Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
February 24, 2002
Worship 10:00 am Sunday School for all ages 11:15 am

Second Sunday in Lent

      "I lift up my eyes to the hills - from where will my help come?"       (Psalms 121:1)

*Call to Worship     (vs. 1) "Open my eyes, that I may see"                             517

*Opening Scripture                        John 3:1-3

*Hymn                                    "Lift high the cross"                                         321

*Opening Prayer

  Scripture                                     John 3:4-17

  Childrenís Story                     "I once was blind"

  Hymn                          (vs. 1-2 ) "Amazing Grace!"                                        143
                               (children leave for choir or pre-school play )

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

  Hymn                       (vs. 3 & 6 ) "Amazing Grace!"                                        143

  Pastoral Prayer

  Responding with our Tithes and Offerings


*Doxology and Prayer

  Scripture                                     Psalm 121

  Message                             "I lift up my eyes"

*Hymn                             "My faith looks up to thee"                                    565


#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Opening Scripture
(John 3:1-3,

         Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God." Jesus answered him, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above."

         Open your eyes, brothers and sisters, and look at the cross of Christ. Yes, it is a symbol of the worst things that human beings can do against one another. But it also is a signpost of the kingdom of God, showing the way. Can you see it? If so, letís join together and lift it high, and proclaim the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

Opening Prayer

         Lord, we come as Nicodemus came to Jesus long ago, having caught a glimpse of glory, seeking more. Speak to us as you spoke to him. Shed light upon our darkness. Open the window of our hearts and minds that a fresh breath of your Spiritís wind may blow through. Reveal your awesome love which cannot be contained in mere human words. Bring us to new birth that, like infants, we may behold your kingdom as if this was the first day of a brand new life.
         We pray all this in the name of the One whose cross we lift up high. Amen.

Childrenís Story
"I once was blind"

         John Newton lived more than two hundred and fifty years ago. He was born in 1725, and his mother died when he was only seven years old. His father was a sea captain, and when John was eleven he left school and went to work on his fatherís ship. He worked on several ships and finally, when he was older, became the captain of his own ship. It sounds like John Newton was doing very well, doesnít it? But there was just one problem. His ship was a slave ship.
         Back in those days, people from Europe and North America went to Africa to capture slaves. They kidnapped the native Africans and put them on slave ships. These ships traveled to the West Indies and North American, where the slaves were sold and forced to work on big farms called plantations. On the ships, the Africans were treated cruelly. They were not given enough food and water. They got sick from living all crowded together in the dirty hulls of the ships, and many of them died before they reached land. This was the kind of ship John Newton captained.
         On March 10, 1748, Mr. Newton and his crew were returning to England from Africa when their ship was caught in a terrible storm. They all thought the ship would sink and they would drown. Mr. Newton began reading a book called Imitation of Christ written by a Christian monk. The frightening storm plus the message of Godís love and forgiveness in Jesus that John Newton found in the book caused him to believe in God and ask Jesus to be his friend. John Newton, slave trader, became a Christian.
         For a while, he stayed captain of his ship and tried to make life better for the slaves aboard. But soon he realized that taking away the freedom of other human beings and selling them as slaves was wrong, and for the rest of his life he worked to make slavery illegal in his home country of England.
         Mr. Newton got married and worked as a clerk for nine years until he finally became a minister. John Newton also wrote some hymns, one of which tells how he felt about becoming a Christian. Itís called "Amazing Grace!" (Show children the hymn in the hymnal, #143) We still sing "Amazing Grace" today. Grace is an-other word for Godís love and forgiveness for us. Itís the thing that we Christians believe in and cherish most. The words to Mr. Newtonís song go like this... (Read the words to the first verse.)
         It does not matter how a person comes to learn of Godís grace. Whether one grows up as a Christian or becomes a Christian later in life is not important. What is important is that we know that God loves the world so much that God sent Jesus, and that whoever believes in Jesus should not perish but have everlasting life.

[for more on this hymn see Osbeck's 101 Hymn Stories #6.]

         Let s Pray. Dear God, we thank you for your love and forgiveness. Thank you for sending your child Jesus, the Christ, to show us that amazing grace. Amen.

adapted from  A Time with our Children - Year A,
by Diane Demming, pp. 42-43

Responding with our Tithes and Offerings

         Remember Abraham and Sarah? Long ago, God sent them forth in their old age and childless. "I will make of you a great nation," the Lord said. "I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing ... and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed" (Genesis 12:1-3). It took faith to step out into those words.
         When we return our offerings, weíre not just placing money in a plate. Weíre acknowledging the blessings that we have received. "In you all the families of the earth will be blessed," God promised. These offerings are also like signposts along the way of faith. "In you all the families of the earth will be blessed." As you give, ponder what your signpost says. Is it pointing toward Godís kingdom?
         Will the ushers please come forward to receive what we have to share.

(after the offering)

         Yes, Lord, Amen! You are the source of every blessing we have received. Thank you. You are also the One who helps us to be a blessing. In so doing, help us to point the way to you. We follow your Son, in whose name we pray just now. Yes, Lord, Amen!


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International Lesson thoughts
from the
Mennonite Publishing House

International Lesson
Commentary by
Richard Hughes
(posted on Saturday)

International Lesson
Commentary by
Edwin Elliott


©2002 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)


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