Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
December 2, 2007
Worship 10:00 am, Sunday School 11:10 am

First Sunday of Advent

      “And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)
  Prelude                  How Brightly Shines the Morning Star”                      Bach

  Advent Wreath - Lighting the Candle of Preparation

  Call to Worship

*Hymn                             "Oh, how shall I receive thee"                              182

*Opening Prayer

  Scripture                                     Isaiah 2:1-5

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

  Hymn                                     "Joy to the world"                                        318
                                      (Reverse Offering - take a card as plate is passed)

  Pastoral Prayer

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings

  Offertory                                “The Quiet Carol”                                 Macklin
                                        (Please sign the attendance pad and pass it on)

*Response             (refrain only) "O come, O come, Immanuel"                     172


  Scripture                               Matthew 24:36-44

  Message       “Witnesses of the Nativity: the Innkeeper

*Hymn                             "Thou didst leave thy throne"                     (see insert)


*Postlude                    “Christian, Do you hear the Lord?”       Pierre de Corbeil

         “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Advent Wreath - Lighting the Candle of Preparation

         (Person/voice 2 processes forward during the Prelude, with a smaller lit candle and a microphone from the back, and stands to the right [organ side] of the worship center table, facing the congregation. The worship leader - voice 1 - joins 2 to the left [piano side] of the worship center table, facing the congregation, having earlier removed the microphone from the lectern.)

1 - The season of Advent is beginning.
2 - It is time to prepare for the coming of our Lord.
1 - We light the first candle,
2 - the candle of preparation.

         (Person/voice 2 then turns and lights the front candle on the wreath, after which the smaller, handheld candle is extinguished. 2 then faces congregation for the Call to Worship.)

Call to Worship

1 - “Make sure that you don't get so absorbed and exhausted
            in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations
            that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God.

2 - That’s what the apostle Paul wrote long ago to the believers in Rome. 1  
            He continued with the following challenge:
1 - The night is about over, dawn is about to break.
2 - Be up and awake to what God is doing!
1 - God is putting the finishing touches
            on the salvation work he began when we first believed.

2 - We can't afford to waste a minute,
            must not squander these precious daylight hours

1 - in frivolity and indulgence,
2 - in sleeping around and dissipation,
1 - in bickering and grabbing everything in sight.
2 - Get out of bed and get dressed!
1 - Don't loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute.
2 - Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!

(after brief pause to indicate scripture reading is finished,)

1 - Stand, if you are able, and sing
2 - “Oh, how shall I receive thee,” #182 in your hymnal.

         (During hymn, #1 quietly places microphone back in lectern stand. #2 recesses to back, hands mic and candle to ushers, and returns to her seat.)

 1 Romans 13:11-14 (from The Message)

Opening Prayer

It is time for us
         to wake from sleep, O God.
Your salvation is coming near.

At the beginning of this Advent season,
         we feel both excited and overwhelmed...

         like a child
                  on Christmas morning
                           wanting to race downstairs for presents and a good breakfast.

Many of us
         want to race
                  into this season and all its festiveness.
We can hardly wait for the baby to be born.

And yet, we also feel overwhelmed...
         Overwhelmed by the Christmas advertising we've seen
                  and music we've heard in stores since October.
         Overwhelmed by the call to consumerism
                  in our American culture.
         Overwhelmed by our loneliness,
                  family struggles,
                  financial pressures.
         Overwhelmed by your incredible love.

Wake us from our sleep, O God.
         Wake us from our sleep so that
                  we may prepare for
                           your saving grace in this season.

by Melissa Bennett, pastor for worship and youth
Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren
Fort Wayne, IN
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"

Reverse Offering

         “Don’t be afraid. Behold, I bring you good news of great joy for all people.” According to Luke’s gospel (2:11), that’s what an angel said to a bunch of shepherds, announcing the birth of the Messiah. We join the angel chorus when we sing, “Joy to the world, the Lord has come, let earth receive her king.”
         Speaking of joining the angel chorus, I invite you to be an anonymous advent angel this month to someone else in this room. As you entered church this morning, you were asked to simply write your name down on a piece of paper, fold it, and put it in the basket. As we sing the next hymn, we will pass the plates like we do for our offering - except, instead of placing something in the plate, you are invited to take something out of it - the name of someone else in our church. Quickly check to make sure you haven’t pulled your own name from the plate. If you have, simply exchange it for another before the plate gets too far away.
         Throughout these days leading up to Christmas, I invite you to pray for this person daily. You might even be moved to send him or her a note of encouragement or appreciation. The possibilities are many. It’s up to you how you will respond. If you would like to also be an advent angel to one of our shut ins, there’s a basket in the back from which you can pull another name (or more). At the very least, pray for these persons, and in so doing bring some “joy to the world. The Lord has come,” you know. Let your corner of this “earth receive her king. Let every heart prepare him room.”

Ushers? Organist? Advent angels? Are you ready for this reverse offering? Let’s sing!

Thanks to Ann Scull, East Gippsland, Australia and her Mustard Seeds Lectionary Blog for this idea,
found also in Seasons of Celebrations by Patricia Mathson, Ave Marie Press, 1995, p. 32.

Pastoral Prayer


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


Returning our Tithes and Offerings

         Preparation is the theme for today. As you listen to the following portion of the Christmas story from Luke’s gospel, imagine getting ready for the birth of a child in the middle of other responsibilities that are way beyond your ability to control.

(Read Luke 2:1-7)

         As you return your offering just now, think about what it means to be prepared. Is preparation a matter of striving to have everything under control? Ponder that question as the ushers pass the plates - this time to receive what you have to share.


         Immanuel, “God with us,” we have sought to be wise with our finances, budgeting our resources, which go beyond our money. What we have put in these plates represents our desire to be faithful with what you have given. Bless, O Lord, the ministries these offerings help to undergird.
         Bless, also, this time of year. We know full well how easy it is this month for “discretionary”spending of time, talents, and money to throw all our plans into disarray. Come to us, Immanuel, amid the order and the chaos of the next few weeks, and prepare us for your Kingdom. Amen.


Go now and walk in the light of the Lord.
Stay alert for the Lord is near.
Put on the armor of light
and live openly and honorably.
Pray for peace for all God’s people.

And may God clothe you in the light of Christ;
May Christ Jesus teach you his ways;
And may the Holy Spirit keep you alert and prepared
for the coming day of the Lord.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton, LaughingBird.net

(para traducir a español, presione la bandera de España)


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)


©2007 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)


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