Year C
Fourth Sunday in Lent
Sunday 31 March 2019


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 are always seeking the lost
and rescuing the enslaved.

You created the earth and called forth its crops.
In the days of your servant Joshua,
you led your people into a rich new land,
and celebrated with them as they tasted its first fruits.

In Jesus Christ, the old has gone and the new has come.
In him you have sought us out,
and welcomed us to your table.
When those who resented your grace crucified him,
you raised him to new life
and through him you are reconciling the world to yourself.
At the first sign of repentance, you run to us
with your arms open
and your heart full of compassion.
Though we squander our birthright,
you lay the table with the richest food and wine
to celebrate our restoration to your life.

Therefore with .....

©2001 Nathan Nettleton  LaughingBird.net


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

We thank you that in Jesus Christ, the old has gone and the new has come.
In him you have sought us out and,
though we had squandered our birthright,
you have laden the table with the richest food and wine
to celebrate our restoration to your life.

©2001 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 are always seeking the lost
and rescuing the enslaved.

You created the earth and called forth its crops.
In the days of your servant Joshua,
you led your people into a rich new land,
and celebrated with them as they tasted its first fruits.

In Jesus Christ, the old has gone and the new has come.
In him you have sought us out,
and welcomed us to your table.
When those who resented your grace crucified him,
you raised him to new life
and through him you are reconciling the world to yourself.
At the first sign of repentance, you run to us
with your arms open
and your heart full of compassion.
Though we squander our birthright,
you lay the table with the richest food and wine
to celebrate our restoration to your life.

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.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton  LaughingBird.net



Declaration of Grace / Absolution

God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself.
You who confess your wrong to God are pardoned.
There is rejoicing in heaven over you,
for you were lost but now are found,
dead, but now you are alive in Christ.

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

©2001 Nathan Nettleton  LaughingBird.net



Commission & Benediction

Go now as ambassadors for Christ
........and proclaim God’s message of reconciliation.
Trust in God, rejoice in the Lord,
and celebrate God’s grace as it enfolds even the unworthy.

And may God be your shelter and save you from ruin;
May Christ Jesus teach you and show you the path to walk;
And may the Holy Spirit watch out for you
   and encircle you with songs of freedom.

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

©2001 Nathan Nettleton  LaughingBird.net





Paraphrases of the Scripture Lections
for the Fourth Sunday in Lent - Year C - 31 March 2019
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.


* Joshua 5:9-12

    When the people of Israel had set up their first camp after crossing the river into the promised land, the LORD said to Joshua, “You all lived with the disgrace of being slaves in Egypt, but today I am wiping away your disgrace.”
    The place where they were camped has been known as Gilgal ever since, because it sounds like the Hebrew word meaning “wiped away”.
    They were still camping there at Gilgal in the flat country near Jericho on the fourteenth day of the month — the time set for the celebration of the sacred feast of Passover. That evening, they kept the feast for the first time in their new homeland. The very next day, the manna, which God had been giving them to eat, stopped appearing from heaven each morning. From then on they ate food produced on the land, there in Canaan. They began roasting grain and making flat-breads from the grain-crops growing in the land, and the manna was never seen again.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton  LaughingBird.net



* Psalm 32

What a blessing it is to be among those you have forgiven, LORD,
........those whose record of wrongdoing you have wiped clean.

People who are honest about their lives
........have everything going for them;
they never have to cover their tracks
........or worry that they’ll be in your bad books.

I used to keep my sins to myself, LORD,
........but they poisoned me from within;
wasting my body,
........tormenting my mind.

Day and night I felt your eyes following me;
........I lived in fear that you’d see right through me.
The joy of living evaporated
........in the burning heat of my guilt.

Then I decided to come clean with you, LORD,
........to own up to all I’d done and stop living a lie.
I made a full confession to you, LORD,
........and you gave me a full pardon, forgiving all my sin.

Now, like all your faithful people, LORD,
........I am always ready to open myself to you in prayer.
When trouble breaks its banks,
........your faithful ones are on safe ground.

You are like a bomb shelter for us, LORD;
........you protect us from danger.
Thanks to you, LORD, we can still laugh;
........we can dance around singing songs of freedom.

You have given us clear directions;
........you have pointed out the path we should follow.
You have kept a watchful eye on us
........and made sure we understood.

You have encouraged us to follow willingly,
........to understand and embrace your ways;
not to buck and snort like wild horses,
........fighting the reins until our strength is broken.

Those who refuse the straight and narrow
........will suffer for it, over and over;
but those who put their trust in you, LORD,
........will find love and loyalty wherever they go.

