Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
September 26, 2004
Worship 10:00 am, Sunday School 11:10 am

      "After this I looked, and there in heaven a door stood open!"     (Revelation 4:1a)

Gathering in Godís Presence

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)
  Announcements
  Prelude

  Opening Prayer

*Responsive Reading (from Psalm 100)                                                     663

Praising God

*Hymn                             "Let the whole creation cry"                                  51

  Celebrating and Renewing Baptismal Vows

  Offering our Gifts

  Offertory

*Response                          "Praise God from whom"                                  119

*Dedication Prayer
                                         (Pre-schoolers then leave for worshipful play)

Praying Together

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

  Song                                        "Holy Ground"                               (see insert)

  Pastoral Prayer

Hearing the Word

  Scripture                                Revelation 4:1-11

  Message                                "The Open Door"

*Hymn                                     "Holy, holy, holy!"                                       120

Going out to Serve

*Benediction

*Postlude  


#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Opening Prayer

         Behold, you stand at the door and knock, O Lord. That's what you reveal to us in the last book in the Bible. A fresh beginning, rather than an ending, for those who would open the door and invite you in - that is your promise. A meal together, to enjoy - the aroma, the taste, the texture of the food - talking around the table as friends, loved ones, even; what's not to like?
         And yet, we too often pause before this crack in the door, hearing your voice. Is it fear that keeps us from flinging it wide? Are we afraid you will look at the mess of our inner life and decide to feast elsewhere? What is it that prevents us from inviting you in more than a step or two? Do we think you'll take over the place and eventually kick us out?
                            (pause and let out a long breath, as if letting go)
         Lord, we release this inner resistance, willingly stepping back and opening our door. During these special moments of worship, we welcome you in. Come, Jesus, share with us. Come, Spirit, blow through this space like a crisp Fall wind. Come, Creator, and remind us of who you and we really are.
         As we worship, open the door to heaven that we might see what really happens when your people worship. May we have ears to hear all of your creation cry "alleluia," and eyes to behold your kingdom coming where we are tempted to observe only darkness. This we pray, in the name of the One who stands at the door and knocks. AMEN
   

Responsive Reading

Leader: Come, let us worship 
People: For we are the people of God's pasture.
Leader: Come, let us worship and bow down, 
People: For we are the sheep of God's hand.
Leader: Come, let us worship and bow down, 
               before the Lord, our Maker.
All: For the Lord is our God,
               and God desires our worship!

by Earle W. Fike, Jr., from We Gather Together,
©1979 Brethren Press.
 

Celebrating and Renewing Baptismal Vows

         The letters we find in the New Testament were written long ago to real people. In the last book of the Bible, for instance, we find seven letters to seven churches from the hand of their overseer (or Bishop), St. John. We donít have names and faces to go with the words, but real people received them - just as flesh and blood folks continue to receive the good news found in the good Word and respond to it. This morning, we want to celebrate this response in the lives of several of our members. You know who you are. You should be wearing "special person" badges. If you are able, please come forward just now.

         If my figures are correct, ten of our active members said "yes" to God by publicly joining their lives with Christ and this church in the month of September down through the years. Tallying up all those years, these ten represent 421 years of service. Last May we had two more years than that, but those were divided among fifteen persons. It doesnít hurt to include our oldest member, who stepped into the waters of baptism in 1922 (at the age of 11).

         We thank God for you, for bringing you into this fellowship. You are a "special person" to us. Whether or not you were raised in this family of faith, it was your decision to follow Jesus with us. Thatís a joy, evidence that God has been moving in your life. Thank you for the ways in which you have responded to his call. As is revealed in those seven letters in Revelation, God knows our works, what we do for Him in this world. May you continue to bear fruit, empowered by the Holy Spirit, following Jesus! We walk with you. Forgive us when our steps falter, as we will seek to forgive you when you stumble.

         Brothers and sisters, let me extend the opportunity just now to renew the vows you once made, that today might be, for you, a fresh beginning to another year of faith. Here goes.

