Archive for Worship

Advent and Christmas 2019

Sunday, December 1: Advent begins with Hope
On the first Sunday of Advent, we’ll celebrate with a bilingual service

Sunday, December 8: The Sunday of Peace
The second Sunday of Advent and our Annual All-Church Conference
Refreshments will be served after the 10:00am worship services and the Church Conference will begin at 11:30am. Join us as we celebrate our ministry together and look forward to 2020 and beyond. District Superintendent, Rev. Shinya Goto, will preside at this important meeting. Everyone is encouraged to attend.

Sunday, December 15: The Sunday of Joy
We’ll celebrate the third Sunday of Advent with a Christmas lunch provided by the church. You’re invited to bring cookies for dessert.

Thursday, December 19: Las Posada
The celebration begins with a procession holding candles and singing Christmas carols. Meet at Wesley UMC at 6:00pm if you would like to walk. The service will follow at San Jose First UMC from 7:00-9:00pm. Experience the Mexican representation of Christmas with its traditional costumes, Biblical readings, and songs.

Sunday, December 22: The Sunday of Love
The fourth Sunday of Advent

Tuesday, December 24: Christmas Eve at 8:00pm
Special music, carols, juBELLation choir, and candles

La Posada San Jose

Spring Worship Topics

Here’s what’s coming up in the month ahead during worship!

May 19 – Reconciling Sunday
We commemorate the third anniversary of the church being a fully-inclusive community. Celebrate with us as we look to the future. This is our bilingual service for May!

May 26 – Conversion as a Continuing Experience
We often think that conversion to being a Christian is a one-time altar call, but more typically, conversion is a life-long journey. We’ll look at what our journeys are, and how we embrace our individual spiritual journeys.

June 2 – On earth as in Heaven
Our New Testament tells us that Jesus ascended into heaven, leaving the disciples to wonder what they are to do next. How can we understand this story faithfully (but not necessarily literally) as a call for us to be the church.

June 9 – Pentecost Sunday!
It’s appropriate for us to worship bilingually on this day when the Holy Spirit helped everyone to understand one another in one’s own tongue.

Holy Week 2019

Sunday, April 14: Palm Sunday with Procession
Bilingual Service 10:00am
Communion and Commitment Card Dedication

Thursday, April 18: Maundy Thursday
Bilingual dinner and service with St Paul’s UMC
7:00pm in the Atrium

Friday, April 19: Good Friday
“The Seven Last Words”/”Las Siete Palabras”
Bilingual service at 7:00pm in the Sanctuary

Sunday, April 21: Easter
Easter services in English and Spanish at 10:00am

Lent: The Ways of the Kingdom

Our lenten series will focus on what Jesus came to bring about – a new rule by God in the form of new relationships and values. In this series, we will be looking at how God’s rule is different from that of the world: in the time of Jesus as he saw the Jewish faith twisted, and a Roman empire firmly in the camp of violence and retribution; and in our own day, as authoritarian regimes are finding a foothold in our world, and a church struggles with being inclusive and open to a hurting world.

March 6: Ashes To Go
Pastor Renée will be out on the corner of 5th and Santa Clara streets to offer ashes as part of the traditional beginning of the season of Lent. Times: 12noon–1:00pm and 5:00–6:00pm

March 10: Ash Sunday “The Way of Forgiveness”
Matthew 18:15-35 The Unforgiving Servant

March 17: “The Way of Enough”
The Rev. Renée Rico
Matthew 20:1-16 The Laborers in the Vineyard

March 24: “The Way of a Bigger Table”
The Rev. Renée Rico
Matthew 22:1-14 The Wedding Banquet

March 31: “The Way of Living into Possibility”
The Rev. Renée Rico
Matthew 25:1-13 The Parable of the Talents

April 7: “The Way of Caring for the Least”
The Rev. Renée Rico
Matthew 25:31-46 When Did We See You?

April 14: Palm/Passion Sunday
Bilingual Service with Pastor Gerardo Vazquez
Matthew 21:1-17

April 17: Maundy Thursday Dinner

April 21: Easter Sunday
Matthew 28:1-10, 16-20

Special Services During the Advent Season

Longest Night Service

Monday, December 17, 7:00pm

Let us gather, just a few nights shy of the Longest Night of the year, in quiet song, peaceful prayer, and silent meditation. Not everyone feels all HO HO HO at Christmastime. For many of us, this season especially can bring melancholy, sadness, depression. By coming together in a thoughtful and meditative service that meets us where we are — not where everyone says we should be — we are reminded that God loves us and is with us no matter how we feel. Invite those in your life that might need this calm, but hopeful, service.


