Acknowledgement of Country
As we gather, we acknowledge the traditional custodians of this sacred land. I join worship on the land of the __________ people (of the _________ nation). We pay our respects to their elders, past, present and emerging.
We acknowledge that the First Peoples of this land had already encountered the Creator God before the arrival of the colonisers, and that the Spirit was already in the land revealing God to the people through law, custom and ceremony. We recognise the continued ministry of First Peoples within the church, and their continuing connection to their land and living cultures. We acknowledge the ways in which we, the church, have been and continue to be complicit in the oppression of First Peoples. And we recommit to the path of reconciliation and justice that God lays before us.
Alternatively, worship leaders might want to use the Acknowledgement of Country in another language, translations below.
Lighting of the Christ Candle
Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life”. [John 8:12, NRSV]
We follow the one who is the light of the world.
Not just of this place, not just of this nation, not just of people like us, but the light of the world.
So as we gather to celebrate the work of our risen Lord in the world, we light this Christ candle, knowing that today countless thousands of candles will be lit in the name of Jesus, light of the world. Today we join in the celebration of Christians throughout the world as we declare our shared faith:
Leader: Christ is Risen
All: He is risen indeed
Call to Worship
The words of the Paschal Greeting (“Christ is risen… he is risen indeed”) are used by Christians throughout the world. So as we begin our celebration we are going to share those words in different languages, as a mark of our solidarity and unity with believers everywhere.
If there are multiple languages spoken by members of the congregation, the worship leader might invite them to teach the greeting in their own language. Alternatively, or as well, the call to worship slide deck includes the greeting in a wide range of languages.
Holy and Loving God,
Thank you that you make all things new.
And through your son Jesus Christ who was raised from the grave paves the way for us to have new life and new beginnings with you.
Shine your light in us, through us, over us and may we make a difference in this world, for your glory and purposes.
Guide us in this new season to look beyond ourselves and reflect your peace and hope to a world that so desperately needs your presence and healing.
Give us courage to walk in your peace and tell the Good News we have received through our words, deeds and every being of our lives,
- Give Me A Place (Link) Written by Julian Elia and Ben Cross, used with permission
- All Of This Is Us (Link)
- Love Divine All Loves Excelling (TIS 217)
- For The Beauty Of The Earth (TIS 137)
Prayer of Praise
We have so much to be thankful for, despite the challenges we have faced over the past year not only as individuals but also within our families, society and in the world.
Today we are reminded of the work that God is doing through our partner Churches, as they continue to live out their calling to go out and tell the world of the Good News that has come to us through Jesus Christ.
Reflect & Share
We as a church community are invited to take this chance to pause and reflect on the good news stories we have to share - no matter how big or small they may be. Take a few moments to think of the good news you have seen and heard, and especially to remember the times and places that you have seen God at work in the world over the past year.
Then in small groups, share those stories of good news, of God at work in the world, with one another.
Act & Pray
When you have finished sharing in your groups, take a coloured piece of paper and write down in a few words something of one of the stories you have heard or remembered, good news of God at work. Then we’re going to bring those stories together as a prayer of praise and thanksgiving for all God has done and is doing.
Play some soft instrumental music as people are given time to talk and right. If you are meeting online, you may wish to use breakout rooms, or invite people to share their thoughts in the chat.
If meeting in person, and if you wish to take some time over this activity, prepare coloured paper in long strips which can then be looped together and stapled or taped to for a chain. Alternatively, the coloured papers could be brought forward and placed around the communion table or in some other suitable place.
The leader may wish to conclude with a prayer of praise picking up words and themes written on the paper, or with a more general prayer of praise for God’s work in the world.
Luke 4:14 - 21
1 John 4:16b-21
Sermon by UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer.
- For The Fruits Of All Creation (TiS 168)
- Garden (Link) Written by Mikali Anagnostis – used with permission
- O thou who camest from above (Link or TiS 572)
- Worthy (Link) Written by Rads, used with permission.
- From Little Things Big Things Grow (Link)
Call to Action
In our prayers of praise we reflected on the good news stories that we have heard or seen, and the ways in which we have seen God at work in the world.
Reflecting on those stories, on Deidre’s words, and the work of UnitingWorld that we’ve heard about in the videos, discuss these questions in small groups (or Zoom breakout rooms!)
- What story that you have heard today do you think you will remember? Why?
- When have you been part of the story of God’s work in the world? Tell your story.
- What is our role, as individuals, as congregations, and as a national Church, in God’s work?
Offering & Offering Prayer
Congregations may wish to take up an offering for the work of UnitingWorld, or to have a retiring offering for that work.
