Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
January 7, 2007
Worship 10:00 am, Sunday School 11:10 am

Baptism of our Lord Sunday
(the first Sunday after Epiphany)

      "Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit." (Acts 8:17)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)

  Call to Worship

*Hymn                               "We praise thee, O God"                                 99

*Responsive Prayer (spoken, not sung)                                                    129
                 vs. 1 - Worship Leader
                 vs. 2 - Left side of congregation
                 vs. 3 - Right side of congregation
                 vs. 4 - All
                 vs. 5 - Worship Leader

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

  Pastoral Prayer

  Scripture                                   Luke 3:21-22

  Introduction and Baptismal vows

  Congregational Response                                                                      778

  Hymns (as needed)        "I believe in you, Lord Jesus"                            440
                                                "Here I am, Lord"                                    395
                                                 "Lead me, Lord"                                     538


(Our younger children then leave for bell practice & Sunday School)

  Scripture                                   Isaiah 43:1-7

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings


(Please sign the attendance pad and pass it on)

*Hymn                            "As with gladness men of old"                           218
                                                                 (stand on verse 3)


  Scripture                                   Acts 8:14-17

  Message             "And they received the Holy Spirit"

*Hymn                            "O Holy Spirit, making whole"                           300


#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship
Luke 3:15-17, NRSV

(On the worship table, in front of the cross and the candles, are two small baskets - one filled with grain,
the other with straw. Elevate the back of each so that the contents are visible to the congregation)

Worship Leader - We begin remembering events down by the Jordan river, where crowds were drawn to the preaching of John the Baptist, who was like a voice crying out in the wilderness, preparing the way of the Lord. As you Listen, make a straight path for God to travel to your heart. (pause)
            As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying

Voice (out of sight) - "I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."

(As the Voice cries out, "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire," the acolyte lights to candles on the worship table.)


Responsive Prayer

Worship Leader - Please turn in your hymnal to #129, the words to which we will read, instead of sing, as a prayer. I will pray the first and last verse. The people of my right, your left, will pray the second verse. Those on my left, your right, will pray the third. All our voices will join together on the fourth verse. Letís pray together...

Worship Leader - Fire of God, undying Flame,
                               Spirit who in splendor came,
                               let your heat my soul refine,
                               till it glows with love divine.

Left side of congregation - Breath of God, that swept in power
                                             in the Pentecostal hour,
                                             holy Breath, be now in me
                                             source of vital energy.

Right side of congregation - Strength of God, your might within
                                               conquers sorrow, pain and sin.
                                               Fortify from evil's art
                                               all the gateways of my heart.

All - Truth of God, your piercing rays
         penetrate my secret ways.
         May the light that shames my sin
         guide me holier paths to win.

Worship Leader - Love of God, your grace profound
                               knows not either age or bound.
                               Come, my heart's own guest to be;
                               dwell forevermore in me.

Hymn #129 - "Fire of God, undying Flame"

Pastoral Prayer


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



Introduction and Baptismal vows

         In its worship life, the early church remembered and celebrated the baptism of Jesus as a major event, perhaps even more important (at that point in time) than his birth. This, after all, was the first action of our Lord as an adult thatís recorded in the Bible. Itís in these gospel accounts that we first hear God say that Jesus was "my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Significant, also, is the mention of the Holy Spirit descending upon him "like a dove," as the heavens opened during prayer following his baptism. In those moments, he was being anointed for the road ahead - his healing, his teaching, and what he did upon the cross.

         In the church calendar, this first Sunday after Epiphany is called Baptism of our Lord day. What an appropriate way of starting 2007. We have been through a time of preparation for the coming of Christ, as well as the celebration of his incarnation. Today is about steps of faith. How fitting that we have a young man in our fellowship who is ready on this day to officially begin his walk with Jesus by a confessing his faith and being baptized.

         Before we proceed, however, letís be clear about some things. What we do in presenting ourselves to be baptized has little to do with our own righteousness and everything to do with Godís graciousness. We donít have it all together when we step into the water. We havenít got this "faith" business down pat. Baptism doesnít mean that we are now "holier than thou." Far from it. If anything, as we come to this juncture, we recognize our need for God, as we follow where Jesus leads. Baptism, you see, is about what God is doing. There is transforming forgiveness all along the way, and refining fire ahead. More on that later.

         For now, we have a young man ready to be baptized. _________, please come forward at this time, along with your friend ____ ______, who wants to share a few things with us about you.

