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A SERVICE OF WORD AND SACRAMENT

Advent 4, Year C
South Sydney Uniting Church
December 23, 2012

The Gathering of the People of God

CALL TO WORSHIP (Psalm 80)

Good shepherd, listen to our cries.
We have wandered from the light you offer us ...
May we again draw our strength from you.

Acknowledgement of Indigenous custodians.

SONG: “Bring a light” (John McRae)

Lighting the Advent Candles.

GREETING

Blessed are they who believe with Mary
that our God fulfills promises.
God be with you.
And also with you.

Welcome.

PENITENTIAL RITE

To solve our human problems we have recourse to strong means, like authority, influence, money and power. God’s standards are quite different from ours. To save our world and us God embraces weakness and becomes human among us. The Saviour is born not in the capital but in a sleepy rural town. He is born in poverty. He overthrows the power of evil with the apparent weakness of humility, obedience and service. A woman and a child are at the beginning of our salvation. Let us recognise God’s astonishing advent in Christ.

Are we willing to welcome the Saviour and let God work in us on God’s own terms? Let us examine ourselves.

Jesus, you came to restore our strength
by coming among us in human weakness:
God, have mercy. God, have mercy.

Jesus Christ, you made us rich in grace
by your poverty and humility:
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

Jesus, you displayed your saving power
in service and suffering:
God, have mercy. God, have mercy.

Silence for personal confession.

Have mercy on us, God,
save us and the world from the evil of sin,
convert us to your ways
and lead us to everlasting life.
Amen.

ASSURANCE

COLLECT

Let us pray to God that we may welcome Christ
with deep faith.

Abba God,
we are eagerly awaiting
the deeper advent of your Beloved.
Prepare us to recognise and receive the One
whose advent is astonishing.
We expected Christ to come with great power
not in poverty and humility;
we looked for Christ in far places
not standing by our side;
we waited for extraordinary signs
and we discover Christ in the simplicity
of everyday life and people.
Accustom us to your Beloved and the ways of love,
that love may remake us in your image,
the image of Christ our Sovereign and Saviour.
Amen.

The Liturgy of the Word

EPISTLE READING Hebrews 10:5-10

The Wisdom of God.
God’s Word made new.

ACCLAMATION TIS 161: “Tell out, my soul ...”

GOSPEL Luke 1:39-55

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

HOMILY

SILENCE

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION

With Mary we firmly believe that God is fulfilling promises. With Mary we pray to God: Abba God, give us your Beloved.

... Abba God, give us your Beloved, for we need the Christ to make us and our world new. In Christ we place our hope, now and for ever. Amen.

Liturgy of the Eucharist

OFFERING TIS 281: “When God almighty ...”

God of mercy,
you are so near to us
that Jesus, your Own, born of Mary,
becomes one of us as Emmanuel,
God-with-us.
May we discover Emmanuel
in the poor and those in need
and even in ourselves,
in our own weakness,
that this One may take us by the hand
and lead us to you,
our God for ever. Amen.

THE PEACE

INVITATION

The Saviour Jesus is near this Christmas to take a greater place in our lives. The Saviour is near to us here in this Eucharist. With Christ we thank our God for lasting kindness.

GREAT PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING

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 are coming to restore us and save us,
and your mercy embraces the faithful in each generation.

V1: In ancient days you founded the earth
and promised mercy to Abraham’s offspring.

V2: Through the law you provided a way of repentance
and through your prophets you called for justice and peace.

Now you come to us in your child, Jesus Christ,
at whose name even unborn babies rejoice.

In Christ we have seen your promised ruler
who will establish the reign of peace,
pulling tyrants from thrones
and lifting up the downtrodden,
filling the hungry with good things
and sending the greedy away empty.

Though enemies mocked him, scorned him and killed him,
by your strength you restored him to life,
and through his bodily offering
you sanctified us once and for all.

With all the company of heaven and earth 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 praise you, almighty God,
through Christ, in Christ and because of Christ.
We affirm the Church’s faith:
Christ has died, Christ is risen,
Christ will come again.

We remember ...

Send to us the Holy Spirit that this meal may be holy,
and your people may become one.

Unite us in faith, inspire us to love,
encourage us with hope,
that we may receive Christ as he comes to us
in this holy banquet.

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

THE LORD’S PRAYER

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.

BREAKING OF THE BREAD

LAMB OF GOD (765)

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.
Servant of God, you take away the sin of the world:
grant us peace, grant us peace.

COMMUNION

This is Jesus, our Saviour,
who came into the world
to do God’s will.
Happy are we to be invited
to receive the bread of life
that enables us to seek God’s will.

PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION

Abba God, God of love,
in this Eucharistic celebration
you have given us Jesus your Beloved.
Help us to welcome Jesus always
with the attitude of Mary,
ready when Christ is least expected,
recognising Christ in events and in people,
and sharing Christ with those we meet
in the joy of serving love.
We ask you this in the Spirit of our Saviour our Sovereign.
Amen.

The Sending Forth of the People of God

Notices.

SONG TIS 312: “Once in royal David’s city”

BLESSING

We are now close to Christmas,
and already full of joy.
Let it not be a superficial cheer
but a joy that comes from saying YES to God,
to godly plans, to godly love.
May we rejoice in love,
giving ourselves to those around us.
May God give you this joy and bless you all ...+-

Let us go to recognise and welcome the Saviour.
Thanks be to God.

 

Acknowledgements:
Based on ‘The Service of the Lord’s Day’
in Uniting in Worship 2, Sydney, 2005;
also, Claretian Resources (www.bible.claret.org);
Eucharistic Preface based on prayers by Nathan Nettleton
(www.laughingbird.net).
Lord’s Prayer translation by Andrew Collis.
Icon by Elizabeth Winder Noyes: The Visitation.