Worship Order for
Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
December 21, 2008
Worship 10:00 am, Sunday School 11:10 am
Fourth Sunday of Advent
“and I have been
with you wherever you went…”
(2 Samuel 7:9a)
Morning Praise (9:45 am)
"It is Well"
“Joy to the World”
the Advent Candles
(back of bulletin)
"My soul proclaims with
Bring Forward Pledges and Offerings
child is this"
holy, infant lowly"
Sharing a joy, a concern, a word of
testimony or praise
(please be brief, and aware of God’s listening presence)
(vs. 3 & 4)
little town of Bethlehem"
Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26
A Time for
(vs. 1 & 2)
little town of Bethlehem"
2 Samuel 7:1-11
middle of the muddle”
"Oh, how joyfully"
“Noel on a Sicilian Carol”
#'s are from Hymnal:
A Worship Book
Worship leaders - see basic
the Advent Candles
One: From the gospel of Luke hear these
“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent
by God to a town in Galilee…”
All: Yes, we know this old, old story.
One: In this twelfth month of 2008, on
this twenty-first day,
in this place, among us with names like Joe and
Dave and Elizabeth,
God’s story continues, ever new.
All: To those who feel too young or too
who are worried and wondering,
filled with questions and seeking answers,
God still comes.
One: As the lights shine forth from these
may we realize again
how the miraculous is often clothed in the mundane,
and the extraordinary is present in the ordinary.
All: Look around. Look within. Offer a
space for birth.
God is born in us again, as we name him Jesus
with our prayer and praise and proclamation.
Waynesboro, PA Church of the Brethren
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word
the humble Love that fills all things,
we adore you!
Yes, you alone, God, we adore.
By you the lost come home,
with you the strong are weak,
in you the poor find riches,
through you the sad rejoice,
on you the weak grow strong,
to you the hungry turn,
and for you we live and die.
You alone, God, we adore!
Through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Prewer, Uniting Church in Australia
Resources: Based on the Revised Common Lectionary.
Carl P. Daw jr. wrote the words to the hymn we just sang for
an evening prayer service at
a small Episcopal parish which ministers to the University
of Connecticut. The words are a paraphrase of the “Song of Mary”
from Luke 1:46-55, which I will read in a moment. Mary's Song,
sometimes called the “Magnificat,” echoes an earlier song sung
by Hannah in the Old Testament, whose “heart exulted in the
Lord” over the miraculous birth of her son, Samuel
(1 Samuel 2:1-11).
Originally written for the tune we associate with the hymn, “All
glory, laud, and honor” (237),
the music we just sang was written especially for our hymnal by
J. Harold Moyer.
Now let’s listen to the scripture upon which this
hymn was based. In Luke’s gospel, the pregnant Mary visits her
relative, Elizabeth, who is also expecting a child who will grow
up to be John the Baptist. The scene of the meeting of these
women is reminiscent of an opera, where persons just break out
into song. Let me read, not sing, what was on Mary’s heart at
that moment, according to Luke.
Invitation to bring forward
our Pledges and Offerings
story is a trip, literally. It’s full of “on the road” imagery.
Take the song of Mary we just heard. This young woman had to
travel to her aunt’s home to sing it. She did so at the request
of an angel, who himself journeyed from God with a message we
will listen to yet one more time in a few minutes. Did pregnant
Mary and her betrothed get to stay home for the impending birth?
Of course not! Most everyone knows about the “decree from
Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled…”
(Luke 2:1), and how Joseph led his wife-to-be back to his
ancestral home for some silly government thing that was required
at the wrong time for their budding family. Not exactly the
makings of a travelogue.
The trips surrounding this
story continue. Angels visit from heaven. Shepherds and sheep
journey from their field to that barn in Bethlehem. And who
could forget those wise men who travel from afar to bring their
gifts to Mary and Joseph’s newborn baby. Later, these Magi would
go home by a different route, and this little family would flee
to Egypt for a while, before making their way back to Nazareth.
And we listen to this story
sitting down… Well, not this morning. On this Sunday before
Christmas, I invite you to get into the spirit of the season by
getting up out of your seat at some point during the singing of
the next two carols and journey to the front of the sanctuary to
place your offering for this day, and/or your pledge of what you
plan to give to this church in 2009, in the plates. You don’t
have to walk the most direct route here or back. Feel free to
meander. Our journey with Christ leads us through many a twist
and turn, just like Joseph and Mary, shepherds and sheep, wise
men and angels. Things often do not happen at the most opportune
times. As we go, we trust that God will provide the way, even if
we can’t see very far down the road.
By the way, even if you don’t bear a financial gift
or pledge – maybe someone else in your family has it – I still
invite you to step out from your pew, if you are able. Remember,
Christmas is a trip, literally. Faith is a journey. Are you
ready and willing to travel with the One who is the reason
behind the season?
All we can do,
Lord, is put one foot in front of the other and journey step by
step, moment by moment, day by day. These pledges and offerings
reflect our attempt to do just that – to follow where you lead,
even if the path heads to the most out-of-the-way places.
