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A SERVICE OF WORD AND SACRAMENT

Advent 3, Year A
Commissioning of Elder
South Sydney Uniting Church
December 15, 2013

The Gathering of the People of God

CALL TO WORSHIP

Let us rejoice, for God is with us!
The presence of God is music to our ears and a song in our heart.
Let us watch for joyful surprises.
We will watch with expectation
for the in-breaking of Beauty and Joy.

SONG ‘Come, O God of all the earth’ (181)

GREETING

Acknowledgement of Indigenous custodians; welcome to visitors.

LIGHTING THE ADVENT CANDLE

In a world often given to despair
I will light a candle for hope.
Hope is the gift of God in Christ.

In the face of injustice and aggression
I will light a candle for peace.
Peace is God’s way for our world.

In the places of sadness and despair
I will light a candle of joy.
Joy is God’s song in our hearts.

CONFESSION (James 5:7-10)

ASSURANCE

Hear anew Christ’s word of grace to us ...

COLLECT
Let us pray that people may recognise in us
that our saving God is here.

O God of hope and joy,
you want to come among us
and to be near to us today
through your Chosen One.
Let it become visible that Christ lives among us
as we are near to one another
and bring hope and justice to the “have-nots”
and to those who suffer.
May people recognise in this way
that Christ is the one to come
and receive life with joy.
Amen.

The Liturgy of the Word

Your word, O God, is a lamp to our feet:
a light to our path.

FIRST READING Isaiah 35:1-10

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

Let us stand to acclaim God’s saving justice,
attested by the teaching and the prophets,
and now revealed through faith in Jesus Christ
to all who believe.

GOSPEL Matthew 11:2-11

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

HOMILY

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION

We give thanks for those who bring hope, peace and joy to those around them.
We remember with gratitude those who have surprised us with acts of love and understanding.
We pray for the Vanuatu Church Partnership Project as they seek to build unity among the churches of Vanuatu and to extend their work in providing health and education for the diverse people who are part of that country.

... Let your blessing rest on each one and may they too be surprised by the joy of your living presence.

In the name of Christ. Amen.

OFFERING ‘Christ’s is the world in which we move’ (677)

God has done many wondrous things for us
With joy we offer the gift of our living in return.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist

THE PEACE

INVITATION

With thanks to Abba God we welcome the Christ in our midst
and we pray that Christ may become visible in us.

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 your mercy embraces the faithful, one generation to the next.
You are the creator of heaven, earth and the teeming seas.
You promised mercy to our ancestors
and sent prophets as an example of suffering and patience
to prepare the Holy Way before you.

In Jesus Christ we saw your promises take flesh
as the blind saw the light, the deaf heard the music
and the lame danced with joy.

When he was killed, you raised him to life
and through him your good news still comes to the poor
like springs of water to thirsty ground,
uplifting the downtrodden and filling the hungry
from the richness of your table.
And so with thankful hearts we patiently wait,
knowing that the day is near
when all the earth will see the fullness of your glory.

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,
because on the night before he died ...

God of hope and joy,
we thank you for counting us worthy
to stand in your presence and serve you.
With this bread and this cup
we proclaim the mystery of our faith.
Christ has died,
Christ is risen,
Christ will come in glory.

Loving God, 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.

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

THE LORD’S PRAYER

Abba God in heaven,
hallowed be your name!
May your reign come,
may your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven:
give us today the bread we need.
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.

BREAKING OF THE BREAD

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

LAMB OF GOD (765)

THE COMMUNION

This is Jesus the Saviour,
who proclaimed the Good News to the poor,
freedom to prisoners, and joy to those in sorrow.
Happy are we to receive him with joy.

PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION

Abba God,
you have entrusted to us, your people,
the mission of Jesus, your Chosen One.
Help us to strengthen the weary,
to give hope to the discouraged,
to be near to the poor and the weak and to lift up,
with the gentleness of Jesus,
those sitting by the roadside of life.
But remember us too,
for we are but weak and fallible people,
and stay with us through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
Amen.

Commissioning of Elder

PRESENTATION

THE VOWS

Do you confess anew Jesus Christ as Sovereign? I do.
Do you believe that you are called by God through the church to this ministry? I do.
Will you seek to live and work within the faith and unity
of the one holy catholic and apostolic church? I will.
Do you adhere to the Basis of Union of the Uniting Church in Australia? I do.
Relying on God’s grace, do you promise to carry out the duties of your office? I do.

Will you, the members of this congregation, accept this friend as elder? We will.
Will you encourage her in love and support her in her ministry,
serving with her the one Christ and Saviour? We will.

May God give you strength to fulfil these vows;
and to God be the glory in creation, in the church and in Christ Jesus.
Amen.

ACT OF COMMISSIONING

Almighty God,
in every age you have chosen servants to lead and care for your people.
We thank you that you have called Maidie to serve you.

May she have the same mind which was in Christ Jesus
and be a faithful disciple,
giving example to Christ’s flock and witnessing to the truth of the gospel;
through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Maidie, receive the Holy Spirit for the ministry of elder. Amen.

The God of all grace,
who has called you to eternal glory in Christ,
establish and strengthen you in all things,
to the glory of God’s name and the good of the church on earth.

DECLARATION

The Sending Forth of the People of God

Notices

SONG ‘O little town of Bethlehem’ (316)

BLESSING

Go into the world expecting to encounter joyful surprises.
Never let go of the hope God has given you.
Never give up in seeking the new blessings God gives to the world.
Go in peace, go in hope, go in love, go in joy.


Acknowledgements:
Based on the Service of the Lord’s Day, UIW2,
and Christmas Bowl Resources for Worship, NCCA, 2013.
Artwork: John in prison, Sixteenth-century woodcut.