Worship Order for
Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
October 4, 2009
“Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread
and drink of the cup.”
A Song to Call us
"Thou true Vine, that
(move to the feetwashing circles, taking a hymnal with you)
“So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your
feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.”
Washing one another’s feet
(hymns sung as needed)
“Bear with one another and, if anyone has a
complaint against another, forgive each other; just
as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must
Prayer in Song
"Lord, bless the
“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a
sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we
break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?”
"Here, O my Lord, I see
Eating (in unison:)
“This bread which we break
is the communion of the body of Christ.”
Drinking (in unison:)
of the New Testament
is the communion of the blood of Christ.”
*Hymn/Benediction "You shall go out with joy"
Thanks be to God!
You are invited to stay and help clean up from the meal. Thanks
to those who prepared the meal, accompanied our singing, led
with word or song, took care of children, and otherwise made
this special time possible.
*Rise in body or in spirit
#'s are from Hymnal:
A Worship Book
Worship leaders - see basic
Our current practice is to envision Love Feast as a journey.
During this hour-long service, we move from location to
location. As our facility is all on one floor, this does not
present a barrier to those who are physically handicapped. We
begin in the sanctuary. The organ plays quietly and many arrive
early to pray and prepare themselves. When the time seems right
(i.e. after the deacons finish their last minute preparations),
we start with a corporate time of examination.
Then we move to circles of chairs, one in the overflow area at
the back of the sanctuary where the men sit, and the other just
on the other side of the wall that divides the sanctuary from
the fellowship hall. Two double-wide doors connect us, and the
persons who read scripture and share a reflection stand there so
all can hear. We sing a capella as we wash feet around the
circle, one bending down to wash the next, who in turn does the
same for the person beside him/her. Those unable to join in, or
unsure of this practice (and those who have not yet decided to
be baptized), are welcome to observe - making sure the person
beside them knows to pass over to the next in the circle.
When all have finished, we then move to the tables, where we sit
intermingled, male and female, young and not-so-young. The next
part of the service is a simple meal we eat together - a bowl of
soup (beef & broth & rice) with bread and water. Long ago, this
would have been lamb, but things change and this is now our
tradition. Many Brethren congregations eat in silence. For
better or worse, that is not our practice here. Were the
disciples silent in the upper room on that fateful night long
The final part of the journey (though our movement is not with
our feet at this point), is bread and cup communion. In this we
are not that much different from other Christians. While some
fellow believers around this globe see the bread and wine* as
transformed into the body and blood of Christ, and others see
Christ somehow with these elements but not actually in them, we
are closest in theology to those who seen in this meal primarily
a memorial, remembering the event and how it has transformed us.
[If the truth be told, most congregations are a mixture of all
3, with members who grew up in other traditions and
understandings that run deep]. The Brethren "take," if you will,
on all this is that when Jesus said, "This is my body," he was
addressing his disciples and including them in his description.
It's not just about the elements that we eat and drink, it's
about us who are called to be broken for Christ's sake and
poured out for others, sharing the love we have received. Isn't
this something all Christians, no matter their label, deep down
|*note - long ago Brethren moved away from wine
for communion out of a concern for brothers or
sisters who struggled with an addiction to alcohol.
We did not wish this service to be the cause of
someone falling back into something that would pull
them away from God and us. We have also, again for
better or worse, used individual cups for the grape
juice, which has been a benefit in this day and age
when many are concerned with germs and the use of a
common cup. Our bread is specially prepared and
unleavened from an old recipe. Those who make it use
a 5-prong fork to mark each piece, a reminder of
Christ upon the cross being pierced 5 times - hands,
feet, side. Some break their piece into 5 parts as
they eat. At Love feast, one longer piece is broken
across the table between 2 persons, as they speak
the words, “This bread which we break is the
communion of the body of Christ.”
Ho, everyone who thirsts come to the waters and he who has no
money come, buy and eat
Come, buy wine and milk without money, without price. Come to
the waters come, buy and eat.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread?
Why do you give your labor for what doesn't satisfy?
Harken unto me and eat what is good. My feast brings you delight
so, come unto me.
Give to me your ear that your soul may live.
Listen to me and you shall live
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant.
Behold, like David you're my witness.
Behold, you shall call the nations.
Behold, they shall come to you. Because
of the Lord, your God, for He has glorified you.
