UJCC Sunday Worship Service
December 3, 2023 * 1st Sunday of Advent
The season of Advent means there is something on the horizon the likes of which we have never seen before ... What is possible is to not see it, to miss it, to turn just as it brushes past you. And you begin to grasp what it was you missed, like Moses in the cleft of the rock, watching God’s [back] fade in the distance. So stay. Sit. Linger. Tarry. Ponder. Wait. Behold. Wonder. There will be time enough for running. For rushing. For worrying. For pushing. For now, stay. Wait. Something is on the horizon. -Jan L. Richardson
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.
Greeting One Another
This 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 meet someone new!
Song of Centering - Glorify Thy Name
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 song of centering, we try to lay aside our busy lives, worries, and distractions in order to focus on God. Please feel free to meditate, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, or sing along.
Lighting of the Advent Candles
Reader 1: In the days of exile and uncertainty, the prophet Isaiah cried out:
O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence. As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil, come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the nations to quake before you! For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down, and the mountains trembled before you. (Isaiah 64:1-3)
Reader 2: In the midst of our own encounters with uncertainty and upheaval and our longing for deliverance, Jesus calls to us, “Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come” (Mark 13:35).
Congregation: We wait as people surprised again and again by God who shakes us out of our complacency and wakes us up to the work of the kingdom all around us.
Reader 1: We light this candle as a sign of our shocking hope. May we stay awake to God’s activity in the world as we wait in expectation that even now God is with us, working to restore us to the fullness of life with God and one another. Amen. (lh)
Light the first (purple) candle of the Advent wreath.
Sung Response - “Advent Song”
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. As a result, our worship leader will read the first line and then everyone else is invited to read the next response out loud. The words will be projected on the screen. Feel free to read the parts marked "All."
Another way we like to be more inclusive of children in our service is by making short, fun, educational videos or skits. 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. At UJCC, all are welcome. So, if you would like to receive the gift of life that Jesus offers, feel free to approach the front as the ushers call you and then return to your seat. You are welcome to eat the bread and drink the juice at your pace. You can also meditate or pray as necessary during this time. We will have some responses that you can read on the projectors if you would like to participate.
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.
Message - Everything Comes From God
We believe God still speaks to us today through the Bible, people, and many other sources as well. We will 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.
Joys & 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. At this time, Rev. Akiko will lead us in the Lord’s prayer. You can follow along with the words on the slideshow.
Doxology is an expression of praise to God. We will first sing it 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 - Lord, Be Glorified
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.
This 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!
Ending Song - 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.