Order of Worship April 2, 2023
UJCC Sunday Worship Service
April 2, 2023 * Palm Sunday
“Remember finally, that the ashes that were on your forehead are created from the burnt palms of last Palm Sunday. New beginnings invariably come from old false things that are allowed to die.” -Richard Rohr
We Gather Together
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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
Words of Welcome
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!
Songs 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
In the call to worship, there is a call and a response. God calls us and we are supposed to respond accordingly. Please join us by responding with the section marked "All":
Leader: The story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, tells us that after his celebrated arrival.
All: He went into the Temple and looked around at everything.
Leader: As we gather here for worship today may it be with a sense that Jesus has walked in too, and is looking around.
All: May our eyes be open to see Him, may our hearts be ready to be seen by Him, may our worship be worthy of His presence, and may we be transformed so that we see the world through His eyes. Amen.
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!
We believe that Jesus Christ was born as a human being, lived among us, and died to redeem creation from all sin past, present, and future. As a reminder of Jesus' great love for us, we continue to practice the tradition of breaking bread and wine that Jesus started with the disciples thousands of years ago. At UJCC, we believe that all are welcome. So, if you would like to receive the gift of life that Jesus offers freely to all, feel free to approach the front as the ushers call you and then return to your seat. You are then more than welcome to eat the bread and drink the juice at your pace. You can also meditate or pray as necessary during this time. Here are the responses we will be reading:
Leader: The Lord be with you.
All: And also with you.
Leader: Lift up your hearts.
All: We lift them up to the Lord.
Leader: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
All: It is right to give our thanks and praise.
Leader: …And so, with your people on earth and all the company of heaven we praise your name and join their unending hymn:
All: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
Leader: …as we proclaim the mystery of faith:
All: Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.
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. We will read the passage again in English shortly.
Sermon - Art For Healing: Voices In the Wilderness: Start Anew
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 her message. Feel free to listen, take notes, or meditate on something that stuck out to you. Here is the passage we will be reading from today:
Matthew 21:1-11 When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, “The Lord needs them.” And he will send them immediately.’ This took place to fulfil what had been spoken through the prophet, saying, ‘Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’
When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, ‘Who is this?’ The crowds were saying, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.’
Choral Anthem - Lift High The Palms
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.
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.
We will first sing the doxology in English and then in Japanese.
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 check all the current announcements at www.ujcclife.com/events
Song of Sending Forth - All Glory, Laud, and Honor
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, sing along, or simply enjoy the music.
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 - Go Now In Peace
This is the final ending song for the worship service. Once the song is finished, feel free to talk to someone new, attend our small group, or make your way safely back home.