Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
August 11, 2013
Worship 10:00 am

A Sermon in Song

      …be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God… (Ephesians 5:18c-20a)

  Beginning with Praise                 "To the saints"                                     (9:50 am)
  Video Prelude                        "A Solitary Place"

  A Moment of Quiet

  From Silence to Song, Darkness to Light

*Song                                    "Awake, O Sleeper"

*Unison Prayer                                                                                           686

  Matthew 28:19-20

  Song                                   "I am with you always"

   Matthew 18:19-20

  Sharing a joy, a concern, a word of testimony or praise
                                 (please be brief, and aware of God's listening presence)

  Song                                              "Listen"

  Silent, then Spoken Prayer

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings

  Video Offertory                        "Living Artfully"
                              (Please sign the attendance pad and pass it on)

  A Challenge to “Live as Courageous Disciples”

  Three Songs from Philippians                     "The Christ Hymn"
                                                                       "Pressing On"
                                                                     "Joy in the Lord"

*The Invitation of Christ           "Come follow me"


*Video Postlude                         "Classical Gas"

*Rise in body or in spirit

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

From Silence to Song, Darkness to Light

                    Get away,
listen to your maker,
get clarity,
remember what you’re here for…
We have been drawn together by the Spirit of God.
Lay aside the multitude of other reasons
why you are here this morning,
many of them worthwhile,
and simply take a deep breath
of God’s presence and energy.
We have intentionally gathered in Jesus’ name.
Many other names compete for our attention this hour,
persons we know and for whom we care,
problems about which we worry,
issues that seem larger than life.
As important as all these may be,
let’s get away and
gain clarity, and
In so doing, may we awake from our spiritual sleep,
and rise into the promise of resurrection life,
stepping forth into the sunlight
of this brand new day.

continues the pondering of
and quotes from the
Video Prelude
- "A Solitary Place"

Unison Prayer

O God, you are my God.
I seek you, my soul thirsts for you;
     my flesh faints for you
     as in a dry and weary land
     where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
  beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
  my lips will praise you.
So will I bless you as long as I live;
   I will lift up my hands and call on your name. AMEN

Hymnal #686
Psalm 63:1-4, adapted from NRSV

Matthew 28:19-20

             This morning’s worship is, itself, a sermon in song. As we journey through the “work of the people” (which is what the word, “Liturgy,” means), together we will read and sing scripture. These are all located in the booklet of songs you find in your bulletin. The words will also be projected upon the screen. The songs were all composed by me (Pastor Pete). You are invited to sing along (if you feel so moved), or simply allow the words and music to flow through you. Shall we read together the first scripture? It contains both challenge and promise. Together:

               “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.  

Song - "I am with you always"


Matthew 18:19-20

             The promise of God’s presence flows through the Bible. It is even spoken by Jesus in the context of conflict. Matthew 18 presents a model for dealing with disagreement, assuming that brothers and sisters in Christ will sin against each other. When we pray, “forgive our sins as we forgive the sins of others,” we are opening ourselves to the hard work, the “liturgy” of reconciliation. Could we even begin this labor, if we didn’t know that the Lord is with us every step of the way? Let’s read together the promise:

               “Truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them."  

             It’s this promise that is part of all that we share together. When a brother is in pain, we all hurt, and in the middle of it all is the slow work of God leading toward healing and wholeness. When a sister rejoices, we all are grateful, and right smack dab in the center is you know who. All heaven breaks forth into singing. This promise is there behind every joy or concern we share together.

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

Pastoral Prayer


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


Returning our Tithes and Offerings

             As we move from sharing and praying over our common joys and concerns, to sharing from the abundance God has provided and over which we have labored, I invite you to listen to Scotty Smith’s invitation to “live artfully.” Perhaps all we need to know about the speaker is how he introduces himself on his facebook page: “Husband, dad, friend, big sinner enjoying an even bigger grace, unlikely pastor, wanna-be-musician, writer-at-times, a guy with an odd sense of humor (ask my wife).” ... Ushers, please gather in our offerings as we listen.

Video Offertory - "Living Artfully"

A Challenge to “Live as Courageous Disciples”

John – Though I will have more to say next Sunday about this year’s Annual Conference, let’s take some time now to hear a challenge from the woman who we called to the highest office of our denomination for the coming year, Nancy Sollenberger Heishman. She will lead our 2014 Annual Conference in Columbus, OH, the theme for which is “Live as Courageous Disciples.” Listen to what she has to say.

Pete – “The times in which we live call for boldness, for courage, for fearless living that is faithful to the word and life of Jesus Christ. The world around us is hungry and thirsty for living examples of lives radically committed to following Jesus. More than ever, the church needs to be a community in which Jesus’ disciples spur one another on to live courageously in this world.

John – “My dream for this coming year is that we will take steps toward living out the beginning of our denominational vision statement, which is: “Through scripture Jesus calls us to live as courageous disciples in word and action.” This phrase combines a love of mine with a hope I have for the church. It is a delight for me to gather together with sisters and brothers when they come together eagerly, freely, and without fear and judgment, simply to search the scriptures together to find Christ’s calling on their lives. When there is that spirit of love for the sisterhood and the brotherhood, as Elder John Kline reminds us, then we can gather together in trust, seeking the mind of Christ for our lives as disciples in this world.