You are celebrated by all right-minded people, LORD;
........with open hearts we shout for joy;
................with clear minds we sing your praises.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton  LaughingBird.net

* 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

........Because of what Christ has done for everyone, we are careful not to assume that people are nothing more than what our eyes and ears tell us about them. In the past we made that mistake with Christ, but we now know a lot more of him than our eyes or ears alone could detect. Whenever anyone unites themselves to Christ, something new is created. What that person was becomes a thing of the past; they get a whole new start in life! This is all God’s doing! God wants to be at peace with us, and so sent Christ to bring about reconciliation. Now God is sending us to continue this same work of reconciliation. To put it another way, what God was doing in and through Christ, was rebuilding the trust and love that are supposed to flow in both directions between the world and God. To achieve that, God agreed not to hold against us anything we had done in the past. This, then, is the extraordinary message of reconciliation which we are now given the job of sharing. We are a bit like a negotiation team who is authorised to issue the appeal on God’s behalf. We represent Christ in the world, and so on his behalf we beg you to hear this message and accept the generous peace deal that God is offering. The way of reconciliation is on the table before you: you’d be mad to turn your backs on it! Even though Christ had never been sucked into sin like us, God lumped him in with us, so as to make it possible to lump us in with him. United with him, we can become examples of all that God considers to be right and true.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton  LaughingBird.net


* Luke 15: 1-3, 11b-32

    For much of the time, a crowd of people hung around Jesus, listening to everything he had to say. The crowd was full of disreputable characters whose lifestyles were offensive to the more respectable members of society. The devoutly religious Pharisees and the experts in religious law got their noses out of joint over this, and began denouncing Jesus. “He keeps company with people whose behaviour is beyond the pale,” they said, “and he doesn’t even draw the line at eating with them.”
    Jesus responded to their objections by telling a story. He said, “Once upon a time there was a man who had two sons. One day, the younger of the two said to his father, ‘Dad, I don’t want to have to wait for you to die before I get my hands on your property. Divide it up and give me my share now.’
    “So the man had all his assets divided up and transferred to his two sons. The younger son immediately sold his share and shot through with the money. The lifestyle of a cashed-up backpacker offered him a smorgasbord of parties and pleasures beyond his wildest dreams, but they all came at a price. Before he knew it, he’d blown the lot. He didn’t have a penny left to his name, and the country where he was living was in the grip of a severe recession. Times were tough and work was hard to find. He managed to get some casual shifts cleaning out septic tanks, but at times he was reduced to picking food out of rubbish bins just to survive. One day, he woke up to himself: ‘My old man has three square meals a day served up for his farm labourers, and here I am eating stuff his dogs wouldn’t touch! I’ll go home and apologise for turning my back on him and God. I’ll ask him to take me on as a hired hand, since I’ve obviously blown any right to be treated as his son.’
    “So he got up and thumbed his way home to his father’s property. Even as he was trudging down the road, rehearsing his speech, his father saw him coming. With emotion choking in his throat, he leapt to his feet, ran headlong down the road, and threw his arms around his son. The son began his prepared speech, saying, “Dad, my behaviour has been offensive to God and brought disgrace to you. It would not be right for you to ever treat me as your son again.’
    “But before he could get all the words out, his father began to say, ‘My son, welcome home! Come inside and we’ll pop a bottle of bubbly. I’ll run you a bath and get you a clean set of clothes.’ Then he began giving orders to one of his workers: ‘Go and round up all the hands. Tell them to take the rest of the day off and come and celebrate with us. Fire up the spit-roast and pick out a prime calf. The drinks are on me, for this boy of mine was as good as dead, but now he’s alive and well. He was lost forever, but now he’s home again, safe and sound.’ And the celebrations began.
    “Now the man’s elder son had been out at the time, and when he pulled up out the front, he heard the sounds of music, dancing and laughter. He asked the first person he saw what was going on and was told, ‘Your brother has turned up, out of the blue, and your dad’s so over the moon about it that he’s given everyone the day off and thrown a huge party. He’s even put one of the prime calves on the spit.’
    “With that, the older brother spat the dummy and locked himself in his room. His father came and pleaded with him to come and join the party, but he yelled, ‘All these years I’ve worked my guts out for you. I’ve never given you a moment of grief, but not once have you ever given me so much as a pack of steaks to have a barbecue with my mates. But this scumbag son of yours has dragged your name through the mud and blown all your money on sex and drugs, and yet the minute he turns up, you put the prime calf on the spit for him!’
    “But his father replied, ‘Son, you’ve got to be kidding! You’re always with me and I’ve signed everything I own over to you. Anytime you want a barbecue, it’s all yours! But this is a day to celebrate. We had to have a party! Your brother was as good as dead, but now he’s alive and well. He was lost forever, but now he’s home again, safe and sound.’”

©2001 Nathan Nettleton  LaughingBird.net