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Ordinary Sunday 20, Year A
South Sydney Uniting Church
August 17, 2014

The Gathering of the People of God


See how good, how pleasant it is
for God’s people to live together as one!
It is like precious oil on Aaron’s head
running down on his beard,
running down to the collar of his robes.
It is like the dew of Mount Hermon,
falling on the hills of Zion.
For that is where YHWH bestows the blessing
life that never ends.

SONG: ‘Where wide sky rolls down and touches red sand’ (188)


Acknowledgement of traditional owners. Welcome. Lighting the Candle.




Do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves,
for though we have sinned,
Christ has gone before us to create new life,
showing God’s mercy to all
and bringing us out of the prison of disobedience.
(Romans 11: 1-2a, 29-32)

Jesus says, “Your sins are forgiven!”
Jesus says, “I am committing myself to you!”
Thanks be to God!

The Liturgy of the Word

OLD TESTAMENT Genesis 45:1-15

We stand.


GOSPEL Matthew 15: (10-20), 21-28

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



SONG: ‘Sometimes a healing word is comfort’ (692)


We think of the Canaanite woman
whose persistence and good faith
won Jesus’ admiration.
Let us pray with confidence
to God-with-us in Christ;
for our world and its needs ...

For the Christian community.
May we extend a welcome
to all people of goodwill,
that we might be
a “house of prayer”
for all peoples.
God of grace, hear us.
God of grace, hear us.

For the country that was
the home of Jesus,
and the territories at its borders.
May we, as peoples in conflict,
search for the good
beyond our differences.
God of a generous heart, hear us.
God of a generous heart, hear us.

For parents, whose children are in strife.
May their prayers be answered
within the understanding and support
of a compassionate community.
God of community, hear us.
God of community, hear us.
Let us pray in the silence of our hearts
for our own personal intentions ...
God of goodness, hear us.
God of goodness, hear us.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist





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 gifts and calling are irrevocable
and you bless us with life forever.

V1: You created the earth and everything in it,
and formed its peoples to live as one.
V2: In ancient times you worked through your servant, Joseph,
sending him ahead of your people to preserve life
and open up a way of salvation.

V3: And now, though never rejecting those you first chose,
you have thrown open the gates of mercy to all.
V4: You sent your own child, Jesus, among us,
and when his eyes were opened
by the pleas of a gentile woman,
you made it known that no one
would have to scrape for crumbs of mercy
beneath your table.

When he was killed, you raised him to life,
and with him raised us all
and seated us in honour at your banquet table.

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...

And so in this great sacrament
we celebrate and proclaim
the mystery of our faith.
Christ has died,
Christ is risen,
Christ will come in glory.

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.

Through your Holy Spirit,
burning as a flame, gentle as a dove,
may we who receive these gifts
live lives of justice, love, and prayer,
and be a voice for those who are not heard.

In union with your whole church,
with all creatures who offer praise,
we worship you, O God.

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


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, you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us.
Bread of Life, you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us.
Word that saves, you take away the sin of the world:
grant us peace.



Holy God,
people hunger today
for truth, authenticity,
for the deeper meaning of life.
Open their hearts to your Good News,
fill our stammering words
with your Word of life
and teach us to speak to them
a language they understand,
especially the language of hope and love.
We ask this in the name of the Christ.

The Sending Forth of the People of God



Go now as creators and preservers of life,
and live together as one.
Do not follow blind guides,
but always be prepared to hear the Word of God anew,
even challenging you from unexpected sources.

And may God bless you with life;
May Christ Jesus heal you of all that would harm you;
And may the Holy Spirit cleanse your hearts of all that would defile you.


We go in peace to love and serve God.
In the name of Christ. Amen.

SONG: ‘Help us accept each other’ (648)

There is nothing “ordinary” about “ORDINARY TIME”. Ordinary Time is not about common, regular, mundane, or run of the mill. Ordinary Time comes from the word “ordinal” as in “ordinal numbers”. Cardinal numbers answer “how many?” “Ordinal Numbers” tell the rank, they answer “what position?” Ordinal Numbers are first, second, third, fourth, etc.

There are normally fifty-two weeks in a year. These are made up of the Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter Seasons. Normally that leaves thirty-four weeks of “Ordinary Time”. Those weeks start from The Baptism of the Lord up to Lent, and start again at the Day of Pentecost.

May your Ordinary Time be extraordinary!

Based on UIW2;
Prayers by Nathan Nettleton (www.laughingbird.net);
Prayers by Fr Bill Fletcher (www.home.clear.net.nz/pages/bfletch);
Prayers by Tony Peterson, 21st Century Africana Worship Resources
Lord’s Prayer translation by Andrew Collis.

Image: Holy Woman Icon by Angela Yarber. Rev. Dr Angela Yarber has a PhD in Art and Religion from the Graduate Theological Union at UC Berkeley and is author of Embodying the Feminine in the Dances of the World’s Religions, The Gendered Pulpit: Sex, Body, and Desire in Preaching and Worship and Dance in Scripture: How Biblical Dancers can Revolutionize Worship Today. She has been a clergywoman and professional dancer and artist since 1999. For more on her research, ministry, dance, or to purchase one of her icons, visit: www.angelayarber.com.