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Ordinary Sunday 18, Year A
South Sydney Uniting Church
July 31, 2011

The Gathering of the People of God


Keep a loving eye on me, O God.
I appeal to you as my mother.
If a mother bird protects her young
you will do no less for me.

Sometimes I feel ambushed
by my weaknesses
and negative tendencies.
Deliver me from harm.
Let me rise each morning
in the knowledge of your presence.

SONG: ‘Morning has broken’ (156)


Acknowledgement of traditional owners. Welcome.


We gather to learn about God’s compassion
as revealed in the words of the scriptures,
and in stories of what Jesus said and did.

 V1: The reign of God is like a banquet
  where the unity of hearts and minds is real.
  But we are easily swayed
  by forces opposed to life;
  the ways of a vindictive and merciless world.
  God, have mercy:
  God, have mercy.

 V2: Jesus gave a foretaste of the reign of God,
  when, moved with compassion,
  he hosted a hungry crowd.
  But we don’t always share what we have.
  Christ, have mercy:
  Christ, have mercy.

 V3: God’s Wisdom has
  prepared her table,
  brought forth her wine,
  and she calls to her children,
  “Come to the feast I prepared for you.”
  But we hunger for more “know-how”;
  for mastery and control,
  rather than the gifts
  of a communal spirit.
  God, have mercy:
  God, have mercy.

May the God of Mercy forgive us
and bring us to lasting life.



Hear the good news:
God has probed our hearts and tried us by fire,
but Christ has compassion for us and has justified us.
Therefore, God now finds nothing wrong in us.

Lighting the candle.

Jesus says, “Your sins are forgiven!”
Jesus says, “I am committing myself to you!”
Thanks be to God!


Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving
and honour and power and strength be to our God
forever and ever! Amen!
(Revelation 7:12)


Friends, let us pray to our Abba-God,
whose compassion never fails:

God of generosity,
bring us your peace.
Our life is your gift.
Guide our life’s journey,
for only your love makes us whole.
Keep us strong in your love.
We pray this in Jesus’ name.

The Liturgy of the Word

OLD TESTAMENT Genesis 32:22-31
We stand.

Jesus lives again...’ (537)

GOSPEL Matthew 14:13-21

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




... God of compassion,
our needs are great,
but your love for us and for all people
is far greater.
Hear and answer the prayers
we make today,
for we offer them
in the name of your Beloved.
Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist

OFFERING: ‘Feed us now, O Son of God’ (AHB 565)



Jesus looked up to heaven,
blessed the food,
broke it,
and gave it to the disciples,
who in turn gave it to the people (Matthew 14:19b).
Jesus said, ‘I am the bread of life.
No one who comes to me will ever be hungry;
no one who believes in me will be thirsty’ (John 6:35).


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 offer us the food that feeds us abundantly
and fills us with your presence.

L: You strove against the darkness and chaos,
 and you prevailed,
 bringing forth creation in all its miraculous abundance.

R: You challenged your servant, Jacob,
 face to face,
 and gave him your blessing and promise.

From his family you formed your covenant people,
in whom your glory, your law, and your worship
were revealed to the world.

But now, in these last days,
your Messiah, Jesus, has emerged from among them,
bringing your compassion and healing to all.
Though he was cursed and cut off for the sake of his people,
you raised him from death.

Now in him you offer food for our deepest hunger,
and it is in holding fast to him
that we see your face and receive your blessing.

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...

And so in this great sacrament
we celebrate and 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.

Through your Holy Spirit,
burning as a flame, gentle as a dove,
may we who receive these gifts
live lives of justice, love, and prayer,
and be a voice for those who are not heard.

In union with your whole church
we worship you, O God,
in songs of everlasting praise.

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

Our Mother
and our Father in heaven,
may your name be hallowed;
your reign of love come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us the wrong we have done,
as we have forgiven those who have wronged us.
And do not put us to the test,
but save us from the evil one.



 Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world:
 have mercy on us.
 Bread of Life, you take away the sin of the world:
 have mercy on us.
 Word made flesh, you take away the sin of the world:
 grant us peace.



Holy God,
people hunger today
for truth, authenticity,
for the deeper meaning of life.
Open their hearts to your Good News,
fill our stammering words
with your Word of life
and teach us to speak to them
a language they understand,
especially the language of hope and love.
We ask this in the name of the Christ.

The Sending Forth of the People of God


We are sent:

In the name of God,
full of compassion;
in the name of Jesus,
embodiment of God’s compassion;
in the name of the Holy Spirit,
enduring presence of God

To bind up the broken-hearted
and feed the hungry.
We ask help to do this
until we gather again.


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


There is nothing “ordinary” about “ORDINARY TIME”. Ordinary Time is not about common, regular, mundane, or run of the mill. Ordinary Time comes from the word “ordinal” as in “ordinal numbers”. Cardinal numbers answer “how many?” “Ordinal Numbers” tell the rank, they answer “what position?” Ordinal Numbers are first, second, third, fourth, etc.

There are normally fifty-two weeks in a year. These are made up of the Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter Seasons. Normally that leaves thirty-four weeks of “Ordinary Time”. Those weeks start from The Baptism of the Lord up to Lent, and start again at the Day of Pentecost.

May your Ordinary Time be extraordinary!


Based on UIW2;
Prayers by Nathan Nettleton (www.laughingbird.net);
Prayers by Fr Bill Fletcher (www.home.clear.net.nz/pages/bfletch);
Lord’s Prayer translation based on The Revised English Bible (Cambridge).

Image: Paul Gauguin, Vision after the Sermon: Jacob Wrestling with the Angel (1888).
This painting was made in Pont-Aven, Brittany, and is one of Gauguin’s most famous works. The Breton women, dressed in distinctive regional costume, have just listened to a sermon based on a passage from Genesis which relates the story of Jacob wrestling with a mysterious angel.