Year C
Proper 18
Sunday 8 September 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 we are awe struck by your handiwork
and overwhelmed by the depths of your wisdom and love.

Like a potter at the wheel, you created the universe
and shaped our bodies in secret in the hidden depths.
You have kept your hand on your people,
reshaping us as seemed good to you
whenever we become misshapen
by allowing other allegiances
to compromise our faithfulness to you.

Though many times we laid the foundations
for a life worthy of your love and justice
we could never bring the work to completion
until you sent your child, Jesus, to us
to lead us in the way of the cross.
When he was killed you raised him to life
and gave him back to us forever,
to save us from destruction
and refresh the hearts of all your saints.

Therefore with .....

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



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

We thank you that keep your hand on your people
with the skill and love of a potter at the wheel,
reshaping us whenever we become misshapen
by allowing other allegiances
to compromise our faithfulness to you.

©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 we are awe struck by your handiwork
and overwhelmed by the depths of your wisdom and love.

Like a potter at the wheel, you created the universe
and shaped our bodies in secret in the hidden depths.
You have kept your hand on your people,
reshaping us as seemed good to you
whenever we become misshapen
by allowing other allegiances
to compromise our faithfulness to you.

Though many times we laid the foundations
for a life worthy of your love and justice
we could never bring the work to completion
until you sent your child, Jesus, to us
to lead us in the way of the cross.
When he was killed you raised him to life
and gave him back to us forever,
to save us from destruction
and refresh the hearts of all your saints.

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

When we turn from evil,
God does not bring disaster on us,
but forgives our sins
and refreshes our hearts in Christ.

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

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




Commission & Benediction

Go now to live and share your faith with all.
Love Christ more than even family or friends,
and, in Christ, love all God’s people.
Do not cling to possessions,
but take up your cross and follow Jesus.

And may God shape you in the ways of love and justice;
May Christ Jesus refresh your heart;
And may the Holy Spirit surround you with grace and peace.

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 Proper 18 - Year C - Sunday 8 September 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.


* Jeremiah 18: 1-11

    The LORD spoke to me and said, “Jeremiah, get yourself down to the potter’s workshop, because there you will hear and understand what I’ve got to say.”
    So I went down to the workshop and saw the potter there working at his wheel. As I watched, the clay he was working wouldn’t take the shape he intended, so he simply changed his plan and reworked it into a pot of a different shape. Then the LORD spoke to me, saying:

“People of Israel, don’t you realise that I can do with you just what the potter has done with this pot. Watch the way the potter works, people of Israel, and remember that you are like clay in my hands. If I speak to a corrupt nation and threaten to tear it out by the roots and crush and demolish it, and it takes note of what I have said and mends its ways, I will change my mind and give them a fresh start. If, on the other hand, I tell a nation that I am planning to build them up with strength and life, and they turn around and become callous and cruel and take no further notice of anything I say, then I will abandon my plans to do anything good for them.
So then, Jeremiah, go now and give the people who live in Judah and Jerusalem this message from me: I, the LORD, am taking you in hand like a potter taking clay, and I am planning to flatten you; to crush you completely. The only way to persuade me to change my mind is to turn around right now; to mend your ways and clean up your act.”
©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



* Psalm 139: 1-6, 13-18

You have taken a good hard look at me, LORD,
........and you know exactly what makes me tick.

You know when I’ve got my feet up and when I’m on the job;
........you can read my mind like an open book.

You see where I am going and where I stop,
........and you know all about what I do and why.

You know exactly what I am going to say, LORD,
........even before I open my mouth.

You are in front of me, behind me, beside me;
........your hand on my shoulder at every turn.

All this is more than I can get my head around;
........I pinch myself, and struggle to take it in.

It was you who put me together, every part of me;
........you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I sing your praises, LORD,
........for the the way you have made me fills me with awe.
Your creative works blow my mind;
........too wonderful for words.

You could see me clearly before I was born;
........you watched me taking shape in the secret depths
................and laid out the intricacies of nerve and muscle.

You kept your eye on me
........from conception to birth.
My life lay before you like an open book
........before I had even lived a day.

