UJCC Sunday Worship Service
May 7, 2023 * 5th Sunday of Easter
“There is no need for arms, physical violence, material constraints. Just a gaze. An inspecting gaze, a gaze that each individual under its weight will end by [internalising] to the point that they are their own overseer, each individual thus exercising surveillance over, and against themself.”
― Michel Foucault
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 - We Sing To You, O God
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. 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."
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. We will have some responses that you can read on the projectors if you would like to participate. You can read the parts marked "All."
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.
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 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:
But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he died.
Song of Reflection - I Surrender All
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 & 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.
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 - I Am Thine, O 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.
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!
Postlude - Christ Has Risen
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.