Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
December 8, 2002
Worship 10:00 am Sunday School for all ages 11:15 am

Second Sunday in Advent

"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief..."
(2 Peter 3:10a)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)

  Call to Worship                                                      sing just the refrain to #212

*Opening Prayer

*Scripture                                  Isaiah 40:1-11

*Hymn                          "Come, thou long-expected Jesus"                          178
                                     Lighting the second Advent Candle

  Scripture                                   2 Peter 3:8-9

  For Children                           "How many Xís?"
                       (children then leave for choir practice or pre-school play)

  Responding with our Tithes and Offerings                   Mark 1:1-8


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

  Hymn                                  "Away in a manger"                                        194

  Pastoral Prayer

  Special Music                       "How great our joy!"           Traditional German Carol

  Scripture                                  2 Peter 3:8-15a

  Message                               "Stealing Home"

*Hymn                            "Oh, how shall I receive thee"                               182


#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship

Leader:  O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
              O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
              Come and behold him, born the king of angels.....

                G                                     G       D   G   D7    G     D
          O come, let us adore him, O come,  let  us    a - dore  him,
          G     D7    G   D  Em    D    G...C       G...D7          G   
          O  come,  let  us   a - dore him,      Christ       the Lord.

(repeat refrain, if deemed appropriate)

"O come, all ye faithful," #212, verse 1 & refrain

Opening Prayer

         O wondrous God, your love spills over into all creation - into hearts of women and men, girls and boys. Your love spills over into relationships of friends and family and church. Your love spills over in the gift of your blessed child Jesus. This season - this day - we wait for Jesus to come again into our hearts, our lives, our worship.

by Jane Flora Swick (adapted)
from For All Who Minister, ©1993, Brethren Press

For Children
"How many Xís?"

objects: 4 sheets of paper with X's on them

         I want to see how sharp you all are this morning. What is this? (show sheet #1) Looks like a bunch of Xís, doesnít it. Anyone want to guess how many? Nice try. There are actually 398 Xís on this sheet of paper. Now, what do you suppose all those Xís represent? (Playfully wonder with them. If someone guesses what you intend them to represent, great!) Those are all good answers, but what I intended them to represent were the hours between now and Christmas. When we began worship at 10 am, there were 398 hours until Christmas Day - actually until midnight on Christmas Eve when, according to our clocks, Christmas begins. At this moment it is actually slightly less than 398 hours. Does that feel like a lot of time to you? Is it hard to wait? (Talk about "waiting").

         Okay, I think youíll catch on to this next part pretty quick. What is this? (show sheet #2) Yes, again itís a bunch of Xís. How many? Well, there are 1,440 Xís, and what do you think they all represent? If you guessed hours, youíre wrong. If you guessed minutes, you're on the right track. What would 1,440 minutes equal? Believe it or not, that's how many minutes each of us has in one day. Of course, many of those minutes we spend sleeping. And on some days, many of those minutes take place in school. But we have do a lot of time on our hands every day, as you can see. All these Xís, all this time is a gift to us from God. We have many choices to make in what we do with this time. We can even choose, sometimes, to "give" our time to someone else. We have lots of it (point to all the Xís).

         I have one more sheet of paper (show sheet #3). It also has lots of Xís. Anyone want to guess how many. Hey, youíre getting good at this. There are 1,000 of them. What do you suppose these 1,000 Xís represent? (Again, playfully wonder with them). Actually, these donít stand for hours. If you listened to the scripture Mark read just before you came forward, you heard that "...with the Lord one day is like 1,000 years, and 1,000 years are like one day." What do those Xís mean? They stand for "years."

         For God, a thousand years is the same as one day. In other words, this whole page also represents one day (show sheet #4, which has just one big X on it) ... in Godís eyes, that is. Godís time is a bit different from our time. But on the other hand, for God, one day is also the same as a thousand years (hold up both sheet #3 and sheet #4). Now some people wonder how Santa Claus gets all around the world to deliver his presents in one night. A bigger question is how God takes care of everybody - with all the prayers that most be prayed all around the world. Well, this scripture reminds us that Godís time is a bit different from our time.

         In Godís own time, when the time was right, in what the Bible calls the "fullness of time," God sent Jesus to live among us and become our Savior. Thatís what Christmas is all about for us. These 398 hours leading up to Christmas remind us of something else - that in Godís own time, when the time is right, Jesus will return to fully make things right in this world. For now, God wants us/you to live every hour of every day like itís a gift from him. Not just until Christmas, but every day of your life. So, as you open up the rest of this hour and day, in your choir practice, your playtime, your Sunday School, your family time - remember, itís all a present from God.

the seed for this story was planted by
Harold Steindam in his book Growing Together, p. 6.
though I have traveled with it in a different way.

Responding with our Tithes and Offerings

         The gospel of Mark, unlike that of Matthew or Luke, does not begin with the story of Jesus' birth. The "Advent" story Mark tells starts with the preaching of John the Baptist, who was that "voice" of whom Isaiah prophesied. The days of his life, given him by God, were well spent calling people to come and repent, thus preparing the way for Christ... Listen to the beginning of the great "Advent"-ure, according to Mark:  read Mark 1:1-8

Please pray with me.

         On a twisted road we have all come to this point in time, O Lord, confessing how far we have fallen short of what you created us to be. We've told our share of lies, or perhaps just half-truths. We have hidden behind our rationalizations and fears, sometimes pretending to be better than - in truth - we really are. We have failed to reveal to others the seed of hope you've planted within us, depriving them of what you desire in their lives. We are sinners, just like all those who came to the riverside long ago, in response to that voice crying out in the wilderness.
         We turn again to you now, remembering our baptism, or anticipating that commitment we will one day make. Refresh us now, in the repentance of this moment, with the fire of your Holy Spirit, that we might "prepare the way of the Lord" in the world around us. These offerings we now bring are but a reflection of what you have already done, and are continuing to do, to make your path straight in us. Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen!



         "My dear friends, you have been warned ahead of time! So donít let the errors of evil people lead you down the wrong path and make you lose your balance. Let the wonderful kindness and the understanding that come from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ help you to keep on growing. Praise Jesus now and forever. Amen!"
                                    (2 Peter 3:17-18, CEV)


Interested in Sunday School?
Below is a growing list of possible sites to visit. As you discover others, please let us know.

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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