UJCC Sunday Worship Service
January 9, 2022 * The Baptism of Christ
“God did not say, ‘This is my son in whom I am well pleased because he has proved to me that he deserves it, he has quiet time with me each morning and always reads his Torah and because—boy—can he heal a leper.’ Nope. As far as we know Jesus hadn’t even done anything yet and he was called beloved. The one in whom the Father was well pleased. That’s God for you. And I mean that literally. That is God FOR YOU.” -Nadia Bolz-Weber
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 - "Spirit of God Descend Upon My Heart
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.
*Call To Worship
Leader: The heavens open. The Spirit descends.
All: Jesus emerges from the water.
Leader: And a voice echoes through the blue expanse.
All: This is my child, the Beloved, with whom I am well-pleased.”
Leader: Jesus is named. Claimed.
All: We come to the water. We remember we are named. Claimed.
Leader: Can it be so? What a thing to be named. Claimed.
All: Let us worship the one who names and claims us still. (cw)
Scripture Reading in Japanese - Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
We value all of our members, including our Japanese & Japanese American speakers. So, once a month, we read the Scripture passage in Japanese. Feel free to try to follow along below:
Sermon - “Being Together in Baptism”
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 that Rev. Akiko will be reading from this passage today:
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, 16John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
21Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, 22and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
Song of Reflection - “Water Has Held Us”
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!
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 - "Take My Life And Let It Be"
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.
Postlude - “Go Now In Peace”
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!
Worship Resource: (cw) Caela Wood, “Call to Worship for the first Sunday of Epiphany (inspired by Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:4-11, Luke 3:15-17, 21-22)” https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2017/01/call-to-worship-baptism-of-christ.html