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A Proper 22

4 October

|Recurring Event (See all)

One event on 8 October 2023 at 12:00 am

Below you will find the Bible readings set for this occasion in the Revised Common Lectionary, with our Australian idiomatic paraphrases of them, plus prayers and sermons based on them.

Bible Readings (paraphrased)

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.

God spoke the following words to the people:

I am the LORD your God; the one who brought you out of the land where you were oppressed, and freed you from a life of slavery. You are not to have any other gods ahead of me.

You are not to make anything else into an object of devotion ahead of me. I don’t care whether it is some heavenly presence, or something in the world around you, or something deep at the centre of everything; you are not to dedicate yourself to such things or to worship them.

You are not to exploit my name. I am the LORD your God, and I will not let anyone get away with dragging my name through the mud.

Keep up the practice of making Saturday a dedicated rest day. You are to work on your business, projects, and chores on the other six days, and keep the seventh day as a rest day, dedicated to me, the LORD your God.

Treat those who have raised you with due respect, and your future will be secure in the land that I, the LORD your God, am giving you.

Do not kill anyone.

Do not engage in any relationship that betrays or trivialises anyone.

Do not steal what rightly belongs to others.

Do not sacrifice the truth about someone else in order to win your case.

Do not desire things that belong to other people. Do not go wishing you could get your hands on someone else’s home or lover or employees or assets or anything else.

As God spoke these words, thunder crashed, lightening flashed, trumpet blasts rang out, and smoke poured from the mountain. The people were terrified by all this, and stood at a distance, quaking in their boots. They begged Moses to do something, saying, “You tell us what God wants us to hear and we will listen; but we will die if you let God go on speaking to us directly.”

Moses replied, “There is no need to be afraid. God has come simply to make sure that you are for real. This will bring you to your knees before God and keep you on the straight and narrow.”

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Your glory is written in the sky, God;
your artistry is carved on the face of the earth.
From one day to another, the message passes on,
and each night puts the next one in the know.

Not a word is spoken,
not a sound do they make;
yet their silence reverberates around the earth
and their unspoken message echoes from pole to pole.

You made the sun at home flying across the sky.
It takes to its task with the eagerness of a bridegroom;
as exultant as an athlete breasting the tape.
As your messenger, God, it does its rounds,
from one end of the sky to the other,
warming everything in its path.

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.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

If anyone starts bragging about their breeding and background to win an audience, I could trump them every time. I’ve got a pedigree to die for! I’m a pure blooded Israelite, born into the noble tribe of Benjamin. I was circumcised when I was eight days old, exactly as the law prescribes. I was educated by the Pharisees at the best school, so I know the scriptures inside out, and discipline and obedience are second nature to me. I was so pumped up with passion for the purity of religion that I led violent campaigns against declared heretics, including the church. You could measure me against the strictest interpretations of the law and I’d come out with a perfect record every time.

Most people would count all this as the perfect start in life, but I have come to see it as more of a disadvantage. Why? Because of the Messiah. You see, the one and only thing that is of real and lasting value is knowing the Messiah Jesus, my Lord, and I now realise that just about everything else gets in the way of that. This is why I’ve stopped counting my so-called blessings. I used to think that such things gave me the inside running with God, but I now regard such thinking as a lot of crap. I have given up clinging to such crappy ideas, so that I can give myself totally to the Messiah and be embraced fully by him. I’m no longer interested in how I measure up to any checklist of religious laws, however worthy it may be. God’s checklist is the only one that matters to me now and it only has one item on it. All those who trust Christ get the big tick from God. What I really want now is to know Christ intimately and to experience in my own life the power that raised him from the dead. I’ll do whatever it takes — I’ll take my share of his sufferings, I’ll follow him on the road to death if need be — because the only thing that matters to me is to be united with him in his resurrection life.

