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Lent 3, Year A
South Sydney Uniting Church
March 23, 2014

The Gathering of the People of God




In the name of God:
Creator, Redeemer, and Giver of Life. Amen.
Grace and peace to you from God.
God fill you with peace and joy.


Today we gather to worship because here in this land, as Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians, we have a destiny together. In the Revised Preamble to the Constitution of the Uniting Church in Australia, we recognise that “through this land God had nurtured and sustained the First Peoples of this country, the Aboriginal and Islander peoples, who continue to understand themselves to be the traditional owners and custodians ... of these lands and waters since time immemorial”.

We remember that “After much struggle and debate, in 1994 the Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia discovered God’s call, accepted this invitation and entered into an ever deepening covenantal relationship with the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress. This was so that all may see a destiny together, praying and working together for a full expression of our reconciliation in Jesus Christ”.

We acknowledge the Gadigal people,
the first inhabitants of this place.
We honour them for their care of the land
part of God’s good creation
land on which we gather today.
We pay our respects to their elders, past and present.
God, you granted humanity
the gift of relationship with your creation.
You call us to respond with respect,
caring for the well-being of all you have made.
We give thanks for those who have heeded your call.

Welcome to visitors. Christ candle is lit.


Merciful God,
We, the Second Peoples of this land,
acknowledge with sorrow the injustice and abuse
that has so often marked the treatment of the First Peoples of this land.
We acknowledge with sorrow
the way in which their land was taken from them
and their language, culture and spirituality despised and suppressed.
We acknowledge with sorrow the way in which the Christian church
was so often not only complicit in this process,
but actively involved in it.
We acknowledge with sorrow that in our own time
the injustice and abuse have continued.

We have failed to care when we should have been outraged.
We have been apathetic when we should have been active.
We have been silent when we should have spoken out.

Gracious God, forgive us our failures, past and present.
By your Spirit, transform our minds and hearts
so that we may boldly speak your truth
and courageously do your will.
Through Jesus Christ our Sovereign.



God of the wellspring,
source of life and truth:
Jesus asked for water
from the hands of a woman
in the land of the stranger;
May he teach us to name our need,
to love our neighbour
and to worship you
in spirit and in truth,
through Jesus Christ,
who shows us who we are.

The Liturgy of the Word


Let us stand to acclaim God’s saving justice,
attested by the Law and the prophets,
and now revealed through faith in Jesus Christ
to all who believe.

GOSPEL John 4:5-42

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



God of love,
you are the creator of this land, and all good things.

We acknowledge the pain and shame of our history ...
We thank you for the survival of Indigenous cultures.

Our hope is in you
because you gave your Son, Jesus,
to reconcile the world to you.
We pray for your strength and grace
to forgive, accept and love one another
as you love us, forgive and accept us ...

Give us the courage
to accept the realities of our history
so that we may build a better future for our nation.
Teach us to respect all cultures.
Teach us to care for our land and waters.
Help us to share justly the resources of this land.

Help us to bring about spiritual and social change,
to improve the quality of life
for all groups in our communities,
especially the disadvantaged.
Help our young people to find true dignity and self-esteem
by your Spirit.

May your power and love be the foundations
on which we build our families,
our communities and our nation.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Personal prayers ...


We live in faith that all people will rise
from the depths of despair and hopelessness ...

Touch the hearts of the broken, homeless and afflicted,
and heal their spirits.

In your mercy and compassion,
walk with us as we continue our journey of healing
to create a future that is just and equitable.
God, you are our hope. Amen.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist

OFFERING ‘In water we grow’ (494)

... All you have made is good.
Your love endures for ever.


The peace of the Chosen One be always with you.
And also with you.



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.

Holy God, we praise you:
Father and Mother;
Grace and Truth;
Life and Love;
Giving, forgiving, creating ...

Let the heavens be joyful, and the earth be glad.
We bless you for creating the whole world,
for your promises to your people Israel,
and for the life we know in Jesus Christ.

Born of Mary,
he shares our life.
Eating with sinners,
he welcomes us.
Leading his followers,
he guides us.
Dying on the cross,
he rescues us.
Risen from the dead,
he gives new life.

You make us your disciples
and call us to deny ourselves,
to take up our cross and follow Jesus.

And so we praise you with the faithful of every time and place,
joining with choirs of angels and the whole creation
in the eternal hymn (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 be glory, almighty God,
because on the night before he died ...

With thanksgiving we take this bread and this cup
and proclaim his death and resurrection.
Receive our sacrifice of praise.

Send to us the Holy Spirit that this meal may be holy,
and your people may become one.

Unite us in faith, inspire us to love,
encourage us with hope,
that we may receive Christ as he comes to us
in this holy banquet.

We praise you, almighty God,
through Christ, and in the Holy Spirit. Amen.


O God, our Mother and
our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your dominion come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.



Jesus, Lamb of God,
show us compassion.
Jesus, bearer of our sins,
show us compassion.
Jesus, redeemer of the world,
grant us peace.



Blessed be God who calls us together.
Praise to God who makes us one people.
Blessed be God who has forgiven our sin.
Praise to God who gives hope and freedom.
Blessed be God whose Word is proclaimed.
Praise to God who is revealed as lover.
Blessed be God who alone has called us.
Therefore we offer all that we are and all we shall become.
Accept, O God, our sacrifice of praise.
Amen. Accept our thanks for all that we are.
Our hands were empty, and you filled them.

The Sending Forth of the People of God


People of God, go from here to live out the covenant
into which we, the First and Second Peoples of this land,
have entered ...
Confront and challenge injustice wherever you see it.
Act justly yourselves and insist that others do the same.
Rejoice in the richness of our diverse cultures and learn from them.
Celebrate and demonstrate the unity we share in Jesus our Sovereign.
Commit to worship, witness and service as one people under God
until God’s promised reconciliation of all creation is complete.


During our forty days of Lent
we keep looking to Christ
becoming more like Christ,
with the blessing of almighty God,
Creator, Redeemer, and Giver of Life. Amen.

Go forth in peace to live your Lenten discipline.
We go in faith and hope. Amen.

During Lent we depart in silence.

Acknowledgements: Prayer of Confession & Word of Mission:
A Destiny Together, Justice for First Peoples (UCA Assembly);
Collect by Steven Shakespeare (2009).
Prayer for Reconciliation prepared by the Wontulp Bi-Buya
Indigenous Theology Working Group, March 1997, (c) NATSIEC 1997.
Prayer for the Journey of Healing (c) NATSIEC 2007.
Artwork: Blue Water Hole, by Rosella Namok 2013 (www.slowmuse.com).