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A SERVICE OF WORD AND SACRAMENT

Advent 4, Year A
South Sydney Uniting Church
December 22, 2013

The Gathering of the People of God

CALL TO WORSHIP

Jesus Christ the Saviour has been given to the world.
But the world still waits to discover
the way of peace and justice for all people.
We are called to be Christ’s people for the world.
Let us turn waiting into action and hope into reality.
Come Lord Jesus, be our hope and our inspiration.

SONG ‘O come, O come, Emmanuel’ (265)

GREETING

Blessed is the Holy Trinity of love,
Father, Son, Holy Spirit,
One God, mothering all creation;
and blessed is the reign of God,
now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Grace and peace from our Abba God
and our Saviour Jesus Christ.
And also with you.

Acknowledgement of Indigenous custodians; welcome to visitors.

LIGHTING THE ADVENT CANDLES

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.

Where there is apathy and hate
I will light a candle for love.
Love is God’s essence and sign for the world.

PENITENTIAL RITE

Let us turn to God, who even in our weakness
is always on the side of humanity.

O Jesus, you are the promised Emmanuel,
our God-with-us:
Ky-ri-e e-le-i-son (760).

Jesus Christ, you are our Saviour;
you come to save us from our sins:
Chris-te e-le-i-son.

O Jesus, you are one of us
fully human, to make us completely human
and children of God:
Ky-ri-e e-le-i-son.

Have mercy on us, God,
and pour out on us your forgiving love,
make us belong to you,
and lead us to everlasting life.

Silence.

L: Among the poor,
R: among the proud,
L: among the persecuted,
R: among the privileged,
L: Christ is coming,
Christ is coming to make all things new.

FORGIVENESS

The light of God’s love shines upon each of us
in the gift of God’s love, Jesus Christ.
This is given for you.
Rejoice! You are loved by God, now and forever.
Jesus says, Your sins are forgiven!
Thanks be to God.

COLLECT

Let us pray to Abba God
that we may give a warm place to the Christ
in our hearts and in our lives.

God of our Saviour Jesus Christ
let your Child be reborn in us
at the source of our life and hope.
Lift us up from our sadness
and bring us into the light.
Make us just and reliable
and people of peace.
Come to all nations,
into every home and into every heart,
that together with Christ
we may give glory to you,
our God in the highest,
now and forever. Amen.

The Liturgy of the Word

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

OLD TESTAMENT Isaiah 7:10-16

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

GOSPEL Matthew 1:18-25

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

HOMILY

SILENCE

INTERCESSIONS (Based on Isaiah 7:10-17)

God of life, in a woman having a child,
you give us a sign as high as the heavens,
a sign as deep as the seas.

Teach us to refuse the evil,
teach us to choose the good.

We pray for the people of Gaza seeking respite from unending restrictions and hostility in a land that has been the cradle of so much of the world’s great religious thought and action.
We pray for the Middle East Council of Churches Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees as they seek to deliver health and education and offer love and care to those in need.
May each worker know your love within and around them and your wisdom to guide them.

Unwearied God, who gives signs of your love to all your world, remind us that you are always in our midst.
Through Jesus our Immanuel, God-with-us. Amen.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist

OFFERING ‘An empty bowl’

An empty bowl, uplifted hands;
a challenge here we see,
to share with neighbours in all lands
our one humanity.

An empty bowl, uplifted hands:
may our commitment be
that peace and justice in all lands
shall be reality.

An empty bowl, uplifted hands:
to set the captives free
and joining people in all lands
in one community.

A cup of wine, uplifted hands:
O Christ, lead us to be
your body broken for all lands,
now and eternally!

OFFERTORY PRAYER

Love brings God’s action into birth.
Let us continue to love and give so that others will be blessed.

THE PEACE

The peace of the Promised One be with you all.
And also with you.

INVITATION

With joy we give thanks to the Holy One
for wanting to become our God-with-us in the Christ, Jesus.

GREAT PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING

The people stand.

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 rest your hand upon us,
calling us to be your holy saints and giving us life again.

Before time began, your Holy Spirit brooded over the chaos
and brought the earth and its inhabitants to birth.
Through your prophets speaking in the holy scriptures
you promised us a child
born as a sign of your saving presence with us.

Your promise has taken flesh in your child, Jesus the Christ,
who was born of the line of David.
When he was killed by your enemies,
your Spirit brought him forth again
by resurrection from the dead.

Through him the light of your presence has been restored
and we have been called into the obedience of faith
that we might belong to Jesus Christ forever,
living by the hope conceived in us by the Holy Spirit.

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 ... (757):
Christ has died,
Christ is risen,
Christ will come again.

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.

May we praise you
and give you glory.

Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in creation and in your holy Church,
we worship you, O God,
in songs of everlasting praise.

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

THE LORD’S PRAYER

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.

BREAKING OF THE BREAD

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

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,
grant us peace, grant us peace.

THE COMMUNION

This is Jesus, God’s Own,
and the Child of Mary;
Friend to us and Saviour.
Happy are we to receive him
as our God-with-us.

PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION

Abba God,
you choose to come among your people
in the weakness and humility of a child
through your Own Jesus Christ.
You have given him to us here
as our God-with-us.
Let him put us to shame
when we boast of our achievements
or place all our trust in our own resources.
Teach us that your Only Begotten
is the source of our power
and that we and the world can become fresh and new
through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

The Sending Forth of the People of God

Notices.

CAROL ‘Love came down at Christmas’ (317)

BLESSING

Go now and live by the hope conceived within you.
Refuse evil and choose good.
Call on the name of the Holy One.
Walk with God in faithful obedience,
and do not fear public disgrace.

And may God be with you. Amen.
May Christ Jesus save you from your sins. Amen.
And may the Holy Spirit restore to you
the light of God’s presence. Amen.


Acknowledgements:
Based on ‘The Service of the Lord’s Day’ in Uniting in Worship 2, Sydney, 2005;
Liturgy Alive for Sundays and Weekdays, the Philippines (www.bible.claret.org);
Eucharistic Preface based on prayers by Nathan Nettleton (www.laughingbird.net).
Advent Candle Lighting by Act for Peace, 2013.
Advent Prayer from Cloth for the Cradle, Wild Goose Worship Group.
‘An empty bowl’ words by Robert J. Faser, 1996.