(So) Seek the Lord while He may be found. Call upon Him
while He is near.
The Lord in mercy waits for those with wicked thoughts and ways
to return unto him Come, He will forgive.
My thoughts & ways are not yours, says the Lord.
They're higher than the heavens above you ... but call, while I
For as the rain and snow come down from heaven and do not
return, but water the earth
Making it bring forth & sprout where it lands giving seed
the sower and bread the hungry.
So shall the word gone forth from my mouth, it shall not return
to me empty
but everything that is within my will shall be
accomplished in you.
For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace
the mountains and the hills before you shall break
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
D..A.. G.. A
Instead of the thorn in the wilderness there will be pine trees
to give you shade.
Instead of the briars there shall be the sweet smell of the
myrtle bush with its sweet fruit.
G A D..A..G..A..
And all this shall be to the Lord a sign,
an everlasting sign which shall not be cut off;
it shall not be cut off.
it shall not be cut off.
it shall not be cut off.
you shall not be cut off.
So, seek the Lord while He may be found. Call upon Him
while He is near.
D A Bm G..A..D
Ho, everyone who thirsts come to the waters; Come to the waters
and go out with JOY. . . . .
taken from Isaiah chapter 55
put to music by Pete Haynes
Lord, our God,
great, eternal, wonderful
utterly to be trusted:
you give life to us all,
you help those who come to you,
you give hope to those who cry to you.
Forgive our sins, secret and open,
and rid us of every habit of thought
that stands against the gospel.
Set our hearts at peace,
so we may live our lives before you
confidently and without fear,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord. AMEN
Hymnal #699. Based on a prayer from
The Liturgy of St. Basil of Caesarea, 4th c.,
adapted from Contemporary Prayers for Public Worship,
ed. Caryl Micklem, copyright © 1956 1967 SCM Press, Ltd.
Reflection before Feetwashing
immediately before this story in the Gospel of Luke says this: “Nevertheless,
wisdom is vindicated by all her children”
(Luke 7:35). It’s almost on cue that a “woman of the
city” arrives on the scene, a child of God who vindicates,
who proves God’s wisdom to be right. We can allow our
imaginations to run wild as to exactly what it means for her to
be a “woman of the city, who was a sinner,” as did the
Pharisee. However, that’s not really the point. Forgiveness is
what lies at the heart of this story. Her sins, which were many
(that’s all it says - no more, no less), have been forgiven.
Because she has been shown great love, she shows great love. She
washes the feet Jesus with her tears.
Our practice of
washing each other’s feet is based upon the 13th
chapter of the Gospel of John, where it says that Jesus tied a
towel around his waist and washed and dried the feet of all his
disciples, instructing them (and us, we believe) to do the same.
That chapter makes no mention of any of them washing his feet in
return. Even Peter, who wasn’t too thrilled over having his feet
washed, it says, made no effort to reciprocate.
In the gospels,
the only ones who wash Jesus’ feet are women. Here in Luke it
was a nameless “woman of the city.” In John, Mary (sister
of Martha and Lazarus - not to be confused with this other
woman, or Mary of Magdala, or Mary the mother of Jesus) also
washed Jesus’ feet, much to the chagrin of Judas Iscariot who
thought the money she spent on the costly anointing oil she used
could have been better spent (12:1-8, 11:2).
What Mary did was probably in response to the great love which
Jesus showed in raising her brother from the grave
We are here,
sisters and brothers, because of this great love. Sinners that
we have been, we are also God’s children who prove that the love
of Christ upon the cross is true wisdom. Forgiven, we forgive.
Loved, we love. We put into our hands this forgiveness and love.
Our desire to serve, to reach out and help others, comes out of
this. It’s not that we’re perfect people, superior examples of
faithfulness. No, it’s only because we ourselves have been
forgiven and loved. Our hearts yearn to pass it on.
“Your sins are forgiven,” Jesus told that woman. That’s
his message to each of you gathered here just now. “Your
faith has saved you, shalom, go in peace.” ... Now, put that
into your hands.