La Posada

Thursday, December 20

At 6:00pm we will gather at Wesley UMC for a light snack and presentation of prayer before we begin the walk to San Jose First at 6:30pm. The service at San Jose First will start at 7:00pm. After the service dinner will be provided by San Jose First. Wesley UMC will provide dessert.

Please join us as we celebrate this Latin American tradition.


Christmas Eve

Monday, December 24

Message: Into This World: Light in a Time of Darkness
Scripture: Luke 2:1-14, John 1:1-5

Come share in special music, carols, juBELLation choir, and candles as we celebrate the birth of Jesus. At this service we will be looking at how we are called to be the messengers of light. What might God be doing in us and with us to share light with those around us? Or it might be a season where we need others to help us see the light of God – how might we surround ourselves with those fellow journeyers who can walk with us in grace?

Advent Begins: Into This World

God does an unexpected thing – God sends a son into this world to show the world the joy, peace, hope, and love that God has for the world. In this story, we find the unexpected treasures of grace, connection with God, and light for our journeys in this world. Jesus comes as the long-expected savior, but he comes not as a king, but a humble one from a small town, a place where the forgotten gather, the margins of a world where the powerful will be upended and the lowly will find their recompense. In a time of transition for San Jose First UMC, what about this journey into this world provides guidance for our future? What hope/peace/joy/love/light is God birthing among us today?

December 2: First Sunday of Advent
Into This World: Hope in a Time of Despair
Matthew 24:36-44, Isaiah 2:1-15
God’s people are asked to hope when all the reality says that things can’t change, that things won’t change. God calls to us to live differently, to live as agents of hope against powers that say that the things are the way that they are.

December 9: Second Sunday of Advent / Bilingual Worship
Into This World: Peace in a Time of Unrest
Isaiah 11:1-10, Matthew 3:2-12
We will look at what it means to have shalom – that’s the Hebrew word that we translate as “peace.” It’s much more than a concept of living without war. A shalom community offers up an alternative vision to what the world offers– a place and rule of equity and concern for all people. This is a vision that is worth working for – a way of living that is deep and connected.

December 16: Third Sunday of Advent
Into This World: Joy in the Face of Cynicism
Luke 1:45b-55, Isaiah 35:1-10
In a time when those at the bottom seem to be in for more shaming by those who have too much wealth and power, the Word of God coming to look at, no, not just look at, but be with the lowly with favor is all the more important. What might the world look like if when we are low ourselves that we remind ourselves how beloved we are? And that we do it for our friends that are low as well?

December 23: Fourth Sunday of Advent
Into This World: Love in a Time of Apathy
Matthew 1:18-25, Isaiah 7:10-16
God does an amazing thing – God decides to come down to be with us in a humble, loving way. When hard times hit, we need to experience the love of God and avoid the dangers of becoming apathetic, without passion.

December 24: Christmas Eve at 8:00pm
Into This World: Light in a Time of Darkness
Luke 2:1-14, John 1:1-5
Special music, carols, juBELLation choir, and candles. At this service we will be looking at how we are called to be the messengers of light. What might God be doing in us and with us to share light with those around us? Or it might be a season where we need others to help us see the light of God – how might we surround ourselves with those fellow journeyers who can walk with us in grace?

Living Faithfully in God’s Promises

God has made a covenant with the Israelites at Mount Sinai, providing instructions on the ways to live that bring life to all and promising to be with them. Joshua and Solomon remember God’s covenant and seek to serve God wisely. Their example helps others to live faithfully in God’s covenant as well. Living faithfully and trusting God creates opportunities to share God’s power with others, as Elisha did in healing Naaman. Yet, because of sin, it can be a struggle to live in the ways God desires. David reveals that we can often stray from God, making decisions that bring pain instead of life. Still, no matter what we do, God is always faithful, and always offers forgiveness and love.

