Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
September 9, 2001
Worship 10:00 am Sunday School for children 10:15 am

      "The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: ĎCome, go down to the potter's house, and there I will let you hear my wordsSo I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel."
                                    (Jeremiah 18:1-3)

  Call to Worship

*Hymn                            "I sing the mighty power of God"                              46

*Opening Prayer

  Scripture                                   Jeremiah 18:1-5

  Dedicating our Sunday School Teachers

  Hymn                                   "Spirit of the living God"                                  349

  Dedicating our Youth Mentors

  Hymn                                   "Spirit of the living God"                                  349

  Invitation

  Offertory
                         (young people leave for choir or preschool playtime)

  Hymn                                   "Spirit of the living God"                                  349

  Sharing a joy, a concern, a word of testimony or praise

  Hymn                            "All praise to our redeeming Lord"                            21

  Pastoral Prayer

  Scripture                                   Philemon 1:1-21

  Message                       "In the hands of the Potter"

*Hymn                                     "Have thine own way"                                   504

*Unison Closing Prayer                                                                                 757


#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18 (Contemporary English Version)

1 - The Lord is always near!
2 - Listen to Godís Word,
3 - spoken from the heart of the Psalm-writer.
1 - (pause) "You have looked deep into my heart, LORD, and you know all about me.
2 - You know when I am resting or when I am working,
3 - and from heaven you discover my thoughts.
1 - You notice everything I do and everywhere I go.
2 - Before I even speak a word,
3 - you know what I will say,
1 - and with your powerful arm you protect me from every side.
2 - I can't understand all of this!
3 - Such wonderful knowledge is far above me.
1 - You are the one who put me together inside my mother's body,
2 - and I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me.
3 - Everything you do is marvelous! Of this I have no doubt.
1 - Nothing about me is hidden from you!
2 - I was secretly woven together deep in the earth below,
3 - but with your own eyes you saw my body being formed.
1 - Even before I was born, you had written in your book everything I would do.
2 - Your thoughts are far beyond my understanding,
3 - much more than I could ever imagine.
1 - I try to count your thoughts,
2 - but they outnumber the grains of sand on the beach.
3 - And when I awake, I will find you nearby.
1 - (pause) Brothers and sisters, as there is "not a place where we can flee but God is present there," we might as well stand right where we are (if we are able) and "sing the mighty power of God" - #46 in your hymnal.

Opening Prayer

Almighty God,
      to you all hearts are open,
      all desires are known,
      and from you no secrets are hidden.
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
      by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit
      that we may perfectly love you
      and worthily magnify your holy name,
      through Christ, our Lord. AMEN

                                        (Hymnal #739, Leonine missal, 7th c.)

Dedicating our Sunday School Teachers
[As they entered the sanctuary each person was handed a small piece of play-dough in a plastic bag, instructed not to open it up until asked.]

         I invite you now to take out and hold the play dough that you were handed when you arrived. Squeeze it... Kneed it... (just donít place it on the pew cushion!) Shape it with your fingers into a variety of forms... Itís quite easy to mold, isnít it? If we donít like the shape, we can remake it, canít we? As I speak, mold it into a shape that youíll later be invited to bring forward and place on the offering table.
         Brothers and sisters, as the prophet Jeremiah revealed, we are like clay. Many hands seem to be at work shaping us. Early in life our parents had a big role in helping us to become who we are. As we grew, however, more hands became involved. Some good. Some not so good. Over the course of a lifetime, we may find ourselves molded into some rather strange shapes, manipulated by those who may not have our best interests in mind. Of course, our own hands are involved, also, in shaping our own lives - for better or for worse.
         Seeing ourselves through Jeremiahís eyes, other hands come into view ... Godís hands. God has the most important role in helping to shape our lives. God knows us, after all, better than we know ourselves. God knows the best that we can become, the beauty that is deep within each of us and all of us together, needing only the work of the master potter to bring it out.
         God uses many hands. Some of those hands are ones we want to consecrate this morning - the hands and hearts of those who have been called to teach in our Sunday School program. This is an awesome responsibility, I know, but it is "awesome" not so much because of the burden which it represents. Yes, there is a lot of work involved, preparing and presenting lessons. Those of you who have said "yes" to teaching, thank you! However, it is "awesome" to be a teacher because teachers get to see Godís "awesome" hands at work in the lives of those they teach, above and beyond our own efforts. It is also "awesome" because Godís hands are at work upon each teacher at the very same time. This is true whether we teach a pre-schooler or a senior citizen.
         Instead of reading off names, I ask those of you who have already been asked to teach this year, or those of you who anticipate being asked later on, or those of you who have not yet been asked but who are sensing Godís hand upon your shoulder to help teach - I ask you to stand just now. Please remain standing while we pray, and as we then sing from the heart, "Spirit of the living God," #349.

