Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
August 31, 2003
Worship 10:00 am Sunday School for all ages 11:15 am

      "There is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile." (Mark 7:15)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)

  Scripture                           Song of Solomon 2:8-13  (after preface)

*Call to Worship         "Awake, arise, O sing a new song"                             56
                                                   (unison, then 2-part round, as led)

*Opening Prayer

*Hymn                                     "Holy, holy, holy!"                                       120

*Unison Prayer of Confession                                                  (back of bulletin)

  Sharing a joy, a concern, a word of testimony or praise
                       (Pre-school thru 2nd grade children then leave for Sunday School)

  Hymn                            "Lord, listen to your children"                               353

  Pastoral Prayer

  Scripture                                   Mark 7:1-23

  Message                               "Germs and Sin"

  Hymn                            "Lord, I am fondly, earnestly"                               514

  Scripture                                  James 1:17-25

  Commissioning our Church Leaders

  Responding with our Tithes and Offerings


*Hymn                         "How clear is our vocation, Lord"                           541


#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Preface to Scripture Reading

         In the Song of Solomon we find a very human love story, words shared between a man and a woman. Down through the centuries, however, Godís people have heard in these words echoes of our relationship with God. If, indeed, we love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind, then God is our "beloved." As we allow these words of love to lead us into worship this morning, remember the One whom God sent to redeem us - "This is my Son," God said, "the Beloved; with whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17, 17:5)... Listen and be led to awake, arise, and sing a new song.

(Then read Song of Solomon 2:8-13)

Opening Prayer

         You are our beloved, O Lord! Yes, you created everything. Yes, you are greater than all things in heaven and on earth. Yes, you are holy. You are separate from us. From a distance you watch over your Creation. You are beyond all human efforts to bring you under control. Even so, you are our beloved. Out of love for us, you sent your beloved Son to us. You provide your very presence in the Holy Spirit, that we might arise and come to you.
         Holy God. Almighty God. Loving God. Early on this morning our song rises to thee. It is to you that we sing. So, awaken us, that we might rise to new life in Christ. Amen.

Unison Prayer of Confession

Through your Spirit we are able to see our imperfections and belligerence, but still we come before you and our neighbors full of pride and vanity.

You are part of our reality, yet we cling to pride and self-sufficiency. We resist allowing your Spirit to expose our old nature and imperfections.

We know that you are Lord and your will must prevail, yet we find a thousand reasons to justify our warlike behavior.

You teach us to love our neighbor, but we worry about "our honor" and hold back on forgiveness.

You tell us to visit the widow and the orphan, but, instead, we wait to be visited.

We are readier to speak of love than to love.

For these sins, we ask your forgiveness, O Lord. And for your grace, we give you thanks.

óSuely Inhauser
Igreja da Irmandade
Church of the Brethren
Campinas, Brazil
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"

Pastoral Prayer

         "Come away, my beloved children," you call out to us, O Lord. Come away and behold things as they truly are, not as you have become so accustomed to seeing them. Come away, and stand upon this very ground and see it as holy. Come away, and see that which is holy in you - for I created you. Yes, from the earth you came, dust - but I shaped and fashioned you, and breathed life into your form. When you hear the cry of baby, that which you once were, do you stand in awe? You are on holy ground. When you behold the body of a loved one, whose spirit has come away to me, that which one day you will be, do you stand in awe? You are on holy ground.

         When you see this world, so full of violence and anger and war, cheap thrills and wasted passions; people claiming to follow me engaged in what I never intended, as well as people denying my existence or - at best - wondering how things could be this way if I were in charge; when you look around you, do you see what truly is? For you are standing on holy ground. Things are not always as they appear. I am changing what is. A new world is coming. What I am doing now does not make the headlines, but do not be mistaken - I am. And I am on the move.

         We "come away," O Lord. We seek first your kingdom, your righteousness - we seek, though our seeking is sometimes half-hearted. We try to be different in this world, to follow a different drummer, but too easily we march to the same old beat. We open our eyes to see what you have created, as well as the "new thing" you are doing now, but so often we are blind. "I have a dream," one of your beloved children shared forty years ago this past week, a dream inspired by you, and his words set us on fire to behold our nation in a brand new way. He was branded a traitor, a lunatic, a heretic by some who claimed to be your people - much like how your prophets of old were received. And yet, when we hear his words, even today, we dare to come away and dream your dreams, and be filled with awe and wonder.

         You have heard, O Lord, what we have shared. You know each one mentioned, by name. You are on the move in each circumstance we have lifted up, as well as in all those we have not spoken. We dare to ask for seemingly impossible possibilities, for you have called us to come away and dream large, to ask and receive. We believe in you, and trust in your will - what you are doing, even when we canít see much beyond the noses on our faces.

         Bless now the speaking of your good news, the story of your beloved Son, who himself was considered a traitor, a lunatic, a heretic by some who claimed to be your people. Open our ears that we might hear. Open our eyes that we might see. Open our hearts that we might be touched by your transforming fire. This we pray in the name of the One who said, "Come and see," and "listen to me." Amen.

Commissioning our Church Leaders

         The phone rings. You answer. Itís someone from the nominating committee of your church, asking if you would be willing to serve. After praying about it, and talking with those closest to you, your answer is "yes." Your name goes on a ballot. Later, when it meets in council, the church votes and thus calls you to be a leader in this congregation. If this is, indeed, the body of Christ then this call is from God. And if God has called you, then you will be given - by God - what you need to fulfill this call. "Every good and perfect gift," brother James wrote, "comes from God."

         This week marks the beginning of another year of service for those whom we have called to lead. Wednesday evening will be the first meeting of the new church board. We want to take the time now to commission this new leadership team, as well as some of the others who will be working with them. First, however, we want to thank those who are stepping back from leadership after having served their term. Teresa Albright & John Ness, we are grateful that you said "yes" to serve on the church board. And Janet Bowman, thank you for serving on the nominating committee. We pray you have felt Godís guidance in your serving. We trust that you will be used by the Lord in other ways in the coming years.

         Called to the church board this past spring were (would you please stand, and remain standing, when your name is read) Phil Groves and Jeff Wolf for a first term, and Charlie Mueller and Chris Breidenbaugh for a second term. They join Zermain Breidenbaugh, Mel Horst, Sharon Kagarise, Kay Kearns, Gina Miller, Edna Mueller, Georgia Smith, and Terri Smyth on the board, with Gary Miller as their chairman.

         Serving with them are Gayle Miller, our church clerk; David Ricci, our treasurer; and Jerry Bowman, our financial secretary. Connecting us with the Mid-Atlantic district of our denomination are Pam Bryant and Eva Simmons, our elected representatives to District conference who join our church board chair and myself as delegates. Our delegate to our denominationís Annual Conference this year was Gary Miller. Next Yearís delegate, traveling to Charleston, WV will be chosen this fall.

         A very important part of our leadership team are those who prayerfully seek out the gifts among us, get busy contacting people on the phone and face-to-face, and then nominate persons to serve in leadership. At our spring council meeting, Gail Hanna was called to join Karen Haynes and Grace Miller on the Nominating Committee. Now, this is not the whole leadership team of our congregation. The church board calls many of the rest of you to serve in various capacities. We were all ordained to ministry when we