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River Sunday
South Sydney Uniting Church
September 28, 2014

The river of God is full of water.’
Psalm 65:9

Gathering in the Name of God


This Sunday we worship among the rivers ...



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.


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.


We invite the rivers to worship with us:
the Murray, the Darling and all the streams that flow to the sea.

We invite the country creeks to sing:
perch, eel and platypuses, trout streams and gleaming fountains.

We invite the fauna to praise God with us:
ibis, heron and mountain duck, dragonflies and sleepy tortoises.

We join with the waters in praising God:
waterfalls singing upstream and waves dancing at the river mouth.

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

We invite you to name river creatures to join us in worship.

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

Candle ...


As we rub this river stone in our hands we remember the rivers where we have sailed and played.
O God, we thank you for the splendours of creation and the gift of rivers.

We remember and confess how we have poisoned and polluted the rivers in our garden planet.
Christ, crucified on a tree, 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 polluted our rivers with poisons, treated our streams as waste dumps, drained our wetlands of life, turned living waters into deathtraps and wasted precious waters in luxury living.
Christ, the source of all life, we are sorry. We are sorry.


Christ hears your confession from the cross and forgives your sins against the rivers.
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 our rivers.
Shalom! Shalom! We are coming home!

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

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

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

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


Let us pray.

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

Liturgy of the Word

FIRST READING Genesis 8:20-22; 9:12-17

PSALM 104:27-33

SECOND READING Revelation 22:1-5


GOSPEL Matthew 28:1-10

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

HOMILY (Mark Beaton)


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.


... 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 from the sea, the land, and the air.
Christ, teach us to care. Amen.


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.


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.


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.

It is right to give you thanks, loving Creator ...

Your presence is the life in all things,
the Christ deep among us,
filling Earth - land, 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 ...




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, 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.


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.


Sending Out


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.



Christ calls you to be his disciples,
to serve him with love and compassion,
to serve Earth by caring for creation,
especially the Outback that God has created
to evoke in us awe and wonder and praise.

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

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

We will care for creation,
restoring the rivers, loving our kin
and celebrating life.



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.

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, River Sunday 2014 (www.seasonofcreation.com).
Lord’s Prayer translation by Andrew Collis. Artwork: Helen McCarthy Tyalmuty, Ngalgin - Creation Story (http://www.japingka.com.au/collections/daly-river).

Daly River Aboriginal Art
Daly River town in the Northern Territory is 230km south of Darwin, by the river crossing and centred on the Aboriginal community of Nauiyu, originally the site of a Catholic mission. The Traditional Aboriginal owners of the area are the Malak Malak people who live both in Nauiyu and at Woolianna, further downstream. Many Indigenous people began living in the area when first settled by Europeans, with Ngan’gikuruggurr being the most prominent of the ten local languages. The area is popular for recreational fishing for Barramundi.

A Catholic mission was established in 1885 after conflicts between local Aborigines and copper miners, and the mission endured until 1899, when a significant flood forced the missionaries to be withdrawn. In 1954, contact between Malak Malak elders and the bishop of Darwin led to the mission being re-established.

The church purchased 4,000 acres of land and missionaries helped to establish a school and a clinic for the community. The mission was later renamed Nauiyu and with the exception of the church, convent, school and associated residences, the settlement was transferred to community ownership. The Daly River is prone to seasonal flooding, and major flood events devastated the town in 1899 and 1957, causing widespread damage. In 1998, a major natural disaster saw every building in the town inundated and the entire population airlifted out.

Merrepen Arts Centre is located at Nauiyu community and markets the local Aboriginal art, and other art centres exist further along the unsealed road to Peppimenarti, Palumpa and Port Keats.