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Liturgy

A SERVICE OF WORD AND SACRAMENT

Christmas Day, Year A
South Sydney Uniting Church
December 25, 2013

The Gathering of the People of God

CALL TO WORSHIP (Psalm 98)

God’s power shines out in wonderful deeds.
When nations act justly,
when we witness merciful love,
when we see loyalty practised,
the earth itself joins in the hymns of praise.

Acknowledgement of Indigenous custodians.

CAROL

LIGHTING THE CHRIST CANDLE

The light has come into the world
And darkness will never overcome it.

Light Christ candle.

The light of Christ shines in the darkness
bringing hope, peace, joy and love,
gifts that illuminate the world.

Light candles from Christ candle.

GREETING

In our time God has spoken to us through Jesus, God’s Own,
the radiant light of glory through whom God made everything.
May this One, Jesus the Saviour, be with you.
And also with you.

Welcome.

PENITENTIAL RITE

We hear God’s Word in the Good News and in the life of Jesus.
Do we respond to Jesus’ message? Let us examine ourselves.

Jesus, you have brought to all nations justice and truth and love:
God, have mercy. God, have mercy.

Jesus Christ, we sing a new song to you,
we sing out our joy at your advent:
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

Jesus, we acclaim you as our Saviour
for you have worked wonders among us:
God, have mercy. God, have mercy.

Silence for personal confession.

Be merciful to us, God, and speak your Word that sets us free.
Lead us to the joy of everlasting life. Amen.

ASSURANCE

COLLECT

Let us pray that God’s Word may be alive in us today.

Faithful God,
you make yourself known and speak to us through Jesus Christ,
your image and your living Word.
Open our ears and hearts,
that we may receive your Word and keep it.
May your Word become flesh among us,
in our words of peace and truth
and in our deeds of justice and love,
friendship and self-effacing service.
May this be the way by which people recognise
that your Beloved is among us today,
and may they praise you for ever. Amen.

The Liturgy of the Word

FIRST READING Isaiah 52:7-10

God announces liberation to people in captivity. This liberation is brought to us today by Jesus.

EPISTLE READING Hebrews 1:1-12

God has often spoken to people, but since the advent of God’s Beloved on earth, God speaks to us a definitive word. In Christ we see what God means and who God is.

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

ACCLAMATION TIS 288: “Not the powerful ...”

GOSPEL John 1:1-14
The evangelist speaks to us of the mystery of Jesus: the image of Abba God, God’s Word become flesh, God’s light in our darkness, God living among us. Do we accept this Word?

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

HOMILY

SILENCE

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION

God the true light, you enlighten all people,
all things have come into being through you.
Your light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.

God the light of all people, enable us to see your glory,
full of grace and truth,
through Jesus the Word-made-flesh.
Amen.

CAROL

OFFERING

God, speak to us from heart to heart,
that Jesus may fill our words with the power of integrity and truth
and that he may change us, timid as we are,
into people of peace and courage,
who live without compromise the gospel of love. Amen.

DEDICATION OF THE OFFERING FOR THE CHRISTMAS BOWL

This year the focus project of the Christmas Bowl is girls’ education in Afghanistan. The need for this project was highlighted by the shooting of Malala Yousafzai by the Taliban after she stood up for equal education for girls. Act for Peace’s partner works with local communities, an essential step to overcome years of Taliban opposition to gender equality. The project has given more young girls opportunities to learn, achieve and help create a more peaceful future for the battle-weary country.

DEDICATION PRAYER

God of love,
through the birth of Jesus you demonstrated for the world to see,
that all people are of equal value in your sight.
He taught us to care for those in most need and to stand with victims of injustice.
As we make this offering
we pray for those who will be supported by Act for Peace
in Afghanistan and across the world.
Strengthen and encourage those who work for justice and peace,
for these are your children.
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

We love because God first loved us.
We will express that love in our giving to others.
We dedicate these gifts to bring light in the darkness.
We dedicate our lives to shining the light of Christ in the world.

SONG ‘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!

THE PEACE

Jesus Christ,
you entered our world as God’s Word of peace.
Give your people and every nation a peace based on justice and truth.
Dispose us to offer to one another signs of reconciliation
and to speak words of welcome and peace.
Unite us in the peace of your kindom
where you live for ever and ever. Amen.

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.

We give you thanks and praise, O God,
for you have revealed your justice to the nations,
your merciful love for all.

In the beginning your Word created the world.
Through your Word, life was brought into being,
and the life was the light that overcomes the darkness.
Your messenger came bringing the good news of peace
so that all might know the Word and believe.

And today the good news is fulfilled:
the Word has become flesh.
Comforted at the breast,
he is your exact likeness.
He bears the imprint
of your very being.
In Christ we have seen your glory,
full of grace and truth.
This One will come to rule in justice
and all the earth will see your salvation.

Therefore, with our hearts lifted high,
we offer you thanks and praise at all times
through Jesus Christ our Saviour,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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.

CAROL

The Sending Forth of the People of God

Notices.

CAROL

BLESSING

The light of Christ is in the world.
Go now to point to it, to encourage it, to live it and to grow it.
In the name of the child of Bethlehem,
the man of Galilee,
and the Christ of Calvary,
go in peace.

Go in the peace of Christ and bear witness to love.
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);
Thanksgiving based on prayers by Nathan Nettleton (www.laughingbird.net).
Lord’s Prayer translation by Andrew Collis.
Icon of the Nativity.