Reflection before the Fellowship Meal
We know this
story. It can be heard in many ways. We can focus upon the
“prodigal son,” or look up to the “waiting father.” We can even
view it through the eyes of the “older brother.” At its heart is
a love which forgives and welcomes home those who have been
lost, whether they have wandered to some far country of wasteful
living, or stayed behind and have forgotten why - lost now in
I can still see
the scene as portrayed in a morning devotional time at camp. We
were gathered on a hill, with a path leading off in the distance
through a field. Retelling this story, one young person played
the younger son, while another narrated. “I have sinned ... I
will go home, even though I do not deserve a place there.
Perhaps as a slave, though.” And he turned and started the
slow walk down the hill. However, off in the distance was
another figure - running, arms outstretched. The son had only
completed a dozen steps by the time this other person, the
father, reached him and hugged him tightly.
Such is God’s love
for us. Do we deserve a place around this table? That’s not
really the question, is it? God has been waiting, watching,
running, embracing. “Quickly, bring out a robe, a ring,
sandals. Put them on. Prepare a feast - a fatted calf - and let
us eat and celebrate! For this son, this daughter of mine was
dead and is alive again; he/she was lost and is found!”
(Luke 15:22 24). Can we share together this meal with this kind
of love in mind? Around your table are God’s children, in
certain ways prodigals all. But we are turning toward home, and
our waiting father is clothing us and feeding us and binding us
together in love.
Even if you have
never left for some distant horizon, some itch that can’t really
be scratched, some wasted endeavor; even if you have remained
faithful, let bitterness go. The feast is also for you. Embrace
those whom your heavenly father embraces, and thus experience
what love is really all about.
The meal awaits. Let’s bless it with a song.
Reflection before Communion
All the gospel
accounts of this upper room scene have that jarring reminder of
betrayal. This is holy time, but not all is holy. If only we
could take a pair of scissors and cut out Judas Iscariot, we are
tempted to think. But without him we become a holy huddle,
ignoring our own betrayals. God does not allow us to live in a
dream world, for visions of grandeur blind us to the reality of
what we have been called to be and do in this broken world. Only
those who know their own brokenness and sin can share the good
news of God’s healing forgiveness.
We come down off
our righteous pedestals - Judas forces us to do this - and sit
at Christ’s table just as we are. No better are we than the
other characters throughout time who have come to this place.
Here sits a bunch of former fishermen, a tax collector, a few
zealots. “Disciples,” he calls us. Throughout history, believers
have come. “Saints,” we have called them. Their true name is
In the order
Matthew, Mark, and Paul (though not Luke) remember, our Lord
takes bread and breaks it, and in that tearing we hear our own
fraying of the fabric of what God has sewn together as his
world. But this breaking is intentional on God’s part, for
through it he is healing his children. And we envision Jesus
broken upon a cross. “This is my body,” he says. Eat.
Then he takes the
fruit of the vine and pours it into a cup, and in the dripping
of that liquid we hear the prophet’s cry, “Let justice roll
down like waters, and righteousness like an ever flowing stream”
(Amos 5:24). God is making things right. Upon the cross we see
his wounds, and the blood pouring freely - in reality a healing
river flowing by the throne of God. “This is my blood,”
he says, a new beginning, a “new covenant.” Drink.
“Here, O my Lord, I see thee face to face.
Here would I touch and handle things unseen,
here grasp with firmer hand eternal grace,
and all my weariness upon thee lean.”
Let’s sing this communion song, #465 in your hymnal.
All who are in love and fellowship with your brothers and
sisters, who do truly and earnestly repent of your sins, who
humbly put your trust in Christ and desire his help that you may
walk in newness of life, draw near to God and receive this holy
communion, through Jesus Christ our Lord... Please pray with me.
is the traditional invitation)
God, ever near yet never under our control, faithful
and true beyond our own often meager efforts to live
as you would have us live, Creator of all that is -
including those who are gathered around these tables
just now, we thank you for sending your Son Jesus to
show the way and to be the way. Through him, you
have washed us with your forgiveness such that our
tears of joy flow freely. You have opened your arms
like a waiting father and run to us while we were
yet sinners, and welcomed us home - clothing and
feeding us with your goodness and mercy. Upon the
cross Jesus was broken, and his blood shed for us -
a glory we cannot begin to fully fathom.
Bless this bread of remembrance to our eating. Bless
this cup of new beginnings to our drinking, as we
anticipate the day when we will sit as friends with
our Lord and Savior at his heavenly banquet table,
free at last. This we pray in Jesus’ name. AMEN
(para traducir a español, presione la bandera de España)