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Epiphany 7, Year A
South Sydney Uniting Church
February 20, 2011

The Gathering of the People of God




Be holy, for I, YHWH, am holy.
Be perfect
as your heavenly Abba is perfect.
God turns those whom sin has made enemies
into friends through forgiveness.
May the Saviour Jesus, who brought us God’s friendship,
be always with you.
And also with you.

Acknowledgement of Indigenous custodians.
Welcome to visitors. We welcome one another.

On seeing so much evil in the world, especially when that evil affects us deeply, is our reaction not anger and perhaps revenge? The message of today is this: do not let evil force you to fight it with its own weapons. Fight it with the weapons of God: mercy, forgiveness, even love of the evildoer and prayer for the ones who have hurt you. Let us ask that in this we may follow Jesus; then we will surely be his disciples.

Lighting the Christ Candle.


It is difficult not to take revenge
against those who have hurt us.
Let us ask the Saviour to forgive us for having enemies.

Jesus, how can we learn from you
to forgive those who have harmed us?
God, have mercy.
God, have mercy.

Jesus Christ, how can we learn from you
to be good to those who have wounded us?
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

Jesus, how can we learn from you
to pray for those who have pained and injured us?
God, have mercy.
God, have mercy.

God, forgive us that we have a hard time
to forget and forgive as you ask us.
Make us great-hearted like you
and lead us to everlasting life.

Silence for personal confession.



Hear Christ’s word of grace to us:
Your sins are forgiven.
Thanks be to God.


Let us pray Abba God
to make us more perfect by love.

Loving God,
in your Beloved, Jesus Christ,
you have shown us your tenderness
and accepted us, sinful people,
as your children.
Share your heart with us,
make us merciful and understanding people,
that we may learn from the way you have treated us
to accept others without conditions,
to forgive and forget all hurts,
so that we become more like you.
We ask you this through Christ our Saviour.

The Liturgy of the Word



God’s people is asked not to hate others but to love. The basis of this love is God’s own love for the people.

FIRST READING Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18

PSALM Psalm 119

Happy are those who seek God.
They cherish the way of goodness.
God’s way is their way.

How do the young stay single minded?
By cherishing the word of God.
God’s way is a treasured pathway.

Show me your kindness, God.
Against evil influences I cling to your Law.
Your word is my constant guide.
Suffering has been my teacher.
I am learning humility.

Your word is a lamp,
a light on my way.
I have pledged to be on the side of Justice.
Neither fear nor human judgement will ensnare me.
Keep me thirsty for your truth.
Let your encouragement lead me on.
I will be faithful to your name.


By the power of the Holy Spirit, the Christian community is God’s dwelling place.

SECOND READING 1 Corinthians 3:16-23


The people stand.

 Christ is alive, and goes before us
 to show and share what love can do.
 This is a day of new beginnings;
 our God is making all things new.


Christ asks of us to have hearts large enough to be open even to enemies.
Evil is overcome with good.

GOSPEL Matthew 5:38-48

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



“So if it seems to you that you have understood the divine Scriptures, or any part of them, in such a way that by this understanding you do not build up this twin love of God and neighbour, then you have not yet understood them.”


Let us pray to God who is kind and merciful who heals us and pardons all our sins. Let us pray: Have mercy on your people, O God.

• For the Churches separated from one another by centuries of misunderstanding and disputes, that they may approach one another in Christ in mutual forgiveness, cooperation, and love, let us pray: Have mercy on your people, O God.
• For all of us, that we may forgive one another from the heart, seek no revenge, bear no grudges, learn to see others as people loved by the same heavenly Parent, let us pray: Have mercy on your people, O God.
• For our families, that we may not be discouraged by one another’s shortcomings but be attentive to the goodness that is in each and seek peace and happiness together, let us pray: Have mercy on your people, O God.
• For our Christian communities, that they may be places of reconciliation, of mercy and compassion, let us pray: Have mercy on your people, O God.

... Abba God, help us to look at one another with your own eyes, that we may accept one another and build up one another in the love of your Own, Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.



Abba God,
these are the gifts of peace
we bring before you
to celebrate the feast of love.
Help us, with Christ, to discover
the best that is in each of us
and to create one another anew
with the same liberating and forgiving love
which you have shown us. Amen.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist


The peace of the Saviour be with you.
And also with you.

We share a sign of Peace with each other.

Let us give thanks to Abba God, with Jesus here in our midst.

The people stand.

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 give our thanks and praise.

It is indeed right to give you our thanks and praise, O God,
for your love and wisdom are perfect,
but the wisdom of this world is foolishness to you.

L: You laid the foundations of the earth
 and built a people to be your holy temple.
R: Through the law you taught us to walk in your ways,
 to love one another and provide for all equally,
just as you graciously make the sun to shine
and rain to fall on good and bad alike.

L: When we became caught in the futility
 of selfishness and vengefulness,
R: you sent your Child, Jesus,
 as the new foundation
on which to rebuild a holy temple
of perfect love that goes beyond mere ascent to the law.

When he was put to death,
you raised him to new life
and placed all things in his hands
to share with all who belong to him.

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.

We bless you, Sovereign God, ruler of the universe,
through our Saviour Jesus Christ ...

With this bread and this cup
we do as our Saviour commands:
we celebrate the redemption he has won for us.
Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.

Pour out the Holy Spirit on us
and on these gifts of bread and wine,
that they may be for us the body and blood of Christ.

Make us one with him,
one with each other,
and one in ministry in the world,
until at last we feast with him in the kindom.

Through your Beloved, Jesus Christ,
in your holy Church,
all honour and glory are yours, God almighty,
now and for ever. Amen.


With Jesus we pray to our Abba
that God may not only forgive us our sins
but help us forgive those who sin against us.
Abba God in heaven,
 glory to you!
Your rule of love renews the earth.
In your name, we take part in that renewal
 helping, and not harming,
 caring, and not coercing ...
We pray that we might receive with thanks
 the bread we need,
 the money we need,
 the warmth we need ...
We pray that forgiveness and freedom
flow through our lives.
Teach us that in sharing life
 we live life to the full ...
Remind us that evil is real.
Still, we are not afraid of it,
but confident
 that love is stronger than hate,
 justice other than revenge,
 true peace the work of your Spirit.


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



This is Jesus the Saviour,
whose body was broken for our sins.
He brought us healing and life.
Happy are we to receive the Christ.


Abba God,
we have celebrated with your Beloved
the sacrifice that has brought us peace.
By his words and his life he has taught us
to forgive one another wholeheartedly.
Let his Spirit dwell in us,
that our pardon may be without regret
and that we may go with one another
farther than we are asked
on the way to each other and to you,
our holy God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Sending Forth of the People of God


May our love be like salt
that preserves what is good
and makes living worthwhile.
May our Christian living be a light
to those who live in darkness.
May our Christian communities
be cities of light to be seen from afar
as signs that God lives and works among people.
And may God bless you all for this mission ...+ Amen.

Go now, and let the light of Christ shine
on all those with whom you share life.
Thanks be to God.


Based on ‘The Service of the Lord’s Day’ in Uniting in Worship 2, Uniting Church Press, Sydney, 2005; Psalm translation by Patricia Stevenson, rsj, Psalms: Songs from a Pierced Heart,
Sisters of St Joseph, Sydney, 2003; Lord’s Prayer translation by Andrew Collis.
Artwork:Sermon on the Mount St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church in Apex, NC)