Prayer

         Thank you, Lord, for these persons who have responded to your call with a "yes." You have been at work in their lives, and we trust that your hand will continue shaping them into the earthen vessels you created them to be. In the task of teaching, we place them into your good hands, praying that you will direct their minds and hearts as they pass on the faith. Help them to wisely, but not self-consciously, choose the right words to speak. Help their students to listen to them, but also help them to listen to their students, and to you. Grant them patience, O Lord whose patience is far beyond our own. They will need it. In all things, do not still your hands, O master potter. May this congregation be like the wheel upon which clay is thrown and shaped into jars that overflow with your goodness and mercy...

"Spirit of the living God.........." (#349)

Dedicating our Youth Mentors

         Becoming "jars of clay that overflow with Godís goodness and mercy"... isnít that the goal of every disciple of Jesus? As the apostle Paul wrote, we bear the treasure of Godís good news in these clay jars (point to self, then to congregation) "so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us." (2 Corinthians 4:7)
         Growing up in the faith is not a quick and easy process. We need all sorts of help along the way: teachers, role models, listeners, mentors. Just now we want to consecrate those who have been called by God to the special task of mentoring a young person through adolescence, that they might be shaped by the master potter into a clay jar overflowing with Godís goodness and mercy.
         Instead of naming names, right now I ask those of you to stand who have been called to be a mentor. Perhaps you have not yet been asked, but are open to Godís call, or have felt Godís hand upon you to be a mentor. Would you also stand... (pause) Please pray with me, ending with "Spirit of the living God," #349.

Prayer

         Lord God, we ask your blessing upon these persons. May your hand be shaping them as they seek to stand with their younger sister or brother through these exciting and tumultuous teenage years. May they be in awe of the work of your hand upon these youth. Help them to listen first, and to speak when appropriate, to show the way of Christ even as they tell. Guide them to make time to regularly meet with their special young person, to creatively initiate contact, to touch on spiritual matters appropriately as their young friend matures in his or her own way. May they have "fun" together, too. However, help them to be sensitive to those moments when steps of faith may be made. Through it all, Lord, may your grace cover any feelings of inadequacy. As your Son chose everyday fishermen as his first disciples and you empowered them to do more than they ever thought possible, so equip these disciples to this task. We place these mentors and our youth on your potters wheel...

"Spirit of the living God..." 349

Invitation

         You each have in your hand a little bit of "clay," or "play dough" to be exact. Perhaps you have creatively fashioned something out of it. Maybe itís still a bit formless, its shape not quite clear. We invite you, during the offertory, to bring it forward and place it on the worship table up front. May it signify for you the placing of your life on the master potterís wheel. At this point in your life, the shape of your faith may be fairly clear, the work of Godís creative hands. Or you may see yourself as still Ďin the process,í as yet on the potterís wheel, being shaped by God. Whatever is the case, place your "clay" on the table as an offering to God. As you do so, please also place your tithe and other offerings in the plates on that table. Feel free to ask a neighbor to bring your offering for you, if you are unable to come forward. God meets us wherever we are. Once they have put their offering on the table, the children are invited to go with Miss Marian for their first Allelulia choir session of the new year. Brothers and sisters, "come, go down to the potterís house" (point to worship table).

Unison Closing Prayer

Savior God, 
      through your grace
      we hold a treasure in earthen vessels: 
            the living presence of Jesus Christ.
Let us bear your good news with joy 
      till grace overflows in the earth 
      and salvation comes to all.
For yours is the power 
      and yours the glory, 
      now and forever. AMEN

(hymnal #757, Copyright © 1992 Marlene Kropf)

 

Interested in Sunday School?
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International Lesson thoughts
from the
Mennonite Publishing House

International Lesson
Commentary by
Richard Hughes
(posted on Saturday)

International Lesson
Commentary by
Edwin Elliott

 

©2001 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)

 

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