Exodus 12:1-14
God gives Moses and Aaron the instructions for the Passover meal – for the animal that must be chosen, sacrificed and eaten, how it is to be prepared, and the way the Israelites must eat it, with urgency and ready to travel. The blood of the animal is to be placed on the doorposts of their homes so that the plague of death which comes on the Egyptians will not harm the Israelites.
Psalm 149
An exhortation for God’s people to praise God both publicly (in the assembly) and privately (on their beds) and through their praises to proclaim and establish God’s reign and overcome wicked kings and nations (Note: The sword image is a metaphorical reference to the power of the praise expressed by God’s people, not a literal call to religious violence).
Romans 13: 8-14
Paul exhorts the believers to owe no debt to anyone except the ongoing debt of love, which fulfils the law. Because of the urgency of their hope, Paul encourages the believers to live pure lives, free from the dark deeds to which they may be tempted.
Matthew 18:15-20
Jesus teaches his followers a gracious process for making right with those who have hurt them – going first to the individual, then, if necessary, taking along a couple of witnesses, and finally, taking the matter to the church. Then he encourages his followers to agree, for in doing so, they find power in prayer and Christ’s presence in their gathering.
(Source: John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Readings handout (formatted: A4 landscape double sided folded) COCU55A.readings.WORDversion.revised

Call to worship
(based on Romans 13:8-14 and Matthew 18:15-20)
People of God, open your eyes!
Look around!
The presecne of our Lord Jesus Christ is here –
among us and within us.
God’s salvation is close at hand –
nearer than you know.
So open your hearts and minds to the Spirit,
and let’s worship God together
(Source: re-worship)

A Call to Worship (Psalm 149)
Praise the Source of life!
Sing to the Holy One a new song.
Praise the one we name God among the communion of saints.
Let the people of God rejoice in their creator.
Let them praise the Source of all that is with dance,
and celebrate with musical instruments,
because God delights in them,
and adorns the despairing with welfare.
Let all the saints jump for joy;
let them cry out with gladness where they rest.
Let high praises of Divine be in their throats:
word and song that overcome injustice,
binding rulers in chains and the powerful in iron shackles;
bringing justice to them, and honour to all God’s faithful.
Praise the Source of all that is!
(Source: Jeff Shrowder, The Billabong)

“Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Matthew 18.20
Where there is relationship,
where there is love, there is Christ.
Where there’s conductor and ground – electrical flow.
Loving community is Christ,
each of us the fourth member
of the Holy Trinity.
Not “beside,” Jesus says, but among:
in the in-between-ness,
in the exchange of energy
between us,
the power of forgiveness,
the light of gratitude, honor, affection,
the death and resurrection
of giving and receiving.
Gather in that name, that mercy,
and feel the Beloved
humming between you.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

Seeing wrong/doing love
(Matthew 18:15-20/Romans 13:8-14)
The wrong done to me
I see large, but do I see
my wrong to others?Sometimes Jesus’ call,
“Love your neighbour as yourself”,
is not so easy.
(Source: Jeff Shrowder, The Billabong, 2017)

A creative moment – Romans 13:8-14

(a) Shallow trays or dishes of sand set out at or near the communion table;
(b) a supply of small votive candles, sufficient for the whole congregation;
(c) a large central candle from which the votice candles can be lit.
(d) as a precaution, it may be appropriate to have a fire-blanket on hand.

While Romans 13:8-14 is read, each member of the congregation is invited to listen for the word of grace or phrase which catches their attention. After several moments of silent reflection have the passage read again . . . slowly. The congregation is invited to come forward as “their” word or phrase is read, light a candle, and stand it in the tray of sand, and then return to their seat.
If the lighting in the church can be reduced for this reading, so much the better; the increasing “candle-power” will dramatically symbolise the approaching day, however that is understood from this reading.
(Source: Jeff Shrowder, The Billabong)

If a brother or sister sins against you,  go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. Matthew 18.15
Well, don’t go for “sin” or “fault:”
it’s too easy, and useless, to judge.
But pay attention to “hurt.”
Defy that voice of false politeness
and the repression of the truth.
If someone hurts you,
go toward them, not away,
and name the hurt.
Neither hide nor retaliate, even politely:
simply, gently tell the truth.
Claim your part of it,
even if just to receive it,
and to give them access to their part of it.
Not to nail them, not to relieve yourself,
but because you love them.
Be prepared to listen—
to their journey, and to your own.
Think of it as opening a door
to a place neither of you have gone before,
and can’t without the other.
Think of it as opening the door
to that Jesus place.
Imagine how refreshing the air would be
in a community of open, caring honesty,
without that hidden bucket of hurts
fermenting under the kitchen sink.
In the dark places where our hurts lie
is the tomb from which Christ rises, alive,
the very Christ who,
wherever two or three are gathered in his love,
is among us.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

 (Romans 13: 8-10)
Go into the world with no debt but love,
for love will not harm, will do no wrong
to your neighbour.
Go into the world with no law but love,
and you will keep God’s commandments
of love and honour.
Go into the world with no prayer but love,
and God will be with you, Christ
will be in you, Spirit will be around you. Amen
(Source: Sarah Agnew, Pray the Story)

Singing from the Lectionary, Natalie Sims
Together to Celebrate, David MacGregor

Christ, you teach us of your Kingdom
(Tune: Infant Holy, Infant Lowly)
Christ, you teach us of your Kingdom
And the common life we share.
You remind us, “Be like children!”
So we offer you our prayer:
Make us gentle, make us humble,
May we cause no one to stumble,
Sheltered in your church’s care.

Shepherd, every lamb is cherished —
Even those who go astray.
You want none of us to perish
Nor to wander from your way.
When a sister or a brother
Sins against you or another,
Give us helpful words to say.

Let your love be our foundation
When we need to challenge sin;
May our quiet conversations
Be the places we begin.
For our judging and complaining
And our gossip and our blaming
Won’t bring sinners home again.

May we seek your will together,
Bound together by rebirth.
May we care for one another,
Knowing every sinner’s worth.
Two or three — united, praying,
Two or three — your love obeying,
Are your voice and hands on earth.

Biblical Reference: Matthew 18:1-20 Text: © 2014 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette.
Email:     New Hymns:

Put On Love in Perfect Measure (Tune: Hyfrodol)
Put on love in perfect measure
Chosen people, holy, loved.
Clothe with kindness, God’s compassion
Tol’rance, each one God’s beloved.
All forgiven, all forgiving
In the grace of Christ our Lord
Bound as one in perfect measure
Above all
we put on love

Put on love and patience, gentleness
Modesty, wear all around
In our hearts let peace rule deeply
Peace our call; within, without
Ever thankful as your body
May Christ’s peace dwell deep in our heart
Bound as one in perfect measure
As your people
Each playing our part.

Let the word of Christ dwell richly
Teach each other on the way
May our doing, saying, living
Be in Jesus’ name, we pray
Giving thanks to God, Creator
Singing psalms and songs in praise
Bound as one in perfect measure
Clothed with love
Through all our days
(Source: David MacGregor, Together to Celebrate)

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon). This blog may be a help to people planning worship services.
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