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A SERVICE OF WORD AND SACRAMENT

Thanksgiving for Creation, Year C
(Includes Blessing of the Animals)
South Sydney Uniting Church
October 6 2013

The animals of God’s creation inhabit the skies, the earth and the sea.

They share in the ways of human beings. They have a part in our lives.

Francis of Assisi recognised this when he called the animals,

wild and tame, his brothers and sisters.

Remembering Francis’ love for these brothers and sisters of ours,

we invoke God’s blessing on the animals,

and we thank God for letting us share the earth with all the creatures.


The Gathering of the People of God

CALL TO WORSHIP

All-highest, glorious God,
cast your light into the darkness of my heart.
Give me true faith, firm hope, perfect charity
and profound humility with wisdom and perception,
O God, so that I may do what is truly your holy will.
Amen.

SONG OF PRAISE (181)

Come, O God of oceans wide:
shifting sands and crashing waves;
fish of every shape and size,
creatures of the reefs and caves.
 Sing out, earth and skies!
 Sing to the God who loves you.
 Raise your joyful cries,
 dance to the life around you.

Come, Creator of the cat,
in the jungle, in the yard;
kookaburra and wombat,
species that we disregard.
 Sing out, earth and skies! ...

Come, O God, in wind and rain,
lightning flash and thunder roll;
refresh the Earth and life sustain,
shelter, inspire and console.
 Sing out, earth and skies! ...

Come, O God of stars that sing
planets, moons in cosmic song.
Gawi, God of everything,
making graceful, making strong.
 Sing out, earth and skies! ...

GREETING

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit;
one God, Mother of us all. Amen.
May God who is wonderful in all works, be with you all.
And also with you.

Christ candle is lit. Acknowledgement of traditional owners. Welcome to visitors.

PENITENTIAL RITE

We confess our sin, and the sins of our society,
in the misuse of God’s creation.

God our Maker,
we are sorry for the times when we have used your gifts carelessly,
and acted ungratefully.
Hear our prayer, and in your mercy: forgive us and help us.

We enjoy the fruits of the harvest,
but sometimes forget that you have given them to us.
God, in your mercy: forgive us and help us.

We belong to a people who are full and satisfied,
but ignore the cry of the hungry.
God, in your mercy: forgive us and help us.

ASSURANCE

We make our confession in the name of Jesus.
Jesus says, “Your sins are forgiven!”
Jesus says, “I am committing myself to you!”
Thanks be to God.

The Liturgy of the Word

EPISTLE READING Galatians 6:14-18

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

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION

Hail the planet blue and green. Alleluia!
Where the face of God is seen. Alleluia!
Glory filling all the Earth. Alleluia!
Celebrating every birth. Alleluia!

Hail the groans of Earth in pain. Alleluia!
From the weight of human sin. Alleluia!
Longing for the Christ who died. Alleluia!
All creation to revive. Alleluia!

GOSPEL Matthew 11:25-30

The Wisdom of God:
God’s word made new.

HOMILY

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION

God Most High! All praise is yours, all glory,
all honour and all blessing.
And, it is to you alone, Most High, that we pray ...

You are praised, O God by our Brother Sun, who brings the day;
and you give light through him.
May light be shed on your Church,
that your faithful people may bear your likeness.
O God, hear us ...

You are praised, O God, through our Sister Moon, and the stars;
in the heavens you have made them bright, precious and beautiful.
May the nations of the earth, whom they look down upon each night
be blessed with your peace.
O God, hear us ...

You are praised, O God, through our Brothers Wind and Air,
and clouds and storms, and all the weather;
May you rain down your grace upon our nation, and its leaders and people.
O God, hear us ...

You are praised, O God, through our Sister Water;
Quench the thirst of the poor, the downtrodden,
and those who are ill, or in trouble of any kind.
O God, hear us ...

You are praised, O God, through our Brother Fire,
through whom you brighten the night;
We pray you to brighten your kindom,
where the souls of the faithful departed rest.
For them, as in you, may there be no night.
O God, hear us ...

You are praised, O God, through our Sister, and Mother, Earth,
who feeds us and rules us,
and produces various fruits with coloured flowers and herbs;
Give us the will to care for her, as you created her.
O God, hear us ...

Be praised, O God, through those who forgive for love of you;
through those who endure sickness and trial.
O God, hear us ...

