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Ordinary Sunday 23, Year A
South Sydney Uniting Church
September 4, 2011

The Gathering of the People of God


Let there be new songs from faithful people.
With instruments and dance recall God’s name.

Start the song with full voice.
Let it swell from clan to clan, nation to nation.

Those who cannot rejoice will be challenged.
May their hearts be moved by the joy of the faithful.

SONG OF PRAISE: ‘Sing praise and thanksgiving ...’ (107)


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.



We are very careful about our forgiving.
The number of people
who find the Church too forgiving
is very small.
The number who have turned away
because they found the church
unforgiving is very large!

We seek to do God’s will.
But we settle for a theology of divine authority
and disregard how
we exercise power in our community.
Show us your compassion, O God.
Show us your compassion, O God.

Imitating Jesus’ forgiveness
means we are far from finished
with our erring brothers and sisters.
But we are too ready to rubbish them
and to have nothing more to do with them.
Show us your compassion, O Christ.
Show us your compassion, O Christ.

We seek to reproduce
the spirit of Jesus’ forgiveness,
as the norm of our practice.
But we stifle that spirit
by our abuse of authority
in the way we implement the law
and run our institutions.
Show us your compassion, O God.
Show us your compassion, O God.

May the God of Mercy forgive us our sins
and bring us to life that lasts.



The apostle Paul says:
Owe no debt to anyone
except the debt that binds us to love one another.
If you love your neighbour, you have fulfilled the Law ...
Love never wrongs anyone
hence love is the fulfillment of the Law.

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


O God,
in you justice and mercy meet.
You have saved us from death
and drawn us into the circle of your life!
Open our eyes to the wonders
this life sets before us,
that we may serve you free from fear,
and address you as God our Father and Mother.
We make this prayer in Jesus’ name

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 12: 1-14

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

We stand.


GOSPEL Matthew 18:15-20

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




For parents and teachers,
for ministers and community leaders.
Through Jesus’ teaching
about the use of authority
may they have wisdom to know
what things to correct,
and what things to ignore.
May they have the sensitivity
to make the corrections
at the right time,
and with tact.
God of wisdom, hear us:
God of wisdom, hear us.

For those preparing for political office.
Through Jesus’ teaching
about the reigning of God,
may they act disinterestedly
in implementing their own agendas,
and accept fair criticism
from political opponents.
God of balance and good sense, hear us:
God of balance and good sense, hear us.


... Let us pray,
in the silence of our hearts
for our own personal intentions ...
God of goodness, hear us:
God of goodness, hear us.

Holy and glorious God,
wherever two or three of us
are gathered in his name,
hear and answer our prayers,
which we make in the name of Jesus.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist

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


Though we are a company of strangers,
in approaching this table,
we bind ourselves to one another
to live in love and peace.


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,
for your delight is in your people,
and the day of our salvation is near.

L: You are our Ruler and our Maker,
 for all things came into being at your command.

R: You came to save your people from slavery,
 setting free all who identified themselves
 with the blood of your lamb.

L: In your child, Jesus, you have again come to save us.
 In his love we have seen the fulfilment of your law
 and the revelation of your desire to reconcile all people
 to yourself and to one another.

R: When he was killed you raised him to life,
 and marked us for salvation with his blood.

Now wherever two or three gather,
you are present in the midst of us
and we rejoice in you.

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,
at the feast meal of your Firstborn
you have strengthened us
with the word and body of Christ.
Convince us so much
of the value of Christ’s message and life
as to make our faith contagious.
May we become living messengers
of the hope, the love and the freedom
Christ brings to all the world. Amen.

The Sending Forth of the People of God


SONG ‘Lord Jesus, we belong to you’ (686)


Go out in love, reconciled to one another in Christ.
Lay aside the works of darkness
and put on the armour of light.
Live honourably,
fulfilling the law through love for all.

And may God mark you out for salvation,
may Christ Jesus be present among you always,
and may the Holy Spirit reconcile you to one another
and fulfil the law of love among you.


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


Based on a liturgy in Uniting in Worship 2.
Also: Liturgy Alive for Sundays and Weekdays, the Philippines (www.bible.claret.org);
Eucharistic Preface and Blessing based on prayers by Nathan Nettleton (www.laughingbird.net Image: Reconciliation, St John's Episcopal Church, NC