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A SERVICE OF WORD AND SACRAMENT

Advent 2, Year A
South Sydney Uniting Church
December 8, 2013

The Gathering of the People of God

CALL TO WORSHIP

Let us listen together for the guidance of God.
The judgement of God brings justice and mercy.

Let us be still and seek the peace of God.
We will open our hearts
to the stillness and healing that is the presence of God.

SONG ‘O God of love’ (614)

GREETING

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.

CONFESSION

ASSURANCE (Romans 15:7-8)

Accept one another as Christ accepted us, for the glory of God.
Christ became a servant of the chosen people to live out the truth of God’s promise to them, and at the same time to give the Gentiles cause to glorify God for showing mercy ...

COLLECT

God our Mother and Father,
you sent your Child into our world
with the power and the fire of love.
May all your people accept such love in faith
so that love can grow in us.
Keep your Church faithful to the gospel of justice and peace
and hasten the time of joy
when you gather into your kindom
all who have believed in your love.
We ask this through Christ our Saviour.

The Liturgy of the Word

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

FIRST READING Isaiah 11:1-10

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 3:1-12

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

HOMILY

SILENCE

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION

God of peace, may the wolf and the lamb dwell together.
May the leopard and the young goat relax in each other’s presence.

We pray for those who work for peace and those who confront evil. Especially today we pray for those who work in the Tamil refugee camps in South India. We give thanks for the hope and comfort that they bring to hurting and vulnerable people. We pray that they will be given the financial, emotional and spiritual resources they need for this work of love and courage.

May no one be hurt or destroyed,
in all your holy creation.

... May the earth be filled with the knowledge of your love,
as the waters cover the sea,
through Jesus, the branch of Jesse.
Amen.

OFFERING ‘An empty bowl, uplifted hands’ (Tune: 299)

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!

God’s gift to us is justice and peace.
May our giving to others reflect the justice
and generosity of our Creator.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist

THE PEACE

INVITATION

We voice our praise and thanks to Abba God
for the coming of the Christ among us
and we pray that we may receive the Spirit more deeply.

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 reign draws near with the promise
of justice, peace and security for all.

You created the earth and its inhabitants,
and through the voice of the prophets crying in the desert,
you called us to prepare the way for your coming.

Through the scriptures,
you spoke words of steadfastness and encouragement,
filling us with hope in your visions of peace.

You came to us in your Anointed One,
Jesus the new branch growing from the stump of Jesse’s line
and baptised us with Holy Spirit and fire.

Though he was killed, you raised him to life,
and clothed him in righteousness
so that as his reign dawns,
justice may flower upon the earth,
profound peace prevail,
and the knowledge of your grace extend from sea to sea,
and to the ends of the earth.

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 Lamb of God,
announced by the prophets as the Saviour of all.
Happy are we that he invites us
to prepare the way for his coming.

The Sending Forth of the People of God

SONG ‘How shall I sing to God’ (667)

BLESSING

SENDING OUT

You are sent to do justice and love mercy.
You are sent to seek peace between people and between nations.
You are given God’s Spirit of righteousness and compassion.
Go in peace, go in hope, go in love. Amen.

Acknowledgements:
Based on the Service of the Lord’s Day, UIW2,
and Christmas Bowl Resources for Worship, NCCA, 2013.
‘An empty bowl, uplifted hands’, words by Robert J. Faser, 1996.
Artwork: Stained glass window at Church of St Etheldreda, London, England
(http://saints.sqpn.com).


My name is Santhi and today is my 16th birthday. I am Sri Lankan and was born in a refugee camp in northern Tamil Nadu, South India. Life has been very difficult for me. Both of my parents left the refugee camp I was born in and lost contact with me. My sister married and stayed in the camp with her husband. Even though she cares for me, her husband’s family is not able to accommodate me.
When my parents left the camp I was crying. A health worker from the Organisation for Eelam Refugees Rehabilitation (OfERR) found me. She sat with me and talked about my problems. As I was a child under the care of no one, I was moved to Chennai so I could be cared for properly ...
I like school very much. When I finish, I would like to go to college and study science as one day I’d like to be a doctor. No one should suffer without doctors, and I want to treat people without getting any fee. Thank you for your support. It is helping me to build a safer, stronger future for myself and others, despite the traumas of the past.”