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Order of Worship December 12, 2021

UJCC Sunday Worship Service

December 12, 2021 * 3rd Sunday of Advent


“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

2 Timothy 1:7


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!


Prelude

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 in the chat!


Song of Centering - "Come, Christians, Join To Sing"

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.

Leader: God’s Spirit has led us here.

All: And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is PEACE.

Leader: God’s Spirit has led us here.

All: And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is HOPE.

Leader: God’s Spirit has led us here.

All: And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is JOY.

Leader: God’s Spirit has led us here.

All: And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is LOVE.

Leader: There’s a sweet, sweet Spirit in the place,

All: And we know that it’s the Spirit of the Lord!

Lighting of the Advent Candles

Four weeks prior to Christmas, we celebrate a time called Advent. During Advent, we intentionally try to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. Every week we light one candle until Christmas when we celebrate the birth and life of Jesus Christ. Feel free to read along or meditate on the words below:

Reader 1: The 1st chapter of the Gospel of Matthew tells us, “In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’”

Reader 2: This morning, hear anew the Baptizer’s prophetic announcement of the coming of the Messiah and interpret it wisely.

All: We need not shrink from the challenge of repentance because when we’ve been truly rearranged on the inside, we will bear good fruit on the outside.

Reader Three: During these troubling times in our nation and around the world, the question from the crowds still persists, “What then should we do?”

All: Once again we humbly dedicate ourselves to kindness, to justice, and to fairness.

Reader Four: On this third Sunday of Advent, we light a candle of joy, as a visible symbol of these “fruits worthy of repentance.”

All: Come let us be baptized with winds of the Spirit and refined by the fire of God’s word.

[2 purple candles, then the pink one, are lit.]

Reader 1: Let us, though many, pray in one voice.

All: Gracious and loving God, as we await the coming of the One whom you sent, grant that our waiting might be the active kind. Give us the courage to meet the challenge of altering our thoughts and feelings about the world around us so that our actions might also be changed. Help us to keep our priorities straight, our passions properly pointed, and our eyes fixed upon the prize of joy. Remind us that you lovingly require evidence of our repentance—kindness, justice, and fairness. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sermon - "A Heavenly Vision"

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 Rev. Akiko will be reading from today:

Matthew 1:18-24

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel’, which means, ‘God is with us.’ When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife…

Choral Anthem - "Echo Gloria"

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 Rev. Akiko calls on you. After each prayer request, Rev. Akiko will say “O God of mercy” and everyone responds, “This is our prayer.” Finally, once all the prayer requests have been heard, Rev. Akiko will close us 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. If you have any prayer requests, please let us know in the chat!

Announcements

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.

Song of Sending - “Rejoice, the Lord is King"

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

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.


Recessional - “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus"

This is the final ending song for the worship service. Once the song is finished, feel free to offer some final greetings in the chat or go about the rest of your day!

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