UJCC Sunday Worship Service
December 4, 2022 * 2nd Sunday of Advent
“Let us love Jesus above all, let us love Mary as our mother; but then, how could we keep from loving Joseph, who was so intimately united to both Jesus and Mary? And how can we honor him better than by imitating his virtues? Now, what else did he do in all his life but contemplate, study, and adore Jesus, even in the midst of his daily labors? Behold, therefore, our model.” - St. Madeleine Sophie Barat
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!
Choral Anthem - "Christmas Communion Song"
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: The prophet foretold it, the psalmist longed for it, Joseph dreamed of it, Paul proclaimed it.
All: God is come to us, to be with us, to restore us, to save us. Let us come in awe and wonder, to worship the God who makes it all so.
Second Sunday of Advent (Focus: Isaiah 40:1–11)
Reader 1: O God, we light the second candle of Advent. (The purple candles of Hope and Peace are lit.)
Reader 2: We seek your comfort. Both mighty and tender, you come. Prepare our hearts to be transformed by you.
Reader 1: Isaiah announced God’s coming to a people exiled in a broken and parched wilderness. He declared that God’s redemption would make a highway in the desert and change the rough places into plain. God would come as a shepherd—feeding, leading, and cradling the weary flock. This Advent, we seek such a God.
All: Saving God, look upon your world and heal your land and your people. Prepare us to be changed. This Advent, teach us to be tender and just, as you are. 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!
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 from today:
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 and we will read the text again in English shortly after.
Sermon - “Joseph of Bethlehem”
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:
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,
Song of Reflection - “Here I Am, Lord"
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 - "Trust and Obey"
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.