Worship Order for Sunday

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

Third Sunday in Advent

      "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."    (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)

  Call to Worship

  Refrain to                     "Angels we have heard on high"                              197

*Responsive Prayer                                                           (see back of bulletin)

*Hymn                              "O little town of Bethlehem"                                 191

  Lighting the third Advent Candle

  Scripture                                    Isaiah 61:1-4

  For Children                  "Anointed to proclaim"

  Hymn                                "Infant holy, infant lowly"                                   206
                           (children leave for choir practice or pre-school play)

  Responding with our Tithes and Offerings            Psalm 126


*Response                  (vs. 3) "As with gladness men of old"                          218

*Dedication Prayer

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

  Hymn                           "Lo, how a rose e’er blooming"                              211

  Pastoral Prayer

  Scripture                            1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

  Message                      "Careful with the Candles"

*Hymn                             "Bless'd be the God of Israel"                               174


#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship

"Come to Bethlehem and see him whose birth the angels sing.
Come adore on bended knee Christ, the Lord, the newborn king."

then congregation sings the refrain ("Gloria in excelsis Deo") to:
"Angels we have heard on high"

         (note: those lighting the Advent candles this week are newcomers among us - three women from Brazil and Chile. They will come forward during the first verse of "O little town of Bethlehem" to light as we sing. One of them may - depending on if it can be arranged last minute - begin the service from the back of the sanctuary by speaking the above words from the third verse of "Angels we have heard on high" in her native tongue, immediately followed by the worship leader repeating them in English.) 

"Oh, venid pronto a Belén para contemplar con fe
A Jesús, Autor del bien, al recién nacido Rey."
(en español)

Responsive Prayer

One: 0 God, ten days out from Christmas
                  and this is where we are:

  All: We rejoice on occasion,
                  but it has to be something really impressive.

                  We pray when the mood strikes us,
                           but many of us would be ashamed
                                    if others in the church knew
                                             how infrequently that was.

                  We give thanks when things are going well, 
                           but we often shake our fist at heaven.

One: 0 God, we're almost to the manger
                  and this is where we d like to be:

  All: So aware of your blessings and grace
                           that we rejoice always;

                  so convinced of the power of your presence
                           that we pray without ceasing;

                  so focused on your kingdom that is coming
                           that we give thanks in all circumstances.

One: Yes, this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

  All: Amen.

by Dan Petry, pastor
Middlebury, IN Church of the Brethren
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"

For Children
"Anointed to proclaim"
(based upon Isaiah 61:1-4)

         Jesus was born where, according to the Bible? Bethlehem. Was that where he grew up? Yes? No. Where was his home town? Nazareth. That why he was sometimes called "Jesus of Nazareth." He was raised there. Were you listening to the scripture reading just now? Does anybody recognize it? Yes, it’s from the prophet Isaiah, but those words pop up in the story of Jesus. Do you know where?

         I’ll give you a hint, they are somehow connected to the town in which he grew up - not Bethlehem, but Nazareth. Jesus read those very words. It says so in the Bible. Not when he was a baby, of course. Babies can’t read, can they? Like you, he learned how to read. An important part of growing up in his congregation was learning how to read the Bible. Like other boys, he prepared to one day read God’s Word out loud in front of his congregation.

         Now, the Bible doesn’t tell about his bar mitzvah, when he probably read in public for the first time. That would have been when he was about your age, (choose & name a child age 12-13). No, but the Bible does tell about another time when, as an adult, after he called his disciples, he came home to Nazareth and was asked to read out loud (Luke 4:16-30).  I wonder if he was nervous when he read in front of all these people who had watched him grow up. I wonder if his Mom was nervous, too, even as she was probably very proud.

         Now, I’m not going to talk about the rest of that story. I am going to tell you that learning how to read the Bible is still important. A few of you have already read the Bible in front of this congregation, bringing us some good news. I hope some day you all will take a turn. But, you know what? Right now most of you are preparing to do something very special. On Christmas Eve, those of you in the Alleluia Choir will lead us in worship. You’ll sing. Some of you may read. Some may act out something. You will be holding up the light of Christ. I want you to know that God is sending you to bring some good news to us. I’d like to pray for you right now, to help prepare you for this important mission. Let’s pray.

         Lord, may your Spirit be upon these children as they prepare. Help them to bring good news. May what they sing, what they say, and what they do, bind up someone us is brokenhearted, release someone who is held captive, comfort someone who is mourning. May their leadership lift up gladness in the place of sadness, and make bold the praise of those whose spirit may be growing faint. Anoint them to proclaim that Christ the Lord is born, and new life has begun. Amen.

Responding with our Tithes and Offerings

         "When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations,The LORD has done great things for them.The LORD has done great things for us, and we rejoiced. Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like the streams in the desert. May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy. Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves."     (Psalm 126)

         You may not at this moment be "sowing in tears," but someone else may. We’ve mentioned the tears of southern Africa, and the appeal to help them in the middle of their drought. Closer to home, we think of those in the midst of grief or other trouble, for whom holidays are a mixed blessing. As you return your offering, see it as part of the seed with which God plants the good news in the world. Pray for "shouts of joy."

Will the ushers come forward to serve.

Dedication Prayer

         With these gifts we sow, O God, the good news which you have already planted in our lives. May they grow, even in places where the ground has become parched from lack of rain, and sprout and provide for those who need your joy. Indeed, Lord, "may those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy." This we pray in the name of your and our greatest joy - Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.


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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