Worship Order for
wrote about God's help being persistent and everlasting.
Living and loving God, we are blessed with the truth of these
words in a way that the Psalmist could only dream about. In
your great love for the world, your desire to help us became
visible when you sent your Son, to be our Savior and Lord.
That you - creator of heaven and earth - should so care for us
is almost beyond our imagination. How can we come with anything
other than praise and adoration for this priceless gift of lives
lived eternally with you, O God? A gift made possible through
the sacrificial love of Jesus, your Son, our Lord and our Saviour. This we pray in his name. Amen
by Moira B Laidlaw,
The Most Famous Bit of Brethren Writing Ever
The Most Famous Bit of Brethren
Writing Ever was printed in the February 26, 1921
issue of The Gospel Messenger and earned its author
The Most Famous Bit of Brethren
Writing Ever was also a case of making lemonade when life hands
you lemons. The author was an accomplished musician who was
robbed of her ability to play by crippling arthritis that
confined her to a wheelchair. She turned to writing poetry by
grasping a pencil in each gnarled hand and striking the keys of
her typewriter with the erasers. And that's how Myra Brooks
Welch (1878-1959) of LaVerne, California, came to write "The
Touch of the Master's Hand," a poem we will hear later on this
This story of the
battered violin whose value goes from three bucks to three
thousand after a master draws a wonderful tune from the
instrument was soon reprinted the world over, often without the
author's name. It's been set to music, made into a film, and
reprinted thousands of times.
Why was it so
popular? That's hard to say. Maybe many people have lives that
are out of tune, feel they have been sold short by the world, or
think that their souls are slipping away, going, going, gone.
Maybe the author herself said it best,: "I think God took it as
he did the little lad's loaves and fishes and blessed it to his
own praise and glory."
Whether it's the voluminous
poems and writings of Alexander Mack, Jr., the wonderful history
books and source books printed by Brethren Press, the
theological writings of giants like Peter Nead, or the
journalism of Henry Kurtz and James Quinter - none of these have
had even a fraction of the impact of this simple poem.
And that's our Tercentennial Minute for February 17,
by Frank Ramirez, pastor of the Everett, PA
Church of the Brethren
posted by permission
The Everett church
graciously makes available these weekly vignettes from Brethren
to all who are interested during this
anniversary year of our denomination.
Frank will be the guest preacher for our Homecoming on October
(this is our congregation's 100th anniversary year)
"The Touch of the Master’s Hand"
'Twas battered and
scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time
on the old violin,
But held it up with
"What am I bidden, good folks," he cried,
"Who'll start the bidding for me?"
"A dollar, a dollar" then, "two! Only two?
Two dollars, and who'll make it three?
Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
Going for three-" But no,
From the room, far back, a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As a caroling angel sings.
The music ceased, and the
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said: "What am I bid for the old violin?"
And he held it up with the bow.
"A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two?"
Two thousand! And who'll make it three?
Three thousand, once; three thousand, twice,
And going, and gone," said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
"We do not quite understand
What changed its worth." Swift came the reply:
"The touch of a master's hand."
And many a many with life out
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd,
Much like the old violin.
A "mess of pottage," a glass of wine;
A game - and he travels on.
He is "going" once, and "going" twice,
He's "going" and almost "gone."
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that's wrought
By the touch of the Master's hand.
by Myra Brooks Welch
written closer to the time (if not at the
I'd like to
share with you a story that a friend of mine long ago shared
with me. I wrote it down on a piece of paper so I wouldn't
forget (pull out the page and unfold it). Would you like to hear
the story? Are you sure? Okay, let me read it to you. (Begin
reading the below, periodically asking them how they are
enjoying the story so far - encouraging their blank stares and
puzzled statements with comments like, "Well, maybe if I read it
louder/slower - etc. - you'll understand it better. The point
is, they won't have a clue what you're talking about - which is
often, by the way, how children in relation to "adult" talk.)
kan Alabahun ati Ehoro se ileri nipa ere sisa.
yi gbogbo awon iranko wa pe jo lati ri pe won sare.
Nigbati ogidan pase fun won, won bere ere na.
Nigbati Ehoro ti fi Alabahun si le o wa bere si mu
omi, sugbon Alabahun nsi sare. O way a Ehoro si joko
osi tun je onje, sugbon Alabahun nsi sare. Nigbati
Ehoro je onje tan, o tun wa si mi. Sugbon Alabahun
Nigbati Ehoro ranti pe Alabahun ti koja,
o wa bere si sare sugbon koto de ibe. Alabahun ti
pari ere na. Ehoro wa wa lehin. Nitori na ko ye ki a
ma se ileri.