I’m not claiming for a moment that I’ve made it, or that I’ve now got it all together. There’s a long way to go, but at least I’m now on the right track and I’m not giving up. I know I’ll make it because the Messiah is backing me all the way. My friends, I don’t see myself as the expert in these things, but I know enough to be sure of which way to go. I’m taking no further interest in the successes or failures of the past. I’ve got my eyes firmly fixed on what God has called me to become, and I won’t let anything stop me until I cross the line and fall into the waiting arms of Christ.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

While speaking with the chief priests and the political leaders in the Jerusalem Temple, Jesus said, “Listen to this scenario: A man owned land in a wine making region. He invested heavily in developing the property: erecting fences, planting vines and building a fully equipped winery. Then he handed responsibility for it to a team of winery operators and went and lived elsewhere. After allowing plenty of time for the fruit to ripen and be picked and processed, the owner sent some of his workers to the winery to collect the first vintage made from his own fruit. But when the workers arrived, the winery operators attacked them viciously, leaving one bruised and beaten, another dead, and a third critically injured. The owner sent a second group of workers – a larger number this time – but they too were violently driven off. Finally the landowner sent his own son to the winery, assuming that the operators would respect his son. But when they saw the son coming, they plotted together saying, ‘This is the bloke who stands to inherit this estate. Come on, let’s knock him off and claim it for ourselves.’ So they grabbed him, dragged him off the property, and killed him. Now, when the Landlord comes to take control, what do you think he will do to those winery operators?”

They replied, “He will have those murdering thugs strung up by the neck, and he will hand responsibility for the operations to a new team who will give him the fruits of his land in due season.”

Jesus said to them, “Anyone would think that you lot had never read the scripture that says:

‘The stone the builders tossed out as useless
is now the one that holds everything together.
This was obviously the work of the Lord,
and we can hardly believe our eyes!’

And so, I’m giving you notice: you are to be relieved of any responsibility for the culture of God. It will be taken from you and put in the hands of a people who are up to producing the fruits God expects. Watch out for this stone. If anyone falls on it, they will be smashed to pieces. If it falls on anyone, they’ll be mincemeat.”

When they heard what he was saying, the chief priests and the leaders of the devoutly religious Pharisee party knew that he was pointing the finger squarely at them. They wanted to have him locked up straight away, but they were afraid of the public reaction, because the popular opinion on the streets was that Jesus was a messenger from God.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Prior to the revision of the Lectionary in 1992, the 1st reading and the psalm that responded to it were chosen to link thematically with the gospel reading. After hearing the critique of those who said that the Hebrew Scriptures, from which the first reading is usually chosen, should be allowed to speak with their own voice rather than just add support to the gospel reading, the Lectionary was revised so that during Ordinary Time, the 1st reading runs in its own semi-continuous series, working through various books of the Hebrew Bible. The older themed series continues to be available as an alternative.

The weekly prayers offered here at LaughingBird Resources are based on the four readings above, and do not draw on the themed 1st reading and psalm.

I’ll sing a story in song,
a gift of love for my vine-growing friend.

My best friend began a vineyard;
ideally situated on a sunny, fertile hillside.
He cleared the rocks, cultivated the soil,
and planted top-grade vines.
He built a fully equipped winery,
dug a cellar and installed a wine-press.
He had every reason to expect top-quality grapes,
but the entire harvest was bitter and useless.

Come now, you who live in Jerusalem,
and all you people of Judah;
who do you think is in the right:
me or my vineyard?

Did I fall down on the job somewhere;
what more could I have done for my vineyard?
Was I wrong to expect good quality grapes?
Why did I get nothing but rubbish?

Well, I’m sick of that lousy vineyard.
I’ll tell you what I’ll do to it:
I will rip down the fences
and let the animals chew it up;
I will smash down the gates
and let the passers-by stomp all over it.

I will leave it in ruins;
trashed and abandoned;
the weeds and blackberries will take over.
I will disconnect the water
and pray that the rains steer clear.

Are you people getting the message?

The LORD who rules over everything
is the vine-grower,
and you, the people of Israel and Judah
are the carefully tended vineyard.
The LORD expected a harvest of justice,
but violence broke out instead.
Where honesty and integrity should have flourished,
there was nothing but the cries of the victims!