October 21: Crossing Boundaries and God’s Promise
2 Samuel 11:1-5, 26-27; 12:1-9; Psalm 51:1-9
Nathan and King David

October 28: All Saint’s Sunday — The Promises of Living as Saints
John 11:32-44, Revelation 21: 1-6a

November 4: Healing for All
2 Kings 5:1-15a
Elisha Heals Naaman

November 11: Visions of Mercy, Justice, and Peace
Micah [1:3-5] 5:2-5a; 6:6-8

November 18: God’s Plans for Peace
Isaiah 36: 1-3, 13-20, 37:1-7

November 25: Jeremiah’s Call
Jeremiah 1:4-10, 7:1-11

God’s Promises Bring Hope

God’s promises bring hope for the future. After the flood, God promises never to flood the earth, and affirms God’s loving relationship with all people. Calling Abram from his home, God promises him a future of descendants through which all the world will be blessed. God’s continued presence brings Joseph hope even as he faces trials of many kinds. Rescuing the Israelites, God promises to be their God, a covenant which becomes a central theme in the Old Testament. The gift of this covenant and the Ten Commandments provides the Israelites with guidelines on how to love God and love others in ways that bring life and hope to all.

September 9: The Rainbow Promise
Genesis 6:5-22; 8:6-12; 9:8-17
Noah and the Ark

September 16: Bilingual Service – Mariachi Service
Genesis 12:1-9
God Calls Abram

September 23: Joseph’s Hope
Genesis 39:1-23
Joseph Dreams a Dream

September 30: Freedom Promises
Exodus 14:5-7, 10-14, 21-29
Parting of the Red Sea

October 7: The Promise of Living Together in Harmony
Exodus 19:3-7; 20:1-17
The Ten Commandments

Engaging the Powers

In this sermon series, we will be looking at the nature of what the new testament calls “the powers” – the forces in life that seek to dominate over others. The powers live among us, and while they can work for good, they can also work for domination and oppression. How are we called to engage the darker powers of our time and work for the realm of God that Jesus imagined? What lessons of Jesus might we apply to our own times, and how does the experience of the early church help us live lives with the light of God amidst challenging forces?

July 29: Rooted and Grounded in Love
Scripture: Ephesians 3:14-21
We will be naming the powers over us, hear a great story, and get some great advice from Mr. Rogers.

August 5: Bonds of Peace (Amid Chain Rattling)
Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-16
In highly polarized times, how can we walk effectively through the thickets of “chain rattlers” to work for good? This involves understanding Jesus’ nonviolence approach that moves beyond “being nice.”

August 12: Killing with Kindness
Scripture: Ephesians 4:25-5:2
Why being like Mr. Rogers might be a great strategy for living.

August 19: Living Wisely in Evil Days
Scripture: Ephesians 5:15-20
What is evil (versus plain old sinning and being mean)? How can we protect ourselves from getting contaminated by evil forces, and turning into that ourselves?

August 26: Against the Powers
Scripture: Ephesians 6:10-20
We have to create ways of protecting ourselves – creating healthy boundaries – in times when the powers want to dominate. What spiritual “clothing” do we need to put on for these encounters?

Following Jesus: How do we become people of faith

The stories of what happened to the followers of Jesus after he ascended into heaven in the Book of Acts are rather astonishing.  If we aren’t careful, we might be lulled into thinking that all was neat, cozy and tidy about this new movement of Jesus.  But if we think about it a bit more, it was nothing of the kind.  This new Jesus movement was upturning 1,000 years of history and breaking a lot of rules in a very traditional society.  It was allowing people to gather together who had not before.  It was a new social/religious movement with great spiritual power behind it, and with it, great risks.  Following Jesus was not taking the safe road.

Upcoming sermon series:

June 3 – Following Jesus: Finding Sabbath Time
Image: Jesus as spiritual leader
Mark 2:23-3.6

June 10 – Following Jesus: a new kin community
Image: Jesus as Abba
Bilingual service; communion
Mark 3:20

June 17 – Following Jesus: Learning to Garden the World
Image: Jesus as Source of Life
Mark 4:26-34

June 24 – Following Jesus: Courage Amid Chaos
Image: Jesus as Controller of Seas
Mark 4:35-41

July 1 – Following Jesus: Healing for All
Image: Jesus as Healer
Mark 5:21-43

July 8 – Following Jesus: Being Sent Out
Image: Jesus as Peacemaker
Mark 6:6b-13