(After he is "introduced" to the congregation by this member)

         Even though you have been a part of this church family from an early age, Nathan, today you are being received as a full member of this community of faith and fully entering into the Church of the Brethren. As part of the whole church of Jesus Christ, we offer you our rich heritage and invite you to share fully in our life and mission.

         We commit ourselves to be for you a loving fellowship, to be a means of grace in your life, and to offer opportunities for worship, study, and service, as you seek out what your calling is as a disciple of Christ. One of the happiest times in our life as a church is when person choose to follow Jesus. We welcome you with joy. First, though, some questions.

         Do you believe that Jesus is God's Son and do you receive and trust him as your Savior and Lord?    (I do.)

         Will you turn away from all sin and will you endeavor by God's grace to live according to the example and teachings of Jesus?   (I will.)

         Will you be loyal to the church, upholding it by your prayers and your presence, your substance and your service?   (I will.)

from For All Who Minister, ©1993, Brethren Press, p.135-137.

         For the rest of us, if you are ready and willing to receive this brother more deeply into our fellowship, would you please stand and join me in the congregational response found on page 778 of your hymnal.

Congregational Response

Leader:  Through baptism we are united to Jesus Christ
                    and given part in Christ's ministry of reconciliation.
              Baptism is the visible sign of an invisible event:
                    the reconciliation of people to God.
              Baptism shows the death of the old self and the rising to life of a new self.
              It shows also the pouring out of the Holy Spirit
                    on those whom God has chosen.
              Baptism declares God's forgiveness;
                    it seals the gift of the Spirit
                    and joins the believer to the body of Christ.

People: This is the water of baptism.
              Out of this water we rise with new life,
                    forgiven of sin,
                    and one in Christ,
                    members of Christ's body.

(#778 in Hymnal,  Adapted from Book of Worship United Church of Christ, ©1986)


         __________ , you have confessed here your faith in God and your desire to be recognized as a member of the body of Christ. Upon this confession of faith I now baptize you:
                  In the name of the God who created and loves you;
                  In the name of Christ who forgives and heals you;
                  In the name of the Holy Spirit who renews and empowers you.

Norlyn Davis-Driver
from For All Who Minister, ©1993, Brethren Press, p.139.

         O God, we are thankful for the commitment made today by _______. May (she/he) experience your forgiveness, acceptance, and peace. Send your Holy Spirit upon (her/him) to guide and to empower. Enable (her/him) to walk in newness of life, using (her/his) gifts in praise to you and in service to others. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Carol A. Wise
from For All Who Minister, ©1993, Brethren Press, p.138.

Returning our Tithes and Offerings

         After Jesus was baptized, he spent 40 days in the wilderness where even he faced a time of trial, being tempted by the devil. After we say "yes" to God and step forward by faith into the waters of baptism, we are not immune to temptation. Sometimes thatís right when we face it the most. But trials are something we encounter all along the way. Therefore, Godís promise through the voice of Isaiah, is very appropriate:

         "Donít be afraid, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you... Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you... Do not fear, for I am with you..."

         How many times should we repeat those words before they sink in? Ponder them in your heart as you return your offering just now. And remember those "offspring" who came "from the east" to find the Christ-child, wise men bearing gifts. The day of Epiphany - which was yesterday - revolves around the story of their visit. May your offerings this morning flow from the same gladness, for you are precious in Godís sight.


         With eyes looking up to the source of our strength and hope on this first Sunday of a brand new year, we gladly bring our gifts to you, O Lord. Help us to learn how best to put them to use as we walk with Jesus toward your "heavenly country bright." Amen.


Go now, confident that you are Godís
........precious and pleasing children.
Trust in God and do not fear.
Accept the Word of God
and point others to the one who baptizes with Spirit and fire.

And may God be your protection and your strength;
May Christ baptize you with his Holy Spirit.
And may the Spirit be with you
........to empower you and give you peace.

adapted from www.laughingbird.net
©2001 Nathan Nettleton 

(para traducir a espaŮol, presione la bandera de EspaŮa)


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

International Lesson:
Faith and Life Resources
Mennonite Publishing House

International Lesson:
Mennonite Weekly Review

(scroll down on left to "Sunday School lessons)

International Lesson:
Christian Standard
(one week ahead)

International Lesson:
Living Web Sunday School Project

While one of our adult classes follows the International lesson above, using
A Guide for Biblical Studies,
published quarterly by our denomination,
another class often uses one of the
Good Ground series,
also published by Brethren Press.

For children and youth, we use the new
Gather Round curriculum
(developed jointly by the Church of the Brethren and the Mennonite Church)


©2006 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)


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