UJCC Sunday Worship Service
December 11, 2022 * 3rd Sunday of Advent
When Mary and Elizabeth meet, the Spirit inspires them to more fully understand God’s action in their own lives and in the world. -Dustyn Elizabeth Keepers
We Gather Together
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 - Choose A Carol
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 always answers prayer and answers our calls. Yet we also recognize that we must respond to God in turn. So, during this time, we invite God to join us and we encourage one another to respond to God accordingly. Feel free to read along with the response below:
Leader: God has done great things for us! All: God’s love is heralded in the promise of Christ. Leader: Holy is God’s name!
All: God’s promises are fulfilled in the coming of Christ. Leader: God’s mercy extends from generation to generation. All: God’s salvation is offered in the gift of Christ.
Third Sunday of Advent (Focus: John 1:6–8, 8–11)
Reader 1: We light the third candle of Advent.
Reader 2: We look to John, the one you sent, to point us to your light. The light will come into our world and enlighten everyone.
Reader 1: God sent John the Baptizer to prepare the people for the coming of Jesus Christ, the true Light of the World. John called for people to repent of their sins and to live faithfully. He baptized with a cleansing water and proclaimed the new life that Christ, the one who would follow him, would bring. This Advent, we ask for God’s mercy and a joyful new beginning.
All: Merciful God, we give thanks that you send messengers like John to call us to greater faith. We ask that in these days we prepare for you in prayer and acts of holy compassion. Forgive us and lead us to your light. Amen.
All (sing): Shine on us, O God of justice; Guide our path through gloom of night; Bear within us Wisdom’s glory; Come to us, O Christ the Light.
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!
Sermon - “Mary's Visit To Elizabeth"
We believe God still speaks to us today through the Bible, people, and many other sources as well. As a result, we will listen to Rev. Akiko 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:
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.’
Song of Reflection
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. Feel free to meditate on the message, pray, or simply enjoy the music during this time.
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 - Choose A Carol
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 - "God Almighty We are Waiting”
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.