UJCC Sunday Worship Service
February 26, 2023 * 1st Sunday of Lent
“Lent is a time of going very deeply into ourselves... What is it that stands between us and God? Between us and our brothers and sisters? Between us and life, the life of the Spirit? Whatever it is, let us relentlessly tear it out, without a moment's hesitation.”
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.
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!
Songs of Centering - O Master, Let Me Walk With Thee
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. Please join us by responding with the section marked "All":
Leader: The dust that shapes the journey, the cross that guides it, the color that surrounds it, the light that fades through it, the word that foretells it, the wilderness that invites it
All: This is Lent, and into its wilderness God calls us. Come, brothers and sisters, Christ is heading for Jerusalem.
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 and various artists during this time and try to discern what God is trying to tell us through their message. Feel free to listen, take notes, or meditate on something that stuck out to you.
Song of Reflection - Near To The Heart Of God
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.
Time of Confession
We are all sinners who make mistakes. As a result, it is important for us to ask forgiveness for our shortcomings so that we can live in the freedom that Jesus offers us through grace. Please read along with the parts marked "All" below:
Leader: Merciful God, from you comes all truth, all healing, all that makes our world good and whole.
All: Forgive us, O Lord, those times when we have listened to those who do not speak for you.
Leader: Forgive us for the weakness that has led us at times to seek the water of life at springs which can never satisfy.
All: Forgive us for not testing the spirits that are around us: forgive us too for how we play with empty knowledge and delight in useless predictions that help neither us or those around us.
Leader: Have mercy on us and speak once again to us.
All: Help us to hear the word you send and to turn away from the words that come from false prophets and those who do not know your ways.
[time of silent prayer and confession]
Leader: Lord, hear our prayer.
All: Touch us and make us whole.
Leader: This is the promise of God: "If my people humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” In God’s infinite love, you are forgiven. Amen.
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 Forth - Have Thine Own Way, Lord
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 - When We Are Living
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.