Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
October 20, 2013
Worship 10:00 am          Sunday School 11:10am


      “But as for you, keep your wits about you at all times. When hostility comes, take it on the chin. Work hard at spreading the message. God has given you this work - carry it out to the max.
                    (2 Timothy 4:5 Laughing Bird version)

  Beginning with Praise (9:50 am)               "Since over thy footstool"               158
  Prelude                             "I Love to Tell the Story"                             Fischer

Looking Up

 Call to Worship                            Psalm 121                         (from The Message)

*Hymn                          "I sing the mighty power of God"                              46 

*Opening Prayer

 Scripture                                 Jeremiah 31:27-30            (Common English Bible)

 Confession                                                                                                 698

Deeply Engraved

  Scripture                                Jeremiah 31:31-34           (Common English Bible)

  For Children                  "The Three Questions"                by John Muth

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings

  Offertory                                   "Adagio in D"                                      Merkel
                              (Please sign the attendance pad and pass it on)

Courageously Persistent 

 Scripture                                      Luke 18:1-8

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

 Hymn                                "O Lord, hear my prayer"                                 348

 Pastoral Prayer

Outfitted and Equipped

 Scripture                               2 Timothy 3:14 - 4:5

 Message                        "Carry it out to the max" (mp3)

*Hymn                       "God the Spirit, Guide and Guardian"                        632


*Postlude                                       "Largetto"                                          Rinck

*Rise in body or in spirit

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

As worshipers enter the sanctuary,
they will be encouraged to take some sweet and sour candy from a basket,
to be saved for the time of confession.


Opening Prayer

Creator and Ruler of both mountains and valleys,
      we lift up our voices,
                     our eyes,
                     our hearts,
                     our lives to you in praise.
      We trust in your salvation.
      We depend upon your grace.
      We hunger and thirst for your Word,
            that your voice may speak within us.
      We rely upon your steadfast promise,
            which makes us bold and persistent.
      We come to be prepared by you, once again,
            for the journey of faith,
                  empowered and equipped to fulfill your calling.
Bless this time and bless your people
      gathered here in Jesus’ name.



After reading  Jeremiah 31:27-30 (from the Common English Bible):

             You received a piece of candy as you entered the sanctuary. If you are willing, take a moment now to open and put it in your mouth. This candy is intentionally both sweet and sour. Taste the sour part and imagine biting into a very tart fruit, one that is so sour it leaves an unpleasant flavor in your mouth…

             There was a saying long ago, which the prophet Jeremiah quoted, that said “Sour grapes eaten by parents leave a bitter taste in the mouths of their children.” In other words, bad fruit intentionally eaten by one generation can still be tasted by the next. Another version of this might be, “the sins of the parents are visited upon the children.” As in, a younger generation pays for the mistakes of the generation before them. There is a lot of truth to this. We see it today in families where patterns of abuse are passed on from parent to child, a bitter fruit that keeps growing until it is painstakingly removed, which sometimes takes a generation or more.

             In Jeremiah’s day, the children of Israel had been ripped from their homeland and forced into exile in Babylon. It was a bitter pill to swallow, and it was only natural that God’s people were filled with sour grapes, blaming their ancestors for bad decisions which had led to this state of affairs. “Their sins caused our problems,” these exiles cried, which had a ring of truth to it. The problem is, blaming other people doesn’t give you any power to change your own circumstances, and it really doesn’t help you feel any better.

             Jeremiah amended that old saying by adding this: “everyone will die for their own sins: whoever eats sour grapes will have a bitter taste in their own mouths.” Now, on the surface that sounds negative. We reap what we sow. We are responsible for our own sins. The good news is that we are not locked into the sins of our ancestors. We have the power to change. While we cannot change the past, we can change the present. While we cannot change other people (our parents included), we can change ourselves. We can choose other fruit to eat.

             Confession is a choice. In confessing our own sins, we are choosing a different path, especially when our words become action. Confession, when done rightly, empowers us to change. It is not a hammer with which to pound us down into the ground. Rather, confession frees us up, as we look up to the One who delivers us from evil. The power to change ourselves - our outlook on life, our intentions, what we will do with our lives; this power is worked into the core of who we are by our God.

             With this in mind, please turn with me to #698 in the back of your hymnal, and let us cleanse the sour taste from our mouths with this unison confession:

  Forgive me my sins, O Lord.
Forgive me the sins of my youth 
                  and the sins of my age,
         the sins of my soul
                  and the sins of my body,
         my secret and my whispering sins,
         the sins I have done to please myself
                  and the sins I have done to please others.
Forgive those sins which I know
         and the sins which I do not know
Forgive them, Lord;
         forgive them in all your great goodness,
         through Jesus Christ, our Lord. AMEN

Hymnal #698
by Lancelot Andrewes, ca. 1600
The New Book of Christian Prayers,
© 1986 Tony Castle. Edited by Tony Castle.
Crossroad/Continuum Publishing Company.


             Now, listen to what comes next from the prophet Jeremiah, ancient words of forgiveness and power and hope and promise, spoken to exiles in Babylon long ago. May we hear them as spoken to us today.