Pete – “Through the Spirit’s power we can overcome obstacles of fear and pain that would keep us from gathering around the Word together as our Brethren ancestors did. I believe we can trust God’s Spirit to inspire, challenge, correct, and lovingly guide us in the midst of our searching of God’s precious word. And out of that fearless, trusting, heartfelt searching of the scriptures, my prayer is that we would hear Jesus calling us to live a kind of courageous discipleship that is expressed in word and action.

John – “To accomplish this dream of searching the scriptures together in order to hear the voice of Jesus calling us to courageous discipleship, I invite us to set aside this year to all study a particular New Testament letter together, the letter that the apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians. In this small letter, as well as the background found in the book of Acts, we see what a life of truly courageous discipleship looks like. Even from a prison cell, Paul passionately proclaimed the gospel of Christ and encouraged others to find the courage to live it out in their daily lives.

Pete – “The book of Philippians has just 104 verses and 2243 words. I challenge everyone to read Philippians throughout this year, to preach on it, to study it together in small groups, to meditate on it daily, and yes, while we’re at it, why not memorize the whole book? It would only require memorizing 2 verses a week until next July! As I travel among the wider church this year, I anticipate hearing the experiences of those who have taken up the challenge of memorizing the book. I am also eager for us to share and celebrate inspiring stories of courageous Christian discipleship in our midst.”

Three Songs from Philippians

             While memorizing the whole book may sound like a daunting task for some of us, myself included, sister Nancy’s invitation is before us to make use of the apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians as a resource this year to help us “Live as Courageous Disciples.” I have discovered this New Testament epistle to be a rich treasure trove from which I have drawn greatly. It is one of my favorite texts, witness the fact that I have written three songs that flow from its pages. By the way, composing songs from scripture is one of the ways I commit it to memory, and give it deeper access to my spirit. Let me share these three songs with you.

             The first is based upon a section of the 2nd chapter, words that many Bible scholars believe is an early Christian song, a “Christ Hymn.” Whether it originated with the apostle Paul, or was something he quoted, doesn’t really matter. I invite you to step into the melody of God’s Word. Let’s first read together the words that lead up to the song.


Philippians 2:1-5

             “If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,


"The Christ Hymn"

             Paul follows up this “Christ Hymn” with the following challenge. Let’s read it together:


Philippians 2:12-13

             “Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.


             In the next chapter, Paul speaks of the radical middle of faith, which gets to the root of our relationship with God. On the one hand is legalism, on the other is an “anything goes” way of living. I hear in this a call to move beyond conservatism versus liberalism, and center instead upon following the risen Christ and pressing on toward the Kingdom of God. I’ve paraphrased Paul’s words that lead up to the section upon which my next song is based, that it may speak to us today. Please join me in reading:


Philippians 3:2-7
Pete’s paraphrase

            Rejoice in the Lord … however, be cautious of those who wear their religion as a badge to arrest your development as a follower of Christ. While our behavior is important, ultimately it is not what we do, but who we are that matters. If it were all about rules and regulations, records and achievements, titles and degrees, I could boast more than anyone. As it is, in truth, everything that was “profit” for me I put down as “loss” for Christ.”


"Pressing On"

             My last song from Philippians is based upon some scripture some or many of us have memorized, perhaps through a familiar camp song. Let’s read together the words and then sing my song:


Philippians 4:4-7

             “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


"Joy in the Lord"

             What follows in Paul’s letter to the folks in Philippi is another very familiar passage to many of us. It’s all about focusing upon what’s most important. Shall we read together?


Philippians 4:8-9 

             “Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.



The Invitation of Christ

             Well, we didn’t journey through all of Paul’s letter to the Philippians. There is much more to be gleaned in the coming year, if we are interested in our moderator’s challenge. For now, we have before us the invitation of Jesus to follow where he leads, an invitation that doesn’t end once we exit this building. In fact, it only just begins. This sermon in song isn’t complete. The song is part of our everyday life. Let’s hear from Jesus, as we prepare for the song with which we will bring this service to a close and head into the world to serve. Shall we read together?


Luke 9:23-25
from The Message 

             “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?"

The Message.
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002.
Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Please rise in body or spirit

"Come follow me"



             Let me share a note about the video postlude before giving the Benediction… Many years ago, when I was a teenager, my church youth group traveled to Green Lake, Wisconsin for the American Baptist equivalent of our National Youth Conference. I recall seeing a short movie there. It was titled, “Classical Gas.” I don’t remember why we watched it. It did, however, make an impression on me, a rapid fire presentation of God’s gift of art and song. This is not the original, but a re-creation of that movie. It’s not perfect. Somehow, I think those who made it missed some art in the 3,000 years it supposedly portrays, in particular I think of anything from the continent of Africa, which has a rich tradition of fine art. Even so, it indelibly etches a multitude of creative images upon our brains. If we allow it to do so, God’s Word does much the same. In fact, I have a hunch that all the art in the video flows from a much deeper source.

Brothers and sisters,
      in these moments of getting away,
            I pray you have listened to your maker,
                                      gained a bit of clarity for the journey ahead,
                                      and remembered what you are here for.
Now, may God bless you
      as you live your song this week.

"Classical Gas"

unless otherwise stated, scripture texts are from
the New Revised Standard Version,
copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved



©2013 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)


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