UJCC Sunday Worship Service
March 20, 2022 * 3rd Sunday of Lent
“Fair is the sunshine,
fairer still the moonlight,
and all the twinkling starry host:
Jesus shines brighter,
Jesus shines purer
than all the angels heaven can boast.”
-“Fairest Lord Jesus,” anonymous
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!
Song of Centering - "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty"
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. Feel free to read along with the parts marked "All" below as we respond to God's call:
Leader: You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.
All: I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
Leader: I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
All: On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.
Sermon - "Beyond What's Fair"
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. Dr. Norman Broadbent 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. Dr. Norman Broadbent will be reading from this passage today:
At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. He asked them, ‘Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.’
Then he told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, “See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?” He replied, “Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig round it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.”’
Song of Reflection - "Fairest Lord Jesus"
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 recognize that we are not perfect people. All of us make mistakes. Therefore, we confess our mistakes to God so that they will no longer hold power over us, we can overcome them, and we can live changed lives. Feel free to read the parts marked "All" below and join us in prayer as we seek to learn from our mistakes:
Leader: Gifted beyond measure, we grumble that we don't have enough. Seeking to get our own way, we do not see the ways God wants to forgive us and restore us to new life. In this season of reflection and repentance, let us turn to the One who waits for us with hope. All: We continue to be tempted, Faithful God. We are blessed with gifts to use for others, but we want to keep them for ourselves. We easily notice the mistakes of those around us, but do not want to look in the mirror at our lives. We turn our desires into idols, so we do not have to recognize how they can damage us. All: Forgive us, Steadfast God. Fill the poverty of our spirits with the richness of your grace; feed our selfish hunger with the bread of compassion for the world; pour the living waters of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, into our hearts until they overflow with love.
Time of Personal Reflection & Choral Anthem Choir - "Lenten Meditation"
At this time, feel free to join us in silent prayer. You can reflect on the areas of your life where you need help from God, confess the mistakes you have made in the past week, or just sit still and enjoy God's presence by listening to the music.
Assurance of Pardon
We believe that God is bigger and more powerful than any and all of our mistakes. God has guaranteed that all will be forgiven as long as we come humbly in prayer and ask for forgiveness. So, we have an infinite hope for a better tomorrow. Feel free to join us by reading the parts marked "All" below and find peace in this hope we have in God:
Leader: God is faithful. God's love is an eternal bargain which will not be broken, God's grace is the gift which will not be taken back.
All: Such abundant mercy, such extravagant grace! Thanks be to God, we 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.
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 sign up by clicking on the purple footsteps button in the bottom right corner.
Song of Sending - "Praise Him, Praise Him"
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 - “When We Are Living"
This is the final ending song for the worship service. Once the song is finished, feel free to check out the church entrance for event information, talk with someone new, or go about the rest of your day!