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A SERVICE OF WORD AND SACRAMENT

Land Sunday
South Sydney Uniting Church
September 14, 2014

Let the field exult and everything in it.’
Psalm 96:12

Gathering in the Name of God

CALL TO WORSHIP

This Sunday we worship with the land, the soil and the earth of our country ...

SONG

GREETING

In the name of the Creator, the fountain of life,
the name of Christ, the pulse of life,
and the name of the Spirit, the breath of life. Amen.
Holy! Holy! Holy! Earth is filled with God’s presence.

The God of life be with you.
And also with you.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY

Traditional owners ...

Christ, we gather in your name
to worship in this sanctuary called Earth,
a planet filled with your presence,
quivering in the forests,
vibrating in the land,
shimmering in the wilderness,
rippling in the rivers.

God, reveal yourself to us in this place
and show us your face in all creation.
Holy! Holy! Holy! Earth is filled with God’s presence.

INVITATION

We invite the country to worship with us:
wild flowers and mushrooms, swirling grasses and golden wattle.

We join the land as it trembles before God:
With tremors and earthquakes, whirlwinds and volcanoes.

We invite the farmlands to sing with us:
wheat fields, orchards and vineyards, red gums, gardens and wetlands.

We join with all the fauna of the fields in praising God:
kangaroos, emus and bandicoots, echidnas, eagles and magpies.

We invite the ground to stir deep below:
life-giving microbes restoring the soil, beetles and worms preparing our food.

We celebrate the song of the soil!
Sing, soil, sing!

The names of other creatures or parts of the countryside may be added ...

We celebrate the song of the soil!
Sing, soil, sing!

A large terracotta bowl with soil is placed on the Table.
A candle in the soil symbolises God’s presence in the Earth.

PENITENTIAL RITE

A fragrant symbol of remembrance is given as a reminder of connection with creation.

We remember the countryside where we have worked and played.
O God, we thank you for the beauty of creation and the gift of land.

We remember and confess how we have poisoned and polluted the soils in our garden planet.
Christ, once buried in Earth, hear our cry.

We regret that we have forgotten Earth and treated this garden planet as a beast to be tamed and a place to be ruled.
Christ, the hope of all creation, we lament our failings.

We have killed living soils with excessive chemicals, turned fertile fields into lifeless salt plains and cleared rich lands of wildlife.
Christ, the source of all life, we are sorry.
We are sorry.

FORGIVENESS

Christ hears your confession and forgives your sins against the land.

Christ, teach us to love Earth
and return to Earth as our home.

I speak for Christ:
I invite you to come home to Earth
by rejoicing in the land.
Shalom! Shalom! We are coming home!

As we come home to Earth,
God, have mercy.

As we seek to love our home,
Christ, have mercy.

As we seek to care for our planet,
God, have mercy.

Glory to God in the highest!
And on Earth peace with all creation!

COLLECT

God, our Creator, whose glory fills our planet,
help us to discern your vibrant presence among us,
especially in the wonders of the land.
Help us empathise with your land creatures who are suffering.
Lift our spirits to rejoice with the land,
the flowers of the field and the creatures of the countryside.
We ask this in the name of Christ,
who reconciles and renews all things in creation.
Amen.

Liturgy of the Word

FIRST READING Genesis 3:14-19; 4:8-16

‘Earth bears the curse for us’ Because of the sin of our primal parents, God pronounced some curses. The ground of Earth bears the curse for humans, and from the ground Abel’s blood cries to God. At their death, Earth welcomes humans home again.

PSALM 96:11-13

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION

GOSPEL Matthew 12:38-40

‘Jesus in the heart of Earth’ In death, Jesus too is connected with the ground. He is three days and three nights ‘in the heart of the earth’.

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

HOMILY

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH

God creates all things,
renews all things and celebrates all things.
This we believe.

Earth is a sanctuary,
a sacred planet filled with God’s presence,
a home for us to share with our kin.
This we believe.

God became flesh and blood,
a piece of Earth,
a human being called Jesus Christ,
who lived and breathed and spoke among us,
suffered and died on a cross,
for all human beings and for all creation.
This we believe.

The risen Jesus
is the Christ at the centre of creation,
reconciling all things to God,
renewing all creation and filling the cosmos.
This we believe.

The Holy Spirit renews life in creation,
groans in empathy with a suffering creation
and waits with us for the rebirth of creation.
This we believe.

We believe that with Christ we will rise
and with Christ we will celebrate a new creation.

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

... Jesus Christ, teach us to be at one with Earth.
Make our spirits sensitive to the cries of creation,
cries for justice from the hills and the trees.
Jesus Christ, make our faith sensitive to the groans of the Spirit
from the deserts, the salt plains, the winds.
Jesus Christ, make our souls sensitive to the songs of our kin,
songs of celebration in the sea, the land and the air.
Christ, teach us to care. Amen.

Liturgy of the Eucharist

OFFERING/SONG

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 signs of our concern for those in need,
including our fellow creatures on planet Earth.
With all creation we praise our Creator. Amen.

THE PEACE

Christ has reconciled us to God in one body by the cross.
We meet in Christ’s name and share God’s peace.

The peace of Christ be always with you.
And also with you.

GREAT PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING

God be with you.
And also with you.

Open your hearts.
We open them to the God of love.

Let us give thanks to the Maker of heaven and earth.
It is right to join creation in thanking God.

...

Your presence is the life in all things,
the Christ deep among us, filling Earthland, sea and air
filling every element and place,
filling the grain and the grape we share with you this day.

Therefore with angels on high
ancient voices in the forest,
the rumbling of the earth,
the thundering silence of the outback,
the babbling rivers
and the whole company of creation,
we proclaim your presence among us.

Holy, holy, holy, God ...

INSTITUTION

CONSECRATION

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.

BREAKING OF THE BREAD

LAMB OF GOD

Lamb of God, who takes away all sin against God,
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.

INVITATION

Come, for all things are now ready.
Come to the table with all your kin and share with all in need:
the gift of healing for those in pain,
the gift of forgiveness for those in sin,
the gift of assurance for those in doubt,
and the gift of hope for those in tears.
May we who share these gifts
share Christ with one another
and all our kin.

COMMUNION

Sending Out

PRAYER

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 Earth.
Amen.

Notices.

COMMISSIONING

Christ calls you to be his disciples,
to serve him with love and compassion,
to serve Earth by caring for creation,
nurturing the land that God has made alive
so that we and all our kin may live.

We will follow our crucified Saviour,
listening for cries of injustice from Earth
and groaning with creation.

We will follow our risen Christ,
to become partners in healing our planet.

We will care for creation,
nurturing the land, loving our kin
and celebrating life.

SONG

BLESSING

May the Spirit of God,
who is above all and in all and through all,
fill you with the knowledge of God’s presence in Earth
and the ministry of Christ in creation,
through whom all things are reconciled and renewed.
Amen.

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


Based on a liturgy for the Season of Creation, Land Sunday 2014 (www.seasonofcreation.com).
Lord’s Prayer translation by Andrew Collis.
Artwork: “Image #5, 3 Ponds Series C” by Michelle Collocott, 2008.

Michelle Collocott responds with care and concern to the changing environment of rural NSW, having lived and painted near Oberon for many years. She cannot, however, be defined as merely a landscape artist. Stylistically abstract and conceptually figurative, Collocott works in a precise manner, dividing her canvasses into areas and spaces influenced by cartographical markings. See more at: http://www.janetclaytongallery.com.au/exhibition_essay.php