O God, we praise and bless you, and we give you thanks,
and with all of creation, we serve you. Amen.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist

OFFERING

God, our Creator, through your love you have given us these gifts to share.
Accept our offerings as an expression of our deep thanks
and our concern for those in need on planet Earth.

PEACE

Through your healing power, God,
the love of peace quells violence
and vengeance yields to forgiveness.
Grant that we will become channels of your peace
and heralds of your reign. Amen.

INVITATION

Happy, indeed, is she to whom it is given to share in this sacred banquet
so that she might cling with all her heart
to the Christ
Whose beauty all the blessed hosts of heaven unceasingly admire,
Whose affection excites,
Whose contemplation refreshes,
Whose kindness fulfills,
Whose remembrance delightfully shines,
by Whose fragrance the dead are revived,
Whose glorious vision will bless all the citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem:
which, since it is the splendour of eternal glory,
is the brilliance of eternal light
and the mirror without blemish.

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.

At your command all things came to be:
the vast expanse of interstellar space,
galaxies, suns, the planets in their courses,
and this fragile earth, our island home.
By your will they were created and have their being.

From the primal elements you brought forth the human race,
and blessed us with memory, reason and skill.
You made us the carers of creation.

But we turned against you, and betrayed your trust;
and we turned against one another.

Again and again, you called us to return.
Through prophets and sages you revealed your Law.
And in the fullness of time you sent your Beloved,
born of a woman, to fulfill your Law,
to open for us the way of freedom and peace.

And therefore we praise you, joining with the heavenly chorus,
with prophets, apostles, and martyrs, and with all those in every generation
who have looked to you in hope, and we sing (761):
Holy, holy, holy God, wisdom, strength and hope,
Earth, sea and sky 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 thank you that on the night before he died for us ...

Now gathered at your table, O God of all creation,
and remembering Christ crucified and risen,
who was and is and is to come,
we offer to you our gifts of bread and wine,
and ourselves, a living sacrifice.

Pour out your Spirit upon these gifts
that they may be the Body and blood of Christ.
Breathe your Spirit over the whole earth and make us your new creation,
the Body of Christ given for the world you have made.

In the fullness of time bring us, with all your saints,
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
to feast at the banquet prepared from the foundation of the world.
Through Christ and with Christ and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
to you be honour, glory, and praise, 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.

LAMB OF GOD

Lamb of God, who takes away all sin against heaven,
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, who takes away all sin against Earth,
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, who takes all sin from the world,
receive our prayer.

COMMUNION

This is Jesus our Saviour.
He invites us to share this meal
and to learn to share what we are and have.

PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION

Let us give thanks for this meal.
We thank you Christ, for the meal we have celebrated with you,
and we pray that through your body and blood we may be healed
and become agents of healing for the Earth
as a precious planet in our cosmos. Amen.

The Sending Forth of the People of God

Notices.

BLESSING

Go in peace! Serving Christ and loving Earth!
We go in peace, serving Christ and loving Earth!

SONG ‘The Cosmic Christ’

Amazing is the Christ who died
To void all sin and curse,
Just as amazing is his life
That fills the universe.

The risen Christ is more than one
Who waits on some far shore;
In, with and under ev’ry thing
Christ is the living core.

The hidden Christ sustains for us
The blueprint of the skies,
The wisdom in each fragile form,
The soul that lights the eyes.

The cosmic Christ moves deep below
To heal the wounds within,
When all creation groans in pain
Because of human sin.

The cosmos hails the Christ, the One
Who reconciles all things,
’Til all creation rises new
With healing in her wings.

As Christ unites the universe,
Restores this Earth once more,
A cosmic song reverberates,
A rich symphonic score.

N, Live without fear: your Creator loves you, made you holy, and has always cared for you.
Go in peace to follow the good path and may God’s blessing be with you always. Amen.


Acknowledgements:
Based on: UIW2; Thanksgiving for Creation, Roman Ritual, USA. Call to Worship by St Francis of Assisi. Prayers of Intercession based on prayer by Rick Morley (www.rickmorley.com); Lyrics to ‘The Cosmic Christ’ and ‘Hail the planet, blue and green’ by Norman Habel (1991, 2004); Verses to ‘Sing out, earth and skies!’ and Lord’s Prayer translation by Andrew Collis; Invitation and Blessing by St Clare of Assisi.
Artwork: Arthur Boyd (19201999), St Clare offering marzipan to St Francis (1965).