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Come and smile on us again, God;
breathe life back into us and save us.

Remember how you brought us out of Egypt like a young grapevine,
so that you could plant your own vineyard.
You cleared the land and prepared the soil;
you planted our roots deep and we grew strongly.

We grew wide and high, bigger than the tallest trees,
even shading the mountains.
Your vineyard grew and grew till it filled the land
from the western ocean to the eastern river.

So why have you torn down the security fence,
so that anyone can tramp through and pinch the fruit?
Wild pigs rampage through doing untold damage;
feral goats and rabbits eat whatever’s left.

Come on, God! You rule over everything. Do something!
Turn around and look at what’s going on.
This vine came from root stock you planted yourself;
take charge of its welfare again.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Prayers

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 have made us you own, through Christ Jesus,
and given us a new righteousness based on faith.

You created the entire universe:
the sky tells of your glory,
day and night reveal the genius of your ways.
You brought your people out of slavery
and gave them your laws and commandments,
that they might be rich in Spirit and clear in vision.

Though we repeatedly rejected your ways
and destroyed your messengers,
you sent your Son to us to renew heaven’s call.
Though the crowds recognised him as a prophet,
those who coveted his inheritance seized and killed him.
But you raised him from the dead,
and now through the power of his resurrection
he stands as the cornerstone of righteousness,
the first fruits of the kingdom,
and the incomparable prize towards which we press.

Therefore with .....

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

We give you thanks for your Son, Jesus,
who you raised from the dead,
and who now stands as the cornerstone of righteousness,
the first fruits of the kingdom,
and the incomparable prize towards which we press.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

(Preface reformatted for use apart from communion)

We give you all thanks and praise, O God,
for you have made us you own, through Christ Jesus,
and given us a new righteousness based on faith.

You created the entire universe:
the sky tells of your glory,
day and night reveal the genius of your ways.
You brought your people out of slavery
and gave them your laws and commandments,
that they might be rich in Spirit and clear in vision.

Though we repeatedly rejected your ways
and destroyed your messengers,
you sent your Son to us to renew heaven’s call.
Though the crowds recognised him as a prophet,
those who coveted his inheritance seized and killed him.
But you raised him from the dead,
and now through the power of his resurrection
he stands as the cornerstone of righteousness,
the first fruits of the kingdom,
and the incomparable prize towards which we press.

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.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Though the Word of God brings our hidden faults to light,
we have a new righteousness through faith in Christ.
In Christ, our saviour and our rock,
we are free of blame for sin
and forgiven for every fault.

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

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Go now in the righteousness of faith
and live by God’s just demands.
Let nothing claim your devotion above the Lord,
and count nothing of value above knowing Christ.
Press on towards the ultimate prize, of being one with him.

And may God’s perfect word revive your soul;
May Christ Jesus be your saviour and your rock;
And may the Holy Spirit strengthen you to press ever onward.

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

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Sermons

Sermons will open in new tabs from our SYCBaps church website.

  1. What Matters Most?
    A sermon on Philippians 3:4b-14 by Nathan Nettleton
  2. Icons and the second commandment
    A sermon on Exodus 20:1-20 by Nathan Nettleton
  3. Aiming to Know Christ
    A sermon on Philippians 3:4b-14 by Nathan Nettleton
  4. Behaving Like Slugs?
    A sermon on Matthew 21:33-46 & Isaiah 5:1-7 by Anne Wilkinson-Hayes
  5. Covenant and Commandments
    A sermon on Exodus 20:1-20 & Philippians 3:4b-14 by Nathan Nettleton
  6. The Gift: Given, not Taken
    A sermon on Philippians 3:4b-14 & Matthew 21:33-46 by Gilbert Joyce
  7. Ten Vital Signs of Life
    A sermon on Exodus 20:1-20 by Nathan Nettleton
  8. Tripping Over an Unimaginable Judgement
    A sermon on Matthew 21:33-46; Exodus 20:1-20 & Philippians 3:4b-14 by Nathan Nettleton

Details

Date:
4 October