Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
October 27, 2002
Worship 10:00 am Sunday School for all ages 11:15 am

Surrounded by a Cloud of Witnesses

      "Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus..." (Hebrews 12:1-2a)

  Call to Worship

*Hymn                                     "Holy, holy, holy!"                                       120

*Opening Prayer

  Dialog "for all the saints"

  Scripture                            Hebrews 11:1-3, 23-29

  Alleluia Choir                       "Sing Out! Hallelujah!"                McMahan-Wilson
                        (children then leave for choir practice or pre-school play)

  Responding with our Tithes and Offerings          Hebrews 12:1-2

  Offertory

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

  Moments of Silence

  Hymn                         (vs. 1-2) "Come, come ye saints"                               425

  Pastoral Prayer

  Lordís Prayer

  Hymn                            (vs. 3) "Come, come ye saints"                               425

  Scripture                             Deuteronomy 34:1-12

  Message                           "Remembering Moses"

*Hymn                                     "For all the saints"                                        636

*Benediction


#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship

solo:

For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
who thee by faith before the world confessed,
thy name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
(vs. 1, #636, hear tune)

         Worship is more than what happens in this room. When Godís people are gathered to praise the Lord, we join in a chorus that is already singing; we speak a word that has already been spoken. Around the throne of God, according to the fourth chapter of the book of Revelation, are gathered angels and other heavenly beings. "Day and night without ceasing they sing, ĎHoly, holy, holy, the Lord God the Almighty, who was and is and is to come.í" (4:8)
         There also stand "the twenty-four elders," who "fall before the one who is seated on the throne and worship the one who lives forever and ever." There, "they cast their crowns before the throne, singing, ĎYou are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.í" (4:10-11)
         "Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses," letís stand and sing our song of praise. "Holy, holy, holy!," # 120 in your hymnal.

Opening Prayer

         "Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God the Almighty, who was and is and is to come ... You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created."
         Bless this time and this place and these people with the awesome presence of your Holy Spirit. May your holiness burn in us, and your mercy turn us in the direction of your kingdom, May we yearn for you, and learn from you, such that we burn for you with the brightness of your glory.
         This we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Dialog "for all the saints"

solo:
    
Oh, may thy people, faithful, true, and bold,
fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
and win, with them, the glorious crown of gold.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
(vs. 3, #636, hear tune)

-----------------

1 - Hey, Pete, who were these saints weíre supposed to "fight" like?

2 - They were common, ordinary people - like you and me - whom God called to become extraordinary.

1 - They were the ones who have "saint" for their first name and have churches named after them, right?

2 - Well, yes - those persons were/are saints, but a saint isnít just someone so named by a pope long after theyíre dead.

1 - What do you mean?

2 - Youíve got your Bible. Turn to the beginning of 1 Corinthians. This letter starts out like many of the others in the New Testament, and reveals something about what a "saint" is. Why donít you read the first two verses.

1 - "Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours."

2 - Okay. You tell me. Who is a saint there?

1 - A person in that church?

2 - Yes. Go on.

1 - People "who are sanctified in Christ Jesus." What does that mean?

2 - They are "made holy" by God in Jesus Christ. They are "set apart" for God to use.

1 - So, then, a "saint" is someone who has been "sanctified?" Who has been "made holy?" "set apart?" or "called to be" a saint?

2 - Good job! Now, do you think that only involved one or two persons in that church?

1 - No, it sounds like Paul meant everyone.

2 - You got it! He was writing to all the saints: common, ordinary people - like you and me - whom God called to become extraordinary. And not just "dead guys" from long ago...

1 - or "dead women!"

2 - Indeed. But also, everyone "who in every place calls on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

1 - Like me?

2 - And me.

1 - And all these people gathered here?

2 - And those who helped pave the way for us.

1 - I get it. "For all the saints who from their labors rest" means our fathers and mothers in the faith, going all the way back to the beginning - to those who first stepped out by faith when God called them to be saints, set them apart for a holy task.

2 - We sometimes call the saints who have died, the "church triumphant," because they have finished their fight. In Christ Jesus they have triumphed, they are part of the heavenly "cloud of witnesses" who are now with God.

1 - Then what about the saints still living?

2 - We are the "church militant." We are still "fighting the good fight" (1 Timothy 1:18, 6:12, 2 Timothy 4:7), still "running with perseverance the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1).

1 - Iíve noticed that some churches celebrate an "All Saints Day." Does ours?

2 - Not really, though itís good to remember those who have walked this path before us. Maybe we should recall the saints from our fellowship who have died in the past year.

1 - Iím kind of new here, so I donít know who they are.

2 - Thatís okay. In fact, one of our latest was also someone new. For many years, Lillian (or "Boots" as everyone called her) Reichart was our next door neighbor.

1 - As in the pretty garden on the other side of the parking lot?