Forgive us our hesitancy to follow, our desire – in fact - to
turn away when the going gets rough, to keep from living up to
our promises, or even the making of them … all out of fear. We
still need to hear you say, “don’t be afraid,” no matter how
long we have been following you. Keep nudging us forward into
faithfulness, drawing us toward your kingdom, beside and within
to strengthen us for the Advent-ure that lies ahead. Bless these
gifts and pledges in the name of the One whose birth we
celebrate this week. Amen.
| Okay, so we have gotten ahead of
ourselves. In our mind’s eye we have already
traveled to Bethlehem and beyond. However, it’s not
Christmas yet. Let’s not get the cart before the
horse or, in this case, the donkey. We’ve heard
Mary’s song, but we need to back up a bit and listen
to what preceded it, according to gospel storyteller
Luke. Let she who has ears, as the Bible says, hear!
1 - In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a
town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man
whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name
was Mary. And he came to her and said,
2 - “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”
1 - But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what
sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her,
2 - “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with
God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and
you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called
the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the
throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of
Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” …
Mary said to the angel,
1 - “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” … The
angel said to her,
2 - “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the
Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born
will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your
relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and
this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For
nothing will be impossible with God.” … Then Mary said,
1 - “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me
according to your word.”
2 - Then the angel departed from her.
The New Revised Standard
copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
(usually spoken from the heart at the
moment, tho' it could be like the prayer below)
Loving God, our spirits do rejoice in all your gracious acts
towards us, most of all the event we so look forward to - the
wonderful and precious gift of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
We give thanks for the willingness of Mary to believe that the
impossible could and would happen. Help us to have a like
faith. Open our hearts and minds to believe that your promises
can come to surprising fulfillment. Show us how we can best
serve you with mercy and in humility, empowering people to live
lives of dignity and worth. As we look at our television
screens and read accounts of people throughout the world who are
being made powerless because of the greed and violence of
others, remind us of the great possibility of prayer to effect
changes for good. To bring down the powerful and to lift up the
lowly; to fill those who are hungry and to drive away those who
profit by the weakness and ignorance of others. Be with all
those who feel that life holds no hope and help them and each of
us truly to believe O God, that with you, nothing is
impossible. This we pray in Jesus' name. Amen
by Rev Moira Laidlaw, Uniting Church in
Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26
1Our LORD, I will sing
of your love forever.
Everyone yet to be born
will hear me praise
2I will tell them, “God's love
can always be trusted,
and his faithfulness lasts
as long as the heavens.”
3You said, “David, my servant,
is my chosen one,
and this is the agreement
I made with him:
4David, one of your descendants
will always be king.”
vision, you once said
enemy will outsmart David,
to your faithful followers:
“I have helped a mighty hero.
I chose him from my people
and made him famous.
servant, is the one
I chose to be king,
21and I will
always be there
to help and strengthen him.
and he won't be defeated
by any hateful people.
23I will strike
down and crush
his troublesome enemies.
24He will always
to depend on my love,
and I will make him strong
with my own power.
25I will let him
rule the lands
across the rivers and seas.
26He will say to
‘You are my Father
and my God,
as well as the mighty rock
where I am safe.’
Contemporary English Version
Copyright © 1995 by
American Bible Society
Using a gyroscope,
of all things, our resident children's storyteller, Ed Lewis,
will remember how his Grandmother used to teach him that “Jesus
lives inside me. At the time (ages 6, 7 and 8) I took this
literally. I felt that Christ was ‘in me’ which, when I look
back, is not a bad thing for a child to believe. As an adult, I
realize that Christ does live within our hearts and soul.”
A gyroscope? Two parts of the gyroscope are the frame and the
rotating wheel. If we are the frame, Christ would be the
spinning wheel in the center (who keeps us straight). The
pulling of the string (which activates the wheel) would be our
prayers to God through Christ. In theory we need to activate
that which is inside us with action on our part. Yes, that’s a
bunch of symbolism little ones might struggle to comprehend, but
it’s cool to watch a gyroscope!
2 Samuel 7:1-11
In addition to being the birthplace of Jesus, Bethlehem was
the hometown of another important Bible character – David.
We turn now to the story of David in the second book of
Samuel. On the screen to your right you see a picture of a
stained glass window in the St. Paul Lutheran Church in
Sterling, Illinois which portrays David, the King of Israel.
In his youth David played the harp to sooth the moods of
King Saul, his predecessor. Later he wrote many of the
Psalms in the Bible which continue to inspire. Here we see
him singing to the music of the harp while the Ark of the
Covenant is being carried into Jerusalem, a scene straight
out of the sixth chapter of 2nd Samuel. We turn
now to the scripture that immediately follows, one of the
most important texts in the Old Testament. Listen.
2 Samuel 7:1-11
Go now, and celebrate God’s love all your days.
Give to Christ Jesus the obedience of faith,
offering yourself as the servant of the Lord
and allowing God’s Word to be fulfilled in you.
And may the only wise God establish you forever.
May the mysteries of Christ be conceived within you.
And may the Holy Spirit strengthen you and encircle you.
©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net
(para traducir a español, presione la bandera de España)