Worship Order for
Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
October 31, 2004
Worship 10:00 am, Sunday School 11:10 am
those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is
covered." (Psalm 32:1)
Morning Praise (9:45 am)
Thessalonians 1:2-4, 11-12
*Medley of Praise Hymns
Sharing a joy, a concern, a word of testimony or praise
Remembering our "Cloud of
"For all the saints"
(Pre-schoolers leave for playful worship)
Prelude to the Message
"Lord, thou dost
Returning our Tithes and Offerings
"Lord, thou dost
#'s are from Hymnal:
A Worship Book
Worship leaders - see basic
of Praise Hymns
(in our Hymnal, all are in the key of G)
"Praise to the Lord, the Almighty"
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of
O my soul, praise him, for he is they health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to God’s temple draw near.
Join me in glad adoration.
we that love the Lord"
Come, we that love the Lord, and let our joys be
Join in a song with sweet accord, join in a song with sweet
and thus surround the throne, and thus surround the throne.
We’re marching to Zion, beautiful, beautiful Zion.
We’re marching upward to Zion, the beautiful city of God.
"All hail the power of Jesus’ name"
All hail the pow’r of Jesus’name! Let
angels prostrate fall.
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown him Lord of all!
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown him Lord of all!
joyful, we adore Thee"
Joyful, joyful, we adore thee, God of glory,
Lord of love.
Hearts unfold like flow’rs before thee, praising thee their sun
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away.
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!
God from whom"
Praise God from whom all blessings flow’;
praise him all creatures here below;
praise him above ye heav’nly host;
praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
your grace you have drawn us to this moment and place, O Lord. With
your peace we are made whole, reconciled to you. Make us worthy of
your call upon our lives, fulfilling by your Spirit’s power the
work of faith you are doing in and through us. In our worship this
day, and in our lives this coming week, may the name of our Lord
Jesus be glorified. AMEN
our "Cloud of Witnesses"
youngsters are very much aware, today is "Halloween." In
but a few hours, many will dress up in costumes and journey
door-to-door shouting "trick-or-treat." Some get-ups
will look quite gruesome, others fairly tame - from ghosts and
ghouls to Spiderman or a fairy princess. Now, some of us may
believe that this holiday shouldn’t be celebrated by Christians.
The roots of
Halloween, after all, do go back to an ancient Celtic festival,
honoring Samhain, the Lord of death. Back then, pagans believed
that Samhain sent evil spirits abroad at this time of year to
attack humans, who could escape only by assuming disguises and
looking like evil spirits themselves. The waning of the sun and
the approach of dark winter made the evil spirits rejoice and play
church, as it expanded into lands governed by this fear, made an
interesting move which transformed this night of darkness into a
celebration of light. As early as the fourth century, the Eastern
church celebrated a festival in honor of the "cloud of
witnesses" who had faithfully followed Jesus in life and now
were in heaven. Originally held in May, "All Saints’
Day" (or "All Hallows Day") was moved to November
1. The evening before "All Hallows Day" became known as
"All-Hallow E’en." This was no minor shift, for this
day, once wrapped up in fear, became a time of hope instead.
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." Laughter should fill this night. Those of
you who go trick-or-treating, drive out the devil with your
laughter. Let your joy abound. Maybe even say "thank
you" along the way. Those who welcome costumed youngsters
with your treats, bless them with a smile (even if you add a scare
beforehand), and pray for their safety - that the Lord will light
gives Christians the opportunity, as the editor of Christianity
wrote, to "celebrate the fact that at death we pass from
the land of shadows into the land of light." It can be a
unique time to remember all saints—including those
who were once a major part of our church's life but may have been
forgotten. Not only do we have nearly 2,000 years of history, full
of examples of faithful living - the "official" saints
or the little-known followers who made just as much of a
difference for Christ in their small corner of God’s world. We
also have the examples of those we have personally known - loved
ones and friends who have recently died. These believers continue
to have an influence for good on our lives. Their light still
shines among us. Furthermore, their flame has not gone out, for we
believe that they are now among the "saints triumphant,"
that great "cloud of witnesses" who are at rest with the
Lord in heaven.
my records, during the past year three members - Cecelia
"Jo" Currens, Palmer Click, and Betty Tracey, and three
former members - Grace Long, Paul Groff, and Joe Currens, have
died and, we believe, risen into the glory of God’s presence. On
my list, I’ve also noted five others who have in some way been
part of our fellowship, as well as ten more who were a close
relative of a church member. These I will not name for fear of
missing someone. However, you who loved them dearly, know them.
