UJCC Sunday Worship Service
April 10, 2022 * Palm Sunday
“Finally, we reach the climax of the year, truly the center of human history, the axis on which everything turns: Holy Week. Day by day, we ponder what Jesus did—his courage, his commitment, his immense compassion—and how the events of a single week from so long ago still resonate with us today.”
We Gather Together
We apologize in advance if your worship experience is a bit different today. We have had some serious technical difficulties so we are using some old methods today.
You are invited to the spiritual practice of returning thanks to God. You can try our online giving option HERE. Thank you and peace be with you!
We recognize that some of you may have had a crazy week and need some space or quiet time. So, 5-10 minutes prior to the service, we will play some music that you can listen to while you meditate. Otherwise, feel free to let us know that you're here by saying hi in the chat!
Words of Welcome
Around 10:30AM, our service will start. During this time, our worship leader will offer a greeting, introduce special guests, or provide important information for the service. Ultimately, we want to show how much we appreciate you joining us today despite your busy schedule.
Passing the Peace
Passing of the peace may merely seem like a time to greet one another. However, it also serves as a reminder of the peace that we have with God and the peace that we have with each other due to Jesus’ sacrifice. Please take this time to greet one another at church and online!
Song of Centering - "Hosanna, Loud Hosanna"
In the same way that we get ready for a date, it is important for us to get ready to hear God’s Word. So, during the songs of centering, we intentionally try to lay aside our busy lives, worries, and distractions in order to focus on God. For if we have too much noise in our minds, this can leave little room for God. Please feel free to sit quietly in meditation, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, sing along, or use your body as you are able.
Call To Worship
We believe that God hears us when we call for help and that God answers our prayers too. So, we use this time to invite God to be present and working among us in our church service. Feel free to read along with the parts marked "All" below:
Leader: We come to prepare for the holiest of weeks.
All: We will journey through praise, with joy on our lips; we will travel through betrayal and death, cradling hope deep in our hearts.
Leader: Jesus leads us through this week, and we will follow for He is the life we long for, He is the Word who sustains us.
All: We wave palm branches in anticipation, we lay our love before Him, to cushion His walk.
Leader: Setting aside all power, glory, and might, He comes: modeling humility and obedience for all of us.
All: Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed is the One who brings us the kingdom of God.
At UJCC, we value young families and children. So, whenever we have family worship, we try to make short, fun, educational videos or skits in order to be more inclusive of our younger audience. Feel free to enjoy this material with your kids and talk about it later too!
Scripture Reading in Japanese
Some Japanese and Japanese Americans attend our church. As a result, we like to extend our love and hospitality to them by reading the Scripture text for the sermon in Japanese once a month. However, we understand that many of our members may not speak Japanese. So, feel free to appreciate the beauty of the Japanese language or try to see if you can hear the keyword shu. Shumeans "lord" in Japanese. Here is the Japanese text for today:
Sermon - "Wonderful Words"
We believe God still speaks to us today through the Bible, people, and many other sources as well. As a result, we listen to Rev. Akiko during this time and try to discern what God is trying to tell us through his message. Feel free to listen, take notes, or meditate on something that stuck out to you. Here is the Scripture text that Rev. Akiko will be reading from this passage today:
After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, saying, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, “Why are you untying it?” just say this: “The Lord needs it.” ’ So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’ They said, ‘The Lord needs it.’ Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying,
‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!’
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, order your disciples to stop.’ He answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.’
Choral Anthem - "On That Day When He Rode Into Jerusalem"
It is our responsibility to respond to God’s message. So, the song after the sermon gives us a little more time to digest God’s message and think about how we can respond appropriately. So, feel free to meditate on the message, pray, or simply enjoy the music.
Time of Confession
We recognize that we are not perfect people. All of us make mistakes. Therefore, we confess our mistakes to God so that they will no longer hold power over us, we can overcome them, and we can live changed lives. Feel free to read the parts marked "All" below and join us in prayer as we seek to learn from our mistakes:
Leader: We sing, we wave our branches, we shout “Hosanna.” Then, we turn away, to go back to our old ways, our old lives, our old sins. But God is in the business of granting forgiveness and filling us with new life. Let us confess to the One who comes to fill us with grace.
All: With eager hearts and open hands, Holy One, we welcome Jesus, until he refuses the power we offer him, choosing to become our servant. We pick up the faith we had laid on the ground before him, and put it back on the shelf where it belongs. Our pride keeps us from being able to follow him all the way to Calvary.
All: Hosanna, Steadfast God, save us! Help us to let our fears, our doubts, our faithlessness slip from our lives to fall at your feet, so we may stand with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who comes in your name, in your glory, in your grace to save us.
[time of silent prayer and confession]
Words of Assurance
We believe that God is bigger and more powerful than any and all of our mistakes. God has guaranteed that all will be forgiven as long as we come humbly in prayer and ask for forgiveness. So, we have an infinite hope for a better tomorrow. Feel free to join us in prayer as Rev. Akiko speaks these words of assurance:
Leader: Tell the daughters of despair, proclaim it to the sons of sadness:
All: Christ has come to save us! Hosanna! We will give our thanks to God, who comes to bring us grace, hope, life. Hosanna in the highest. Amen!
Joys and Concerns
We believe God hears and answers our prayers. Not only that, but we believe in praying together so that we can encourage and support those going through difficult times, or celebrate our many blessings. For we are all God’s family. When one of us suffers, we all suffer. When one of us rejoices, we all rejoice. You are not alone. If you have any prayer requests, feel free to raise your hand until you are called upon. After each prayer request, we will say “O God of mercy” and everyone responds, “This is our prayer.” Finally, once all the prayer requests have been heard, we will close with a final prayer followed by the Lord’s prayer. If you do not know the Lord’s prayer, it will be up on the slideshow for you.
The announcements provide opportunities for us to put our faith into action throughout the week. Please try to see if anything interests you or challenge yourself to try something new. Volunteering is a great way to bless others, but we are often blessed ourselves in the process. You can sign up by clicking on the purple footsteps button in the bottom right corner.
Song of Sending - "Wonderful Words of Life"
The song of sending forth prepares our hearts to go back out into the world. You can use this song as a final opportunity to decide how to respond to the message, pray for God’s guidance, or simply enjoy the music by humming along.
Benediction is another word for blessing. It is a short prayer said in order to bless everyone as we get ready to go back out into the world. Feel free to close your eyes and receive the blessing so that you may be strengthened and encouraged.
Postlude - “When We Are Living"
This is the final ending song for the worship service. Once the song is finished, feel free to check out the church entrance for event information, talk with someone new, or go about the rest of your day!