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Ordinary Sunday 24, Year A
South Sydney Uniting Church
September 11, 2011

The Gathering of the People of God


When Israel was delivered from Egypt,
amazing things happened.
The sea fled, and the River Jordan turned back.
The mountains seemed to skip like rams,
and the hills to frolic like little lambs.
What awesome power caused river and sea to change their course,
mountains and hills to jump and skip?
The whole earth was surely trembling in the presence of God.
Praise God who sets people free in unexpected ways
and sustains them through unexpected acts of grace.

SONG OF PRAISE: ‘Through the Red Sea brought at last’ (384)


In the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit; one God, Mother of us all.

The grace of our Saviour Jesus Christ
and the love of God
and the friendship of the Holy Spirit
be with you all.
And also with you.

Acknowledgement of Indigenous custodians; welcome to visitors. The Christ candle is lit.



God of mercy, God of grace,
we acknowledge that yours is a love that freely gives
without strings attached.
An unconditional love.

Jesus tells us that those who wish to be his disciples
are to place no limits, no conditions,
on their mercy or their love.
Forgiveness without limits.

Jesus says that when we refuse to forgive
those in our debt,
we hinder the gift of God’s grace and forgiveness.
And we hurt ourselves.

God of mercy, God of grace,
we confess that we forget to love and serve you as we ought,
as people made in your image and likeness.
Touch hardened hearts with your goodness, we pray,
and remind us that forgiveness is one of the most precious gifts
we can offer one another.

This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


We don’t live for ourselves, nor do we die for ourselves.
While we live, we live for Christ Jesus,
and when we die, we die for Christ Jesus.
Both in life and in death we belong to Christ ...
So stop passing judgement on one another.
Rather, we must resolve not to be stumbling blocks
or obstructions to each other.

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


Let us pray that we may learn to forgive
the way our God forgives.

God our Parent,
you are good and patient,
compassionate, loving, and merciful.
You forgive us our debt of sin.
May your pardon bring us much joy and hope
and induce us to forget and forgive readily
the debts, often so small, that others owe us
because of the wrongs they have done to us.
You have restored us to life:
help us to make others live by our pardon,
that they may feel something of your goodness in us.
We ask this through Jesus our Saviour. Amen.

The Liturgy of the Word

Here we are: called to your service, O God.
Let it be with us according to your word.

FIRST READING Exodus 14: 19-31

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

We stand.


GOSPEL Matthew 18:21-35

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




Let us pray to our God that we who have experienced forgiveness
may bring the joy of reconciliation to the world.
Let us say: God, help us to forgive from the heart.


... For us gathered here, people with our failures and foibles,
that we may learn from Christ to be merciful as he has been to us,
that we may forgive one another from the heart,
let us pray: God, help us to forgive from the heart.

God, you are so good that all our evil becomes like nothing.
Let us, little and frail people, speak to one another
your words and deeds of forgiving love,
on account of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist

OFFERING: ‘Bread is blessed and broken’ (707)

Abba God,
in these signs of bread and wine
we celebrate the life and death of the One
who brought us forgiveness and hope.
Let the table of the eucharist be to all of us
an occasion and place where we learn
to accept one another, even with our frailties,
and to share the bread and the wine
in friendship and peace.
We ask you this through Christ
who reconciled in himself all factions.


Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles:
I leave you peace, my peace I give you.
Look not on our sins, and help us
not to look on the sins of others,
for we all need the peace of your forgiving love
and of each other’s pardon.
Grant us the peace and unity of your kindom
where you live for ever and ever. Amen.

The forgiving peace of Christ
be with you always.
And also with you.


We thank God for gathering people from everywhere
and bringing them into the Church, to be God’s one, holy people.


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,
with every knee bowed
and every tongue giving you praise,
for in you is extravagant mercy
and salvation from all that would destroy us.

L: In the first of your mighty wonders, you created the earth,
 dividing the watery chaos and bringing forth dry land.
R: In the days of Moses you divided the sea again
 and delivered your people from their oppressors,
 leading them by fire and cloud to the land of freedom.

In your child, Jesus the Christ,
your reign of love and mercy has embraced all who live
and even in our weaknesses you uphold us.
He was killed but lives again
so that he might be Lord of both the living and the dead.
Now whether we live or die we belong to you
and in gratitude we share your love and mercy with all.

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 thank you that on the night before he died for us ...

And so remembering all that was done for us:
the cross, the tomb, the resurrection and ascension,
longing for Christ’s coming in glory,
and presenting to you these gifts your earth has formed
and human hands have made,
we acclaim you, O Christ:
Dying, you destroyed our death.
Rising, you restored our life.
Christ Jesus, come in glory!

Send your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts of bread and wine
that they may be to us the Body and Blood of your Christ.

Grant that we, burning with your Spirit’s power,
may be a people of hope, justice, and love.
Giver of Life, draw us together in the Body of Christ,
and in the fullness of time gather us with all your people
into the joy of our true eternal home.
Through Christ and with Christ and in Christ,
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
we worship you, Abba God, in voices of unending praise.
Blessed are you now and for ever. 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.



 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.



Abba God,
you have created us anew
through the Bread of life,
and through the forgiveness Christ brings.
Help us also to restore to life
our neighbours who wait for our pardon,
and open our hearts
to receive their forgiveness with gratitude.
Let us be a community
where we raise up one another
to the joy of your life and your healing love.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Saviour.

The Sending Forth of the People of God


SONG ‘Forgive our sins as we forgive’ (635)


Today God has spoken clearly to us,
people for whom it is difficult
to overlook failures,
to give new chances,
to forgive from the heart.
“Become like me,
forget and forgive,
heal and care,
and you will be healed yourselves.”
May God be with you and bless you +


Let us walk with one another
in the forgiving peace of Christ.
Thanks be to God.



Based on a liturgy in Uniting in Worship 2.
Also: Liturgy Alive for Sundays and Weekdays, the Philippines (www.bible.claret.org);
Prayer of Confession based on prayer by Moira Laidlaw (www.liturgiesonline.com.au);
Eucharistic Preface based on prayers by Nathan Nettleton (www.laughingbird.net).
Image: St Peter by Jusepe de RIBERA (1636), Oil on canvas, 75 x 63cm
The Hermitage, St Petersburg.