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Advent 3, Year B
South Sydney Uniting Church
December 11, 2011

The Gathering of the People of God


I, YHWH, love justice;
I hate robbery and sin.
So I will faithfully compensate you,
and I will make an everlasting covenant with you.

All who see you will acknowledge
that you are a people blessed by YHWH.

For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
and a garden brings its seeds to blossom,
so Exalted YHWH makes justice sprout,
and praise spring up before all nations.

SONG: ‘Praise with joy the world’s Creator’ (179)


May the God of peace make you perfect in holiness.
May you be preserved whole and complete
spirit, soul and body
irreproachable at the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Rejoice, for God is with you.
And also with you.

Acknowledgement of Indigenous custodians; welcome to visitors.

SONG: ‘Light one candle ...’ (286)

 Light one candle for hope,
 one bright candle for hope.
 God brings hope to every heart.
 Christ comes! Christ comes!

 Light one candle for peace ...
 [same as verse 1]

 Light one candle for joy,
 one bright candle for joy.
 Every nation with find salvation
 in Bethl’em’s baby boy.

Lighting the first, second and third Advent candles.


In joyful expectation, let us call out to the Christ,
who is our salvation.

You came as God’s anointed
bringing good news to the poor and brokenhearted.
God, come and save us.
God, come and save us.

You come as the Messiah
to proclaim liberty and freedom to those in bondage:
Christ, come and save us.
Christ, come and save us.

You will come as the God of peace
to perfect us in holiness:
God, come and save us.
God, come and save us.


O God, most high and most near,
you send glad tidings to the lowly,
you hide not your face from the poor;
those who dwell in darkness you call into the light.
Take away our blindness,
remove the hardness of our hearts,
and form us into a humble people,
that, at the advent of your Beloved,
we may recognise our Saviour in our midst
and find joy in your presence.
We ask this through Christ whose coming is certain,
whose day draws near:
your Beloved, our Saviour
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.

The Liturgy of the Word

EPISTLE 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

May your word live in us, O God.
And bear much fruit to your glory.


John the Baptist prepared the coming of Christ by his preaching and his life.
We prepare to welcome Christ by the conversion of our hearts.

We stand.

SONG: ‘Hark! a herald voice is calling’

 Hark! a herald voice is calling:
 ‘Christ is near’, it seems to say,
 ‘cast away the dreams of darkness,
 waken, children of the day!’

 So when love comes forth in judgment,
 debts and doubts and wrongs to clear,
 faithful may Christ find the servants
 watching till the dawn appear.

GOSPEL John 1:6-8, 19-28

The Good News and Power of God.
Praise to you, O Jesus Christ.




We believe in God,
holy Source of all that is.
We believe in God,
who has spoken the eternal Word in Jesus Christ.
We believe in God,
ceaselessly breathing the Spirit into creation.

We trust in God’s love and wisdom:
fully revealed in the humanity of Jesus Christ,
present to us through the Spirit’s working
in the Church and beyond.

We believe that God is calling the whole creation
into a future of justice and peace.
We share in Christ’s risen life,
and commit ourselves today to receive
the coming reign of God.
To the only God, Three yet One,
be all honour and glory and praise
now and for ever. Amen.


... God, you know us and our needs.
May we reach out with joy to grasp your hand,
and walk more readily in your ways.
We ask this through Christ our Saviour.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist

OFFERING: ‘Come, thou long-expected Jesus’ (272)


St Paul says to us:
“Rejoice always,
pray constantly ...
Don’t stifle the Spirit.”
God, make us messengers of the Good News
so that we may enjoy the peace of your kindom
where you live for ever and ever.

John the Baptiser came to testify to Christ the Light.
Let us acknowledge Christ in each other as we offer a sign of peace.

The peace of the Promised One be with you all.
And also with you.

We share a sign of peace.


In this Eucharist we express our longing
for our Saviour’s coming among us and into the world.


God is here.
God’s Spirit is with us.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to God.
Let us give thanks to the God of love.
It is right to offer thanks and praise.

