Christian worship engages three distinctive human capacities: memory, reflection and hope.

Without memory, we lose our identity and the capacity to relate meaningfully and consistently to others. In worship, we remember God’s acts, including calling a people to be God’s witnesses and agents in the world. Memory enables us to enter imaginatively into others’ experience of God, especially those found in the Bible. Uniting Church congregations always read from the Bible in worship services. The Bible readings follow a three-year cycle set out in a lectionary. Our memory of God’s love and actions lead us to praise and adore God, to give thanks and to ask God to come to us again and to communicate with us through word and song.

Reflection and self-awareness lead us to think about ourselves, including the gap between our intentions and actions, and to confess our sins and failings. In worship, we remember God’s interaction with people in the past and think about how this relates to us. Through sermons, preachers seek to engage our minds and our hearts so that we will renew our commitment to God and live lives that reflect God and God’s purposes. In prayer, we reflect on our world and its needs and our own needs, so that we might bring them to God.

Our capacity for hope reveals the human orientation towards the future. Without hope, people lose their zest for life and often find themselves drifting without meaning. In worship, Christians are reminded again of God’s love and care for everyone, and are invited to dedicate themselves to serving God in the future. Offerings of money to help to sustain the Church are also an expression of this commitment. Visit the Uniting Church National Assembly worship website: www.assembly.uca.org.au/worship/

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