Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
January 6, 2002
Worship 10:00 am Sunday School for all ages 11:15 am

Epiphany

      "In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem..."                    (Matthew 2:1)

  Call to Worship

*Praise Medley                                                              (words printed on insert)
                             vs. 1    - "As with gladness"                  218
                             vs. 1    - "O worship the King"                66
                             vs. 3    - "As with gladness"                  218
                             vs. 1,4 - "Oh, for a thousand tongues"   110

*Opening Prayer

  Scripture                                       Isaiah 6:1-6

  Childrenís Time                "...like a telescope"

  Hymn                            "We Three Kings of Orient Are"                        (insert)
                                  (children leave for choir or pre-school play )

  Returning our Tithes & Offerings

  Offertory

*Response                      refrain to "We Three Kings"                                  (insert)

*Prayer

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

  Hymn of the month        "Christ, whose glory fills the skies"                          216

  Pastoral Prayer

  Scripture                                  Matthew 2:1-12

  Message                           "Perceiving the Star"

*Hymn                           "Open my eyes, that I may see"                               517

*Benediction


#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship
He Is Our New Beginning

Leader: Do we yearn for what new beginnings have to offer?
People: Do we yearn for what we canít supply to ourselves with our own efforts?

Leader: Do we yearn for what the holidays canít fulfill?
People: Do we yearn for a place where our spirits,
                       like the star over Bethlehem, can become ablaze?

Leader: For whatever reason,
People: at this moment in time, we have come to worship him.

Leader: Despite all other places we could have chosen to be,
People: at this moment in time, we have come to worship him.

Leader: Regardless of past behaviors, past mistakes, past hurts,
                   past barriers, past doubts and fears,
All: at this moment in time, we have come to worship him.

written by Gail Erisman Valeta                 
Associate coordinator of Justice and Peace Studies
Iliff School of Theology, Denver, Colorado     
for the                                     
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin     

Opening Prayer

         We give you glory, O God, lifting up our praise and love. Ours is but an echo of what resounds in the heavens. We confess, O Lord, that too often our voices grow silent when we should be speaking your truth. Too often our lives do not reflect your glory when we should be shining like stars for others to see. By the power of your forgiveness guide these lips to speak, these lives to reveal what is really real. Begin now. May the words of our mouths - those called to lead in this worship, as well all who are called to follow - and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in your sight, O God. You are the rock upon which our lives are built. You are our redeemer. This we pray in the name of the One whom you sent to save - Jesus, our Christ. Amen.

Childrenís Time
"...like a telescope"

          If possible, "stick" a small star (one of those plastic glow-in-the-dark types, or just a paper cut-out) on a rafter or the ceiling high above the sanctuary. Have some sort of telescope up front - one on a stand would be nice, a prop remaining throughout the service. As the children come forward, intently look through the telescope as if you are trying to find something. "I thought I saw it earlier. It was there somewhere." Create a sense of wonder as the children crowd around to see what you are doing. After a while, "find" the star. "There it is!" Then have the children carefully look through the lens ("careful" especially if you have borrowed the telescope, i.e. teach respect in the process, this isn't a toy).
          "What does a telescope do? It sees things that are far off in the distance. When you look through a telescope, things that are far off appear very near. I wonder if the wise men used some sort of telescope to see the star of Bethlehem? Do you think they did? If so, it helped them find the baby Jesus, didn't it? They followed the star.
          "Speaking of telescopes, Jesus once said, 'Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect' (Matthew 5:48). What does that have to do with a telescope? Well, in the language of the Bible the word for "perfect" is similar to our English word "telescope" ("teleios" in Greek, which shares the same root - but don't bore the kids with a language lesson). In a way, Jesus said we're to be like a telescope. The wise men used their looking glasses to see something far away. They observed the star in the sky. But they didn't stop there, just saying, "hey, look, there's a star!" They went on a journey. They followed that star. They aimed toward a goal. They searched for what was under that star. And, finally, they found the baby Jesus.
          "God wants us to be like a telescope, aiming toward something very far away. With a telescope, though, something that is far away looks very close. I don't know about you, but I'm not "perfect." I'm not everything that I should be or could be. Are any of you? I make lots of mistakes. How about you? God, however, is still at work in me - just as God is at work in you - perfecting us. Becoming what God wants us to be is a life-long journey. We don't stop when we see in the distance what God has in store for us. "Hey, look at that, isn't that pretty!"  No, like the wise men we journey toward what we see. And along the way, God is at work in us, helping us to become what we were meant to be."
         Prayer - "Lord, help us to be like a telescope, pointing toward your star, seeing in the distance a glimpse of what you are doing in and beyond us. Help us, also, to be like the wise men and start walking in that direction. Thank you for walking with us today, for shining through us now. In Jesus' name. Amen."

Returning our Tithes & Offerings

I recently received a humorous note which asked:

         "Do you know what would have happened if it had been
                          Three Wise Women instead of Three Wise Men?
                 They would have asked directions,
                                            arrived on time,
                                            helped deliver the baby,
                                            cleaned the stable,
                                            made a casserole,
                                            brought practical gifts, and
                                            there would be Peace On Earth."

         We laugh, but consider another question - what if it had been us instead of them? Ponder that as you return your tithe or offering. Will the ushers come forward to serve. 

Offering Prayer

         We come bearing gifts, Lord. As appropriate or practical as our own "gold, frankincense, and myrrh" may be, it is your guidance in this place and time that matters most. Help us to keep watching the star that shines for us today as we put these offerings to work. We give them in Jesus' name. Amen.

 

 

Interested in Sunday School?
Below is a growing list of possible sites to visit. As you discover others, please let us know.

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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