Loving God, we join today in celebration of your work in your world. We give you thanks for all the stories we have heard and shared, and for the countless more acts of grace and works of your Spirit that go unnoticed.
We give you thanks, too, for calling us to be part of this story, participants by word and deed in the work of making your Kingdom known to all.
And as part of our response to that call, we bring these gifts, and with them, we recommit ourselves into your service. Use our money and ourselves, here in our local community, and throughout your world.
For we ask in the name of our risen Lord, Jesus Christ.
- Beautiful Things (Link) CCLI #5665521
- How Long (Link) CCLI #3934656
- In the cross of Christ (Link) or TiS 349 CCLI #2648242
- Have Mercy on Me (Link)
- A Touching Place (TiS 677)
- I The Lord Of Sea And Sky (TiS 658)
- The Voice Of God Goes Out (TiS 282)
Prayers of Intercession
God of infinite compassion,
From age to age we tell the stories of Jesus’ time on earth – comforting the suffering, healing the sick, speaking out against injustice, challenging the powerful, and bringing hope to all humanity. Though those feet no longer walk the earth, and those hands no longer rest on the afflicted, we know you still hear the calling of your people, and we bring our prayers for the world in this time.
We pray for those struggling for the essentials of life – for food, clothing and shelter, but also for healthcare, and education – we pray that every bowl and every belly might be filled, and that every child might have the hope that comes from learning and dreaming. We pray for everyone who is oppressed or exploited in this time, and for victims of violence and trauma, that their wounds might be healed with peace, grace and justice.
We pray for the burgeoning effects of climate change, praying that all of humankind might have the moral fortitude to stand in solidarity to address this threat, and knowing that we all breathe the same air, regardless of what country we live in. And because we all breathe the same air, we pray especially for those whose lives have been upset or ended during this time of pandemic, just as we pray for victims of other natural disasters like floods, cyclones and earthquakes.
Beyond all of this, we pray for ourselves, in this here-and-now:
We pray for the courage to remain engaged with the messy, broken, beautiful world around us.
We pray for the integrity not to conveniently throw up our hands in despair when hope is hard to find – help us to have the constancy and the faith to continue looking for the cracks where your light shines through, knowing beyond doubt that your light is never lost.
We pray for the vision to get on board with the life-changing work that you are doing through our Christian sisters and brothers, whether that be down the street or on the other side of the world.
We pray that you will move hands and hearts, throughout this land and every land, to answer the human needs that go wanting.
And we pray that we, your people, might shine as an example of compassion and generosity in the way we use our words, our actions, our time, our talents and our resources.
Loving God, knowing you hear us and support us beyond our own strength, we lay down all that is heavy on our hearts at this time. And we take up, instead, the challenge to be your hands and feet and voice and eyes to our neighbours - next door, and in every place.
In Jesus’ name we pray.
- Labour Unto Glory (Link) CCLI #7097869
- Beauty For Brokenness (TiS 690)
- Christ Be Our Light (Link) One License #80229
- Filled With The Spirit’s Power (TiS 411)
- We Will Love (Link) One License #uca-2013-11
- O Love That Wilt (Link) or TiS 602 CCLI #2754679
A Franciscan Benediction
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers,
half -truths, superficial relationships,
so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice,
oppression and exploitation,
so that you will work for justice, equity and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed
for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war,
so that you will reach out your hand to comfort them, and change their pain to joy.
And may God bless you with the foolishness to think
that you can make a difference in the world,
so that you will do the things which others tell you cannot be done.
Rights to songs
All music suggested in the liturgy are from Together in Song (TiS), covered under CCLI or ONE licence scheme, available on YouTube or with the permission of the copyright holder. CCLI License Number: 549943, Streaming licence: 30885, One License: A-736697
- Please make sure your congregation has a CCLI or ONE Licence if you choose those songs.
- For the songs on YouTube, you will need to comply with YouTube’s provision conditions.
- Songs where we have obtained direct permission, you are free to use for worship, as obviously are the songs from Together in Song.
Acknowledgement and thanks
UnitingWorld would like to extend heartfelt thanks to Rev Dr Chris Goringe, Rev Radhika Sukumar-White, Ms Claire Wallace and Rev Charissa Suli for putting together this order of service, and President Dr Deidre Palmer for the sermon. We also gratefully acknowledge all the musicians who gave permission for their recorded music to be shared and to composers Julian Elia, Ben Cross, Mikali Anagnostis and Rev Radhika Sukumar-White for giving us permission to use their music.