Your thoughts are way beyond my grasp, God,
........and they add up to more than I can count.
Deeper than the oceans,
........outnumbering the grains of sand;
I give up trying
........but you are with me just the same.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



* Philemon 1-21

........I, Paul, am in detention here for the sake of Christ Jesus. Our brother, Timothy, is here with me. We write this letter to you, Philemon, our good friend and work-mate. Please share it with our sister Apphia, with our brother-in-arms Archippus, and with the rest of the church that meets at your house.
........We send our best wishes for peace and blessings from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
........You have been in my prayers. I have been thanking God for all the good reports I keep hearing about how much trust you put in the Lord Jesus and how much love you show to all God’s people. I am praying that you and those who share your faith will see more and more clearly how much good we can accomplish on Christ’s behalf. My friend, your love is already accomplishing much. You’ve given many of God’s faithful people a new lease of life, and so indeed you have been a source of joy and encouragement to me.
........In light of all this, I want to ask you a favour. I suppose I could pull rank as an elder statesman or as one who has proved his commitment to Christ in jail, and order you to do what I want; but I would much rather ask you as a mate. The favour I want to ask is for my own son. You didn’t know I was a father, did you?! Well foster-father perhaps, and only since I’ve been locked up, but you know him well — Onesimus! I know you said he was completely useless in the past — quite the opposite of what his name means — but now he is enormously useful to both you and me. I feel like I’m tearing my own heart out, sending him back to you. I badly wanted to keep him here so that he could continue to look after me, as I know you would have done, while I remain in detention for preaching God’s message. However, I didn’t want to go behind your back on this. I wanted to give you the opportunity to make your own decision rather than be manoeuvred into something against your will. Perhaps there was a good reason why you lost him for a while. Now you can be reunited with him, but no longer as your slave, but something much more: a beloved brother. I already count him as a brother — in Christ and in what we’ve been through together — but he will be even more so to you.
........So, if you still count me as a mate, please welcome Onesimus as warmly as you would welcome me. If he owes you anything for any wrong he’s done in the past, put it on my tab and I’ll fix you up for it when I can. You have my promise here under my own signature: I will pay whatever is owed to you. I won’t even bring up the issue of how you owe me your very life!
........So that’s it. Please do me this big favour as a brother in Christ! You’ve got no idea how much good it would do for my tired old heart. I have every confidence that you would obey if I ordered you to do this, but I’m writing to ask you to do it for me as a favour, and knowing you, you’ll find some way of doing even more than I’ve asked.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



* Luke 14: 25-33

    As Jesus continued his journey, the crowds of people following him kept growing. One day he turned to them and said, “Are you sure that you have got what it takes to follow me all the way? Unless you are being accused of hating your parents, your spouse, your children, your brothers and sisters, and even your own life, you are probably not fully on board yet.
    “You can’t follow me unless you are ready to accept that you will be targeted by the death squads.
    “If you were planning to build an office tower, you would know to sit down and calculate the costs carefully before giving the go-ahead for construction. You wouldn’t take the risk of pouring the foundations without securing the finance needed to finish the project. If you ran out of money half way, you’d be the laughing stock of the industry and you’d be forever saddled with a reputation for failing to finish what you started.
    “If you were responsible for deciding whether or not the nation went to war, you would know to sit down first and calculate whether your military resources could match those of your enemy. If you decided that the enemy could blow you away twice over, you’d send out the negotiators to work out a peace deal long before the hostilities commenced.
    “Following me, then, is the same. You have to decide whether you have got what it takes, because you can’t follow me unless you quit clinging to what you’ve got.”

©2001 Nathan Nettleton 
LaughingBird.net



Alternative Hebrew Bible Lections themed to the Gospel Lection

* Deuteronomy 30: 15-20

    “Take note that today I, the LORD your God, have laid out the choices clearly before you. You can choose life and good times or death and hard times. If you live by the rules that I have given you today — if you love me, do things my way, and follow my rules, guidance and instructions — then you will live and flourish. I, the LORD your God, will look after you and make you strong and prosperous in the land I am about to give you.
    On the other hand, if you reject me and refuse to listen to me, it will be a very different story. I am warning you in no uncertain terms that if you pursue other objects of devotion and serve them instead of me, your lives will be ruined. You will not last long in the land I am about to give you on the other side of the Jordan River.
    Here and now I call on the earth and sky to witness that I have laid out the choices clearly before you; choices between life and death, between being blessed and being cursed. Choose life! Choose life so that you and your children and grandchildren can flourish. Commit yourself to me, the LORD your God, in love and loyalty. Obey what I say and stick with me, because that is the sure-fire recipe for a long and satisfying life in the land that I promised to your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



* Psalm 1

LORD, how good it will be for those
........who turn a deaf ear to the advocates of greed;
........who steer clear of corrupt short-cuts;
........and avoid those who sneer at goodness.

Instead they relish your word, LORD.
........Calming their minds,
................they savour the scriptures day and night.

You make them strong and healthy,
........like a Redgum tree with its roots deep in a river bank,
................flowering abundantly every season,
........and always laden with healthy leaves.
................All that they do is vibrant with life.

But what a different story it is for the wicked;
........they are about as secure as dry leaves in a cyclone.

They will have no defence
........when they are brought to justice,
................and no friends among people of integrity.

LORD, you keep a protective eye
........on all who walk a straight path of peace and justice,
................but nothing will save those who leave that road.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net