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Easter 5, Year A
Jubilee Sunday
South Sydney Uniting Church
May 18, 2014

The Gathering of the People of God


Alleluia! Christ is risen.
He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

HYMN 468: ‘We are your people’


Today across Australia, people of faith focus on Jubilee Sunday.
We gather as a faith community in the Great Southern Land of the Holy Spirit
on the traditional country of the Gadigal people.

Light Candle 1.

Based on Old Testament scripture, the ancient Hebrew traditions of Sabbath and Jubilee renewal required that those enslaved as a result of debt be freed, lands lost because of debt be returned and communities torn by inequality be restored.

Jesus expressed the Jubilee Principle when in Matthew’s Gospel, he asked the people to pray, “Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive those who have debts against us” (Matthew 6:12).

As a local community which is part of the global community, we pray together in hope for a world made new where those struggling under the weight of poverty because of economic injustice will be able to live in dignity and peace.

Light Candle 2.

Welcome to visitors.


O God, make us mindful of your calling on our lives,
so we may become the people and the community
that Christ intends us to be.

Jesus, our way,
you were always on the way to people.
Take us along with you on that road:
Ky-ri-e e-le-i-son.

Jesus, our way,
you went your painful way of the cross.
Give us the courage to follow you there.
Christ-e e-le-i-son.

Jesus, our way,
you are first of all our way to Abba God:
Take us along with you on that road:
Ky-ri-e e-le-i-son.


“You are living stones ... a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a
consecrated nation, a people set apart to sing the praises of the
One who called you out of the darkness into the wonderful,
divine light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the
people of God; once there was no mercy for you, but now you
have found mercy.”

Jesus says, Your sins and your debts are forgiven.
Thanks be to God.


Living God,
you are a God on the way with your people;
you led them through the desert to freedom,
you sent us Jesus to be our way to you.
Let Jesus walk with us the road to you,
to our deepest selves, to others.
Quench your people’s thirst with the water of life,
keep giving us the food we need for the journey,
the bread of life that is Jesus himself,
until we reach your eternal home.
We ask this through Christ our Saviour. Amen.

The Liturgy of the Word

FIRST READING Acts 7:55-60


We stand.

Alleluia …

GOSPEL John 14:1-14

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

HOMILY (Dr Miriam Pepper)




God of all,
you created us in your image
and call on us to serve you and do your will on Earth.
Send forth your Spirit and renew the face of the earth.

We give thanks for the presence of God in the world. We give thanks for the gift of Jesus, the Incarnation of God. We give thanks for God’s Spirit who empowers us to love as Jesus loves, to bring peace and justice for all peoples and the earth.

We pray for church and world leaders that they will be inspired by your Spirit to act to change a global economic system which is creating an increasing gap between the rich and the poor.

We pray for the global family of peoples. Help us to show the same solidarity with our brothers and sisters far away as we do with those close to us.

We pray for all those who are suffering through no fault of their own under the weight of poverty caused by economic injustice and for all those who seek just economic relationships.

We pray that we will have the strength to work towards a world that reflects the love, mercy and justice of Jesus. Give us courage to live our lives for justice so we fulfil your commandment to love one another.

… Compassionate God, help us to embrace the love we receive from you, that comes to us through the most unlikely people in the most unlikely of places. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist


God of mercy,
look with favour on the gifts of your people,
and through the power of this sacrament
grant that the community of those who believe in you
may become ever more fully
a chosen people,
a royal priesthood,
a consecrated nation
a people set apart to sing your praises ...

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


Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles:
“I am indeed going to prepare a place for you,
then I will come back to take you with me,
that where I am there you may be as well.”
Jesus, listen to our troubled and fearful hearts,
and grant us the peace and unity of your kindom.

The peace of God be with you all.
And also with you.


On this morning, Christ invites you to this table,
so you may experience wholeness
while seeking peace with one another.

So come, not because you must,
but because you may.
Come to this table not because you are strong,
but because you seek God’s strength.
Come to this table with all your broken pieces,
seeking wholeness, trusting in Jesus.
Come and enjoy the feast
that God has prepared for you today.


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 we have tasted your goodness,
and our lives are secure in your hands.

V1: You laid the cornerstone of creation
and built earth and heaven by hand.
Through your prophets you promised to lay a stone in Zion
as a place of refuge for your faithful ones,
and a stumbling block for those who reject your ways.

V2: In Jesus the Christ, your promise has been fulfilled.
He came among us as the way, the truth and the life,
and in him we have seen you.

He was rejected and crucified,
committing his spirit into your hands,
but you raised him to new life
and seated him at your right hand.

Now he is preparing a place for us
and drawing us to you,
that we might be a holy priesthood
and offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to you.

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.

On the night before he died for us ...

Now gathered at your table, 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.


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.


As we share this bread,
we proclaim our willingness
to build a community of love,
to be the holy people
that God calls us to be.


Behold the Lamb of God,
behold the Lamb of God.
He takes away the sin,
the sin of the world.


Nothing can trouble, nothing can frighten;
those who seek God shall never go wanting.
Nothing can trouble, nothing can frighten;
God alone fills us.


Jesus said:
“Whoever has seen me has seen Abba God.”
May the people around us, O God,
see your Beloved and see you,
when we become with one another
the way to hope, justice and love,
the truth that uplifts and reassures,
the life that is given freely
even when the cost is high.
May Christ thus become to all
the way, the truth and the life for ever.

The Sending Forth of the People of God



God of all,
give us the strength and the desire
to minister to those who struggle to live
under oppressive conditions.
Allow us to see your presence in our lives
and in the lives of others.
Breathe the fire of your love into our hearts.


Let us go to announce to neighbours and friends
that we have met with God in Christ.
Amen. We go in the name of Christ.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

SONG: The summons (Iona Community)

Will you come and follow me
if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know
and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown,
will you let my name be known,
will you let my life be grown
in you and you in me?

Will you leave yourself behind
if I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind
and never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile stare
should your life attract or scare?
Will you let me answer prayer
in you and you in me?

Will you let the blinded see
if I but call your name?
Will you set the prisoners free
and never be the same?
Will you kiss the leper clean,
and do such as this unseen,
and admit to what I mean
in you and you in me?

Will you love the ‘you’ you hide
if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside
and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you’ve found
to reshape the world around
through my sight and touch and sound
in you and you in me?

Lord, your summons echoes true
when you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you
and never be the same.
In your company I’ll go
where your love and footsteps show.
Thus I’ll move and live and grow
in you and you in me.

Based on a liturgy in UIW2;
prayers from Liturgy Alive for Sundays (www.bible.claret.org);
Laughing Bird liturgies (www.laughingbird.net);
and Jubilee Australia (www.jubileeaustralia.org).
Invitation based on prayer by the Rev. Guillermo Márquez-Sterling,
Associate Pastor, Coral Gables Congregational Church, UCC in Coral Gables, Florida
Image: The Body of Christ Shines, Creative Activity (http://bigfattoothbrush.com).

The Jubilee Principle:

True wisdom doesn’t age or expire. And so it is with the ancient idea of ‘Jubilee’. Based on Old Testament scripture, the ancient Hebrew traditions of Sabbath rest and Jubilee renewal required that those enslaved as a result of debt be freed, lands lost because of debt be returned and communities torn by inequality be restored. Jubilee Australia is inspired by the ancient biblical Jubilee idea of tackling greed and inequity, and building a just global economy, for the sake of the world’s poorest communities.
See more at: http://www.jubileeaustralia.org/page/about/faith#