On the small
tables in front of me are baskets which contain tea candles. While
we sing the next hymn, if you feel so moved to come forward and
light a candle in memory of a loved one or friend, a believer who
has died in the past year (or so) whose light in Christ still
shines for you as a beacon of faith and hope, I invite you to do
so. With the help of one of the ushers who will be standing there,
light and place your remembrance candle on the Worship Table, then
return to your seat.
Please turn in
your hymnal to #636. Note that verses 1-3 are in unison on the
left side. Verses 4-6 are in harmony then on the right, after
which we return to verses 7-8 on the left, sung in unison. Let’s
sing on this "All Hallow’s Eve" our song of praise,
"For all the saints,"
and let their light in Christ continue to shine.
ideas for celebrating this day)
We thank you,
Lord, for the influence of the "saints," official or
unofficial, long ago or recent, named or nameless, unknown to us or
well-known and loved by us. They continue to light the way for us,
as we remember them. For those whose grief is fresh, remind us that,
as Jesus said, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall
be comforted." May these words be more than ink on a page:
"I am the resurrection and the life, those who believe in
me, though they die, yet will they live..."
On the threshold
of a significant election in our nation, we pray for wisdom as we
step into the ballot box. May we be guided not by ideology or
partisanship, but by your call upon our own lives. After all, the
strength of a people lies not in the one who sits in an Oval office,
or in some chair in the Senate or the House, but in the people
themselves - and, from our perspective, in those who live out their
faith each an every day, wherever they are, looking to the One who
sits on a heavenly throne, the One who is above every nation. No
matter the outcome of this election, whether we agree or disagree
with the decision, help those called out to work together for the
good of all. May the checks and balances of our constitution, great
but imperfect as every human construct, work - even if it takes a
while. Let freedom ring.
In comparison to
the events on the much larger stage of nation or world, our own
concerns may seem small. But in your eyes, we believe, there is no
little picture. All are loved and cared for, from the least to the
greatest. You have heard what we have shared before you and each
other this morning. You have heard the cry of our hearts for those
things we as yet cannot speak. All these we lay before you, an
offering of our laughter as well as our tears. Comfort the
afflicted, afflict the comfortable. Bind your people together, and
remind us that we are your saints militant, fighting "as the
saints who nobly fought of old," a "bless’d communion,
This we pray in Jesus’ name. AMEN
to the Message
Halloween is a
day for costumes and imagination. Allow me just now to change into
another outfit, slipping on a robe I sometimes wear to portray a
Bible character. We’ve had some very serious moments of
remembering loved ones who are no longer physically with us. My
message this morning is a bit more light-hearted, imagining the
aftermath of the scripture story Norman will soon read. One
stretch of the imagination is the use of a phone, which you and I
know wasn’t part of anyone’s home back in Bible times. It is a
part of our time, sometimes too much a part. I shared this message
six years ago and enjoyed it so much, I want to do it again. I
hope you will hear God speak through it today. Now, after the
scripture is read, imagine a telemarketer’s call before the day
of "Don’t call" lists. Norman?
our Tithes and Offerings
God’s "mercy sought us" and "found us." Our
story, like his, is unfinished. After all, the Bible doesn’t say
whether this tax collector actually made good on his vow to give
half his possessions to the poor and abundantly pay back those he
had cheated. We hear big promises all the time, especially in an
election year. Did Zacchaeus’ "yes" to the Lord continue
once Jesus left his home to visit others? How about our own
Ours, like his,
is an ongoing story. This moment is yet another step along the way.
Continue to spread the blessing, brothers and sisters. Not only with
your offerings just now, but also with your lives. Make today a
salvation day ... and tomorrow ... and the next day... Pray with me.
you for inviting yourself into our homes. Help us to come down
out of our trees, where we are merely observers, and welcome you
into the various places in our lives that need your attention.
Empower us with your Spirit to spread the blessing, starting
fresh today. This we pray in the name of the One who came to
seek and to save. AMEN
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of
witnesses (point to candles
lit on worship center), 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 the
pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that
was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and
has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God."