It is indeed right to give you our thanks and praise, O God,
for you have turned our grief into songs of joy,
and clothed us in salvation and victory.

L: You planted the earth and all life,
 and called a people to be your light in the world.
R: When they were taken weeping into exile,
 you promised through your prophets
 to bring them home, singing and laughing.

Salvation has come in your Messiah, Jesus,
the one whose coming light
your servant, John, bore witness to.
Filled with your Spirit,
Jesus came proclaiming good news for the poor,
healing for the broken hearted,
and the day of freedom to all who are bound.

He was killed by the proud and powerful,
but by your power you raised him to life.

In his presence we are filled with expectant hope and joy,
keen to embrace your eternal covenant.

Therefore we sing ... (761):
Holy, holy, holy God, wisdom, strength and hope,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of our God.
Hosanna in the highest.

To you indeed be glory, almighty God,
because on the night before he died ...

God of hope and joy,
we thank you for counting us worthy
to stand in your presence and serve you.
With this bread and this cup
we proclaim the mystery of our faith.
Christ has died,
Christ is risen,
Christ will come in glory.

Therefore, loving God,
recalling now Christ’s death and resurrection,
we ask you to accept
this our sacrifice of praise.

Send your Holy Spirit upon us
and our celebration,
that we may be fed with the body and blood of Christ
and be filled with your life and goodness.
Strengthen us to do your work,
and to be your body in the world.
Unite us in Christ
and give us your peace.
May we praise you
and give you glory.

Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in your holy Church,
we worship you, O God,
in songs of everlasting praise.

Blessing, honour and glory be yours,
here and everywhere, now and forever. Amen.


L: Abba God in heaven, hallowed be your name!
R: May your reign come,
 may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven:
L: give us today the bread we need.
R: And forgive us our debts,
 as we hereby forgive those who are indebted to us.
 Don’t put us to the test, but free us from evil.


Let us receive what we are;
let us become what we receive:
the body of Christ.


 Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world,
 have mercy on us, have mercy on us.
 Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world,
 have mercy on us, have mercy on us.
 Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world,
 grant us peace, grant us peace.


This is Jesus who brings good news to the oppressed,
and heals the brokenhearted.
Blessed are we who recognise God’s anointed.


God, Sustainer of life,
you have refreshed us in this holy meal.
Help us to walk with the weak,
to give hope to the discouraged,
to lift up, with the gentleness of Jesus,
those who need comfort and care.
All this we ask in the name of Jesus the Saviour.

The Sending Forth of the People of God


SONG: ‘Long ago, prophets knew’ (283)


May the God of peace make you perfect in holiness. Amen.

May your spirit, soul and body be kept blameless. Amen.

May you rejoice always and pray without ceasing. Amen.

And may almighty God bless you +


Our celebration is ended.
Go, and with joy prepare for the coming of the Christ.
Thanks be to God.



Based on The Service of the Lord’s Day in Uniting in Worship 2, Sydney, 2005;
Liturgy Alive for Sundays and Weekdays, the Philippines (www.bible.claret.org);
Eucharistic Preface based on prayers by Nathan Nettleton (www.laughingbird.net).
Image: St John the Baptist (www.coptic.net).

The Advent wreath is an old German tradition. Most Christian homes and communities practice this custom during the Advent season.
The Advent wreath is a wreath, or circle, of evergreens, made in various sizes. It is either suspended from the ceiling by ribbons (preferably purple) or placed on a table. The devotion is usually incorporated during the family meal, or during family night prayers. Fastened to the wreath are four candles standing upright, at equal distances. These candles represent the four weeks of Advent. Three of the candles are purple, reminding us of the penitential nature of the season. A rose or pink candle is lit for the Third Sunday of Advent, also known as Gaudete (rejoice) Sunday. The name is taken from the entrance antiphon or Introit “Rejoice (gaudete) in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice.” It is reminding us that the end of Advent is almost here, and we can hardly contain our joy.