Read Jeremiah 31:31-34 (from the Common English Bible)


For Children
"The Three Questions"
by John Muth

             Noell Rathbun-Cook, in recommending this book in Storypath (a great resource) as a tie-in to the Jeremiah passage, writes:

             “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts… No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me…” With this statement, the law changes from an external piece of wisdom meant to guide us in knowledge of the Lord to something that is innately within us. The Three Questions is a lovely example of the difference between experiencing the law externally and internally. Nikolai can only know the answers to his questions when he has lived them out of his own heart. This text and story invite us to reflect on the ways we have experienced God’s law written within our hearts and lives.  

             We are intentionally using picture books for our children’s time to help our newest participants in worship, who know about circle and reading time in pre-school, to get used to being part of the congregation in the sanctuary instead of the nursery. As a smaller church, we can be "strategically nimble" in this way to tailor our worship to the needs of a few (or, in this case, one child in particular).

Returning our Tithes and Offerings

(refers to The Three Questions in the children’s story)

             “Now” is the best time. Always with us, God is "the most important One," whose image we see in each person we meet. "The right thing to do" is to give ourselves to others.

             As you return your offering just now, you might wish to prepare for the next scripture by reading what is on the back of your bulletin (below). Ponder these words, which lead us through the gospel toward prayer.

Ushers, please come and receive our offerings.



Thinking about all of the places in our world that need God's justice overwhelms me. There are too many to list, and they feel as vast as the stars. And I'm sure that each one of us can add to the tally as we think about our own experiences.

But what really strikes me about these verses is that right up front, Luke gives the reason for Jesus telling this parable. The scripture says, "Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart" (v. 1). Typically, the point of Jesus' parables is left to the understanding and imagination of the hearers. And the parable of the widow and the judge in verses 2-8 might be interpreted as a call for persistent advocacy to convince the powerful to grant justice. It might also be an admonishment to those in power to fear God and respect others, especially those liv¬ing on the margins of society. Personally, I believe both of these interpretations fall in line with the broader teachings of Jesus.

But we are explicitly told that this story is shared so that believers will not lose heart, so that you and me, and all who hear these words of Jesus, will pray always. There is a promise in this para¬ble as well, a promise that God will quickly grant justice to the chosen ones who cry out day and night. When I am feeling overwhelmed by the world's need for justice, I'll look to the stars and remind myself that each place of injustice is an opportunity for me to pray. We must never lose heart that God's shalom and Christ's peace will bring justice to our blessed and broken world.

by Monica Rice
Coordinator of Congregational Relations
Bethany Theological Seminary
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series



Pastoral Prayer

               It took courage for the widow in that story of Jesus (Luke 18:1-8) to continue nagging the unjust judge to give her justice. Do we have that kind of faith to persist in our prayers to God? As we move toward a time of intercession, turn to #348 in your hymnal. We will sing this eight-measure call to prayer several times, recalling the perseverance of that widow as we do so. Pay attention, for at a certain point we will stop singing and I will start praying aloud. The organ will continue playing, and you may keep humming while I pray, if you feel led to do so. Be prepared, when the spoken prayer has finished, to begin singing this song again as a response to prayer. Shall we sing?  

"O Lord, hear my prayer" (#348)

             Dare we be so bold, O Lord? We recall Abraham asking over and over again about your as-yet unfulfilled promise of children and homeland. Eventually you made it all come true, O God of blessing. The cries of Hagar, who bore Abram’s firstborn, also come to mind, when she was cast out with her son, Ishmael, and you heard her despair, O God who sees. We recall how Jacob kept wrestling with you all night, O God who gives new names. Remembered, also, are the whimpers of a boy tossed down a hole by his brothers, and how you made him the one who would save his family from starvation, O God of dreams. Likewise the shouts for help from a family of slaves in Egypt, and your response through a burning bush, O God who is who you are. Dare we be so bold and persistent, O Lord, our deliverer?

             We believe that you have been present with us as we have, just now, spoken the names of those for whom we care. You are among and within us as we bring these modern-day Abrahams and Hagars and Jacobs and Josephs to mind, each with their own journey, their own hopes and struggles. By faith we knock on your door for them, asking you to act on their behalf. We trust, O God who is far greater than any earthly judge, that what we may perceive as nagging on our part is desired by you. For you are a constant presence in our lives, persistently nudging us toward your kingdom, knocking on our door every day, blowing through our landscape like the wind, burning into our hearts your Word, such that as we turn toward you, your voice speaks from within us. It is your persistence that makes us so bold, O God, our salvation.

             And so, O Lord, hear our prayer. When we call, as we will continue to do long after this prayer has ended, answer us. O Lord, hear our prayer. Come and listen to us, we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

"O Lord, hear my prayer" (#348)



Outfitted and equipped for the tasks
    which lie ahead of you this week,
        be courageously persistent
            as ministers of the Gospel,
        with God’s Word engraved upon your heart.
    Keep looking up!



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:
Adult Bible Studies
from The United Methodist Publishing House
(click "supplemental resources" and "current events supplement" under both the "Student" and "Teacher" sections in the left hand column)

International Lesson:
International Bible Lesson
a weekly column by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.
in "The Oklahoman" newspaper
also found

International Lesson:
Living Web Sunday School Project

While one of our adult classes follows the International lesson above (see also), using
A Guide for Biblical Studies,
published quarterly by our denomination,
another class often uses one of the
Good Ground series.

For children and youth, we use the new
Gather Round curriculum
(developed jointly by the Church of the Brethren and the Mennonite Church)


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


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