UJCC Sunday Worship Service
December 19, 2021 * 4th Sunday of Advent
“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmastime.”
-Laura Ingalls Wilder
“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!
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 - “Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming”
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.
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: Elizabeth was barren with no hope for a child, but then a baby filled her womb. The presence of new life filled her with hope.
All: May the light of Christ fill us with hope.
Reader 2: Elizabeth did not know why Mary came rushing through her doors, but the leap of her unborn child filled her with knowledge of the Lord. The knowledge of the Lord filled her with peace.
All: May the light of Christ fill us with peace.
Reader Three: John the Baptist, while in the womb of his mother, expressed the joy of generations to come. The faith of Mary filled the unborn babe with joy.
All: May the light of Christ fill us with joy.
Reader Four: In a moment filled with hope, in a moment filled with peace, in a moment filled with joy, Mary opens her mouth to sing, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…” Mary rejoices in the God who loves the oppressed; Mary rejoices in the God who loves the hungry. Mary a maiden, Mary unseen by the powerful of the world, is filled with the light and made powerful by a God bent on overturning the world with a teenage girl and newborn babe.
All: Like the first disciple Mary, let the light of Christ fill us with love.
Reader Four: Please join me in prayer:
All: God of Love, we thank you for bringing the light of Christ into the world. May the love shared by Elizabeth and Mary serve as a beacon for our own affections. May we, like Mary, create love that exalts the lowly and makes low the proud. May we all bear the light that changes the world. Amen. (cg)
UJCC Sunday School Christmas Program “Emoji Christmas”
Kathie Sakamoto and Mary-Kay Watkins, Sunday School Superintendents
Scripture Reading in English and/or Japanese - Luke 2:1-7
Special Music - “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear”
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!
Song of Reflection - "Angels We Have Heard On High"
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.
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 - “Hark The Herald Angels Sing”
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.
Recessional - “Joy To The World"
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!