How did you
like the story? What? You didn't understand a word I said. I
thought I read it right, but you still didn't understand? Hmm.
That's interesting. I learned that story from a friend over 35
years ago when we both were in college. He was from the country
of Nigeria. Anyone ever hear of Nigeria? (the father of one of
our children is originally from there) It's in Africa. If I
remember correctly, my friend was from a part of Nigeria that is
called Yoruba, and I think what I just read is in the Yoruba
language. Kinger, your family is originally from the Ibo region
of Nigeria, which is to the east of Yoruba land.
Well, my friend shared this story with me in both Yoruba and
English, and I just so happen to have the English translation in
my pocket (pull out the page and unfold it). Would you like to
hear it? Okay, here goes:
Once, long ago, the
hare claimed to be the fastest of all animals. His
head was very big. Tortoise saw this and challenged
him to a race. The hare thought this was funny.
The day of the
race, all of the animals came to see. The lion
commanded them to start. Hare went off very fast,
leaving tortoise behind in his dust. Seeing how far
ahead he was, Hare began to think of how easy it
was, and stopped to enjoy a drink. Tortoise kept
going. Seeing how enjoyable the drink was, Hare
decided to eat also. Tortoise kept going. After
eating, Hare was tired, and rested. Tortoise kept
Hare awoke with a
start and realized that he was in a race. He hurried
to the finish line. Unfortunately, Tortoise kept
going, and was across the finish line when Hare
Tortoise was praised throughout the
land. Moral: Do not boast of things you have not
Have any of
you heard that story before? Makes more sense when you hear it
in a language you know, doesn't it - though I must confess that
it was fun reading it to you in words you didn't understand.
Speaking of words, what's a tortoise? That's right, a turtle.
And a hare? Yup, a rabbit. A hare is much faster than a
tortoise. Everyone knows that. Yet the turtle beat the rabbit in
this race just by keeping going. We call that "patience," just
keeping going. You were very patient with me when I was reading
you this story in a way you couldn't understand. Thank you. I
hope it was worth being patient, that you liked the story once I
told it so you could understand it. Would you pray with me?
Dear God, thank you for turtles and rabbits, for
legs that can run, and also for patience - keeping
going even when we don't know everything. Bless
these children. Hold them in your arms when they
need you this week, Jesus, and nudge them to run
when it's time to race. Thank you. Amen.
Responsive Scripture Reading
Now there was a Pharisee named
Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came
to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are
a teacher who
has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do
apart from the
presence of God."
Jesus answered him, "Very truly, I
tell you, no one can see the kingdom
of God without being born from above."
Nicodemus said to him, "How can anyone be born after having
Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?"
Jesus answered, "Very truly, I tell
you, no one can enter the kingdom of
God without being born of water and Spirit. What is
born of the flesh is
flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not
be astonished that I
said to you, "You must be born from above." The wind
blows where it
chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not
know where it
comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who
is born of the
Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?"
Jesus answered him, "Are you a
teacher of Israel, and yet you do not
understand these things?
"Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to
what we have
seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you
things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you
heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one
descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted
serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
believes in him may have eternal life.
"For God so loved the world that he
gave his only Son, so that everyone who
believes in him may not perish but may have eternal
life. Indeed, God did not
send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but
in order that the world
might be saved through him."
New Revised Standard Version
our Tithes and Offerings
"God so loved the world" that God gave us
Jesus ... the heart of God was moved by love to give us the greatest
gift ever given. In response to that love, we bring our gifts
this day as a sign of our gratitude for all that God has given
us, and all that God is doing in this world that God continues
to love so much.
Matthews Huey, Minister for Covenantal Stewardship,
Stewardship and Church Finances Ministry Team, LCM.
copyright ©2008 Local Church
Ministries, Worship and Education Ministry Team,
United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH
Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material
for use in services of worship or church education.
All publishing rights reserved.
As you leave this place, remember Abraham and Sarah in the
Bible. God called them to leave behind the familiar and to
venture forth into territory through which they had never before
traveled. The promise this elderly couple received from the Lord
involved childbirth. However, this didn't happen immediately.
Yes, it took time to be realized, but God was faithful to the
promise. Therefore, let's listen again to how the Lord sent
Abraham and Sarah on their way. Perhaps in the words we each
will hear God speaking to us in our leaving. Listen and be led:
"Go from your country and your kindred and your
father's house to the land that I will show you. I
will make of you a great nation, and I will bless
you, and make your name great, so that you will be a
blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the
one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the
families of the earth shall be blessed."
(Genesis 12:1-3, the New Revised
(para traducir a español, presione la bandera de España)