UJCC Sunday Worship Service
October 2, 2022 * 17th Sunday After Pentecost * World Communion Sunday
“We cannot attain the presence of God. We’re already totally in the presence of God. What’s missing is awareness.” -David Brenner
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.
Opening Song - "This Is My 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.
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:
Infinite God, You have brought us into abundance. You have given us physical and spiritual nourishment You have led us to flowing waters of grace. We come to worship today, seeking these things for our souls. May we accept what you offer us today in its entirety, that we might share with others. Amen.
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!
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 Scripture again in English shortly.
Sermon - “Prophet Margins: Practicing the Presence of God”
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:
Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. 5Thus says the Lord: What wrong did your ancestors find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthless things, and became worthless themselves? They did not say, ‘Where is the Lord who brought us up from the land of Egypt, who led us in the wilderness, in a land of deserts and pits, in a land of drought and deep darkness, in a land that no one passes through, where no one lives?’ I brought you into a plentiful land to eat its fruits and its good things. But when you entered you defiled my land, and made my heritage an abomination. The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’ Those who handle the law did not know me; the rulers transgressed against me; the prophets prophesied by Baal, and went after things that do not profit.
Therefore once more I accuse you,
says the Lord, and I accuse your children’s children. Cross to the coasts of Cyprus and look, send to Kedar and examine with care; see if there has ever been such a thing. Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for something that does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this, be shocked, be utterly desolate,
says the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and dug out cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns that can hold no water.
Song of Reflection - "Lift Your Hands To 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.
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 is the liturgy we will read from:
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.
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 check all the current announcements at www.ujcclife.com/events
Song of Sending - “Be Thou My Vision"
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 - "Go Now In Peace"
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.