Worship Order for
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
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
Beginning with Praise
"Since over thy footstool"
Love to Tell the Story"
"I sing the mighty power
(Common English Bible)
(Common English Bible)
by John Muth
our Tithes and Offerings
"Adagio in D"
(Please sign the attendance pad and
pass it on)
a joy, a concern, a word of testimony or praise
(please be brief, and aware of God's listening presence)
"O Lord, hear my prayer"
Outfitted and Equipped
2 Timothy 3:14 - 4:5
it out to the max" (mp3)
*Hymn "God the Spirit, Guide and Guardian"
*Rise in body or in spirit
#'s are from Hymnal:
A Worship Book
Worship leaders - see basic
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.
Creator and Ruler of both mountains and
we lift up our voices,
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.
this time and bless your people
gathered here in Jesus’ name.
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
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
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
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
Jeremiah 31:31-34 (from the
Common English Bible)
by John Muth
Noell Rathbun-Cook, in recommending this book in
Storypath (a great resource) as a tie-in to the Jeremiah
“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
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
our Tithes and Offerings
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.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRAYER
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.
Coordinator of Congregational Relations
Bethany Theological Seminary
Church of the Brethren Living
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085,
"The Living Word Series
It took courage for the widow in that story of Jesus
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"
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"
Outfitted and equipped for the tasks
ahead of you this week,
be courageously persistent
as ministers of the Gospel,
with God’s Word engraved upon your heart.