2 - Yes. Along the way of fighting the illness which eventually took her earthly life, she recommitted herself to Christ, joining our church a month before she died.

1 - So, she was a "saint?"

2 - I doubt she would have called herself that, but yes - God in Christ had set her apart for something more. Godís holiness, after all, is greater than Lou Gehrigís disease.

1 - Howís her husband doing?

2 - Heís ... doing. I heard tell he was in church last Sunday for the first time.

1 - Do you think God is calling him?

2 - Hmmm. I do believe that might be so. Just like God was calling brother Verlin Tombaugh. Of course, Verlin answered the call much earlier. You would have liked him, Mandy.

1 - Why?

2 - Well, he was a real advocate for young people. On several occasions he would stand up in church and call the rest of us to task, saying that we needed to be open to change; that if youth had different ideas about things, we needed to listen and make room for what God was doing through them. Since he was one of our oldest members, a truly wise man, we listened.

1 - I wish I could have met him.

2 - Someday you may, for cancer did not fell this great oak of a saint. Heís part of the "church triumphant," the "great a cloud of witnesses" who serve as examples to us even now.

1 - Death isnít the end.

2 - Itís only the beginning. Thatís true of Beatrice Currens, who also died this year. I miss visiting her, for she always ministered to me more than I did to her. Sort of like Verlin. I continue to carry with me her "do nothiní window."

1 - Her "do nothiní window?"

2 - Yeah. There was a spot in her home where this very energetic lady would go and just sit, looking out the window and doing nothing. Well, actually, God was doing something in those moments. Prayer, you see, is not just what we do, itís what God does. Sometimes, in fact, we do nothing. Itís God who makes us holy, even there in front of our own "do nothiní window."

1 - She sounds like a very special woman.

2 - She was. I think she would have liked you, Mandy.

1 - I just arrived too late to know her.

2 - No, you didnít. As long as we remember her, the example of her life in Christ lives on - just as surely as we believe that she is alive in Christ, now part of that heavenly cloud of witnesses that surrounds us all the time. We are never alone. Godís "Holy" Spirit is always near.

1 - This is the time of year we talk about spirits and ghosts.

2 - You know, donít you, that the Holy "Ghost" (as Godís Spirit is sometimes called), is more than a Halloween costume?

1 - Yes, I do. Itís this Holy "Spirit" that helps make us "holy," that makes us "saints," right?

2 - Again, good job! Did you know that the day before "All Saints Day" is also called "All Hallows Eve," or "Halloween?"

1 - I knew that!!!???

2 - Once upon a time, before Christians started transforming the world around them, Halloween was a pagan holiday - but it wasnít much of a holiday. It took place in the Fall of the year, as days got shorter and nights longer, and people became afraid of the dark, and scared about the coming winter - whether they had enough food to make it until Spring. "Samhain," as it was called by the Druids, involved offerings to the spirits who ruled the night.

1 - Real spooky! How did Christians change that?

2 - Well, by placing All Saints Day where they did, full of examples of how believers had made it through really frightening times with Godís help, showing how the Lord called ordinary people to do extraordinary things, to push back the darkness, to bring light to the world, All Hallows Eve became a time for people to laugh at their fears, and thus rob the darkness of its power. Though he wasnít a big fan of All Saints Day, the reformer Martin Luther once said, "The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn."

1 - So, Halloween is a time to laugh at evil. We sure could use some laughter right now, with a sniper no longer on the loose, but rumors of war still in the air.

2 - God is greater than evil, and calls out common, ordinary people - like you and me - to do extraordinary things, and thus overcome the darkness.

solo:
    
And when the strife is fierce, the suffering long,
steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
and hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
(vs. 5, #636, hear tune)

-----------------

          An excellent article speaking in favor of All Hallows Eve, is "Hallowing Halloween," or see also "Christian History Corner: Festival of Fears." On the other hand, you might be persuaded by the article, "The Dark Side of Halloween."

Moments of Silence

          We mentioned earlier the names of three persons from our fellowship who have finished their earthly race in the past year. If we went back further, several other names would come to mind of "saints" who live on in the character of this congregation. Who we are today, in part, is due to their involvement in our fellowship. We carry with us something from them, so that when someone gets to know us, they get to know a bit of those who have walked in Christ with us along the Way.
          Of course, this is not the end of their story. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26). We continue the earthly story of Godís people, remembering those who have gone before us - yes!, but focusing upon Jesus who leads the way.
         In the following moments of quiet, remember these persons and rejoice. Thank God for their involvement in our/your life, and for the promise of resurrection and eternal life made possible by Christ. Be free, brothers and sisters, to move beyond this fellowship and remember others who have helped pave the way for who we/you have become in Christ. God has been faithful in the past, and his faithfulness will not end. After a bit, weíll quietly sing the first two verses of #425, "Come, come ye saints," and move on into a corporate prayer.

 

 

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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

 

©2002 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)

 

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