better off being dumped in the middle of the bay wearing concrete boots.
    “Don’t be hard on others and soft on yourselves. Take the axe to the roots of division within yourselves. If it was just your hand that kept causing trouble, you could just hack it off! Disabled but embracing life is a whole lot better than having your perfect body sent to hell. If it was just your foot that kept tripping you up, you could amputate it! Better hobbling into heaven than prancing into the fires of hell! And if hostility was caused by your eye playing tricks on you, you could just gouge it out. Living the life of God with an eye patch is a whole lot better than having two eyes to feed to the worms in your grave. Eyes aren’t much use when they’re filled with smoke, and in hell the fires never go out!
    “Don’t flee the refining fire though. It comes to everyone and, as painful as it is, it can burn away whatever is contaminating your heart. If you had a cup of salt that was so contaminated that it didn’t even taste salty any more, what could you do with it? It would be useless. Keep your saltiness at full strength and the peace among you fully flavoured.”

©2000 Nathan Nettleton www.laughingbird.net



Alternative Hebrew Bible Lections themed to the Gospel Lection


* Numbers 11: 4-6, 10-16, 24-29

    As the people travelled through the wilderness, a group of rabble rousers among them began to stir up trouble over the lack of meat to eat. Before long all the Israelites were craving meat and whingeing about it endlessly:
“What wouldn’t we give for some decent food?! Remember how good the food was back in Egypt: mouth-watering fish, and a wonderful selection of fresh fruit and vegetables. We ate like kings! But now we are wasting away out here with nothing to eat but manna for breakfast, lunch and tea.”
Everywhere he went in the camp, Moses heard the people standing around their tents whingeing and moaning about it. He was angry and embarrassed that the people under his leadership were causing such offence to God, so he went and spoke to the LORD saying:
“Why have you got it in for me? What did I do to deserve being made responsible for these people? They weren’t conceived or born because of anything I did, so how come you have made it my job to nurse them like babies and carry them on my shoulders like toddlers. It was you, not me, who sealed the deal with their ancestors, promising to give them this land, so why is it my job to get them there? Where am I supposed to get meat to feed them all and stop them from whingeing to me all day about how hungry they are? The responsibility for these people is more than I can handle. I’m not up to the job. If you can’t treat me any better than this, just kill me now! Do me a favour and put me out of my misery.”
So the LORD said to Moses, “Gather together seventy of Israel’s most respected and influential tribal elders, and get them to assemble with you at my Sacred Tent.”
    So Moses went out and told to the people what the LORD had said. He sent for seventy key tribal elders and had them assemble in a circle around the Sacred Tent while he went inside. The LORD came down, hidden in cloud, and spoke with Moses. As they talked, the LORD touched the seventy elders with the same spirit that was at work in Moses. During the short period of time that the spirit rested on them, they were all shouting words of prophesy.
    Two of the seventy elders who Moses had sent for were named Eldad and Medad. They had not made it to the Sacred Tent, but the spirit touched them just like the others and they began shouting words of prophesy right where they were in the camp. A young man ran and reported this to Moses, saying “Eldad and Medad are shouting like prophets in the camp!”
    Joshua son of Nun, who served as right hand man to Moses, said, “You can’t let them do that, Boss. Have them stopped.”
    But Moses replied, “Why? Are you worried about protecting my position? I only wish that the LORD would give the same spirit to all the people so that the whole lot of them would become prophets!”

©2002 Nathan Nettleton www.laughingbird.net




* Psalm 19: 7-14

Your revealed will is right on the mark, LORD;
........it gives our souls their second wind.
What you says goes,
........and any fool can wise up by taking note.

Your instructions are spot on, LORD;
........anyone who follows them will be glad they did.
What you direct us to do is easy to see,
........and once seen, everything become clear.

Respect for you keeps us true, LORD,
........nothing can corrupt it, now or ever.
What you decide is always accurate;
........a fair ruling, beyond dispute.

Your Word is worth far more
........than even diamond encrusted gold!
It is sweeter by far
........than any mouth watering delicacy,
................even chocolate dipped strawberries with cream!

But that’s not all!
........Your Word, O LORD, keeps me out of danger,
................and following it pays off richly.
Can anyone put their finger on all their own faults?
........LORD, eradicate the bugs I haven’t even identified yet.

Remind me not to entertain sour contemptuous thoughts,
........and don’t let them start pulling my strings.
Without them, I can stay on course,
........and keep my record clean.

That’s what I want, O LORD.
........I want all the things I say,
................and all the things I mull over in my heart,
........to be things I’d be proud to offer to you,
................for you are the bedrock of my life;
........................the one who puts me back where I belong.

©2000 Nathan Nettleton www.laughingbird.net