         Do you still believe that Jesus is Godís Son. Do you still trust him as your Savior and Lord? If so, say, "I do."

         Will you turn away from all sin and endeavor by Godís grace - today! - to freely live according to the example and teachings of Jesus? If so, say, "I will."

         Will you continue to be loyal to the church, upholding these people through your prayers and your presence, your substance and your service? If so, say, "I will."

         Praise God! Each of you received a letter which included a pledge form, an opportunity to respond with some vows specific to you, involving your time, talents, and substance. If you have felt moved to pledge in this way, please place it in the plates when the offering is collected. May God bless this new year in your life in Christ. (return to seats)
    

Offering our Gifts

         It's three pages long in the hymnal, this doxology the Pastor wants us to sing. Can we do it? Will we do it justice? Are we willing to try? Or do we think there aren't enough of our best voices here to sing it? Are we sensing defeat before we even begin?
        Being good stewards of what God has given can, likewise, be complicated. If we tithe, is that 10% of our income before or after taxes, before or after expenses, before or after weíve gotten all our finances in order? Can we do it? Will we do it justice? Are we willing to try? Or do we think there isnít enough to go around? Are we sensing defeat before we even begin?
         "We are more than conquerors," wrote the apostle Paul (Romans 8:37). "To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne," revealed St. John to the church in Laodicea (Revelation 3:21). Are you interested in singing to the Lord a new song, whether it be with musical notes or dollar signs? ... Ponder that question as the plates are passed, and get ready to sing. Ushers? 
   

Dedication

         We're not sure we sang it quite right, God, but we made it through. Keep challenging us, Lord. Help us to become more bold, less hesitant. We know it doesn't matter if it's not perfect. You take care of that. What's important is that we go for it, and trust in you every measure, every paycheck, each day with which you bless us.. In Jesus, we pray. AMEN
   

Pastoral Prayer

 

written closer to the time (if not at the moment)

 

Worship before the throne of God
Revelation 4:1-11 (NRSV)

The Open Door

{1} After this I looked,
                                and there in heaven a door stood open!
             And the first voice,
                               which I had heard speaking to me
                                                      like a trumpet, said,
                    "Come up here, and I will show you
                                            what must take place after this."

At the Center

{2}     At once I was in the spirit,
                                   and there in heaven stood a throne,
                                           with one seated on the throne!
{3}            And the one seated there looks like jasper
                                                                 and carnelian,
                                and around the throne is a rainbow
                                              that looks like an emerald.

Gathering around

{4}                  Around the throne are twenty-four thrones,
                                                 and seated on the thrones
                                                                  are twenty-four elders,
                                     dressed in white robes,
                                                 with golden crowns on their heads.

Revealing

{5}               Coming from the throne are flashes of lightning,
                                                                        and rumblings
                                                                        and peals of thunder,
                                 and in front of the throne
                                                         burn seven flaming torches,
                                            which are the seven spirits of God;
{6}                           and in front of the throne
                                            there is something like a sea of glass,
                                                                        like crystal.

Sing "Holy"

                     Around the throne,
                                 and on each side of the throne,
                                               are four living creatures,
                                                                full of eyes in front and behind:
{7}                     the    first    living creature like  a  lion,
                           the second living creature like an ox,
                           the   third   living creature with a  face
                                                          like a human face, and
                           the  fourth  living creature like  a  flying eagle.
{8}                              And the four living creatures,
                                              each of them with six wings,
                                                            are full of eyes all around
                                                                            and inside.
                                    Day and night without ceasing they sing,
                                           "Holy, holy, holy,
                                                     the Lord God the Almighty,
                                                             who was and is and is to come.
"

The echoing affirmation

{9}         And whenever the living creatures
                                 give glory and honor and thanks
                                                  to the one who is seated on the throne,
                                                                  who lives forever and ever,
{10}                the twenty-four elders fall before
                                         the one who is seated on the throne
                                                    and worship
                                         the one who lives forever and ever;
                               they cast their crowns before the throne, singing,
{11}             "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
."
   

Benediction

 

 

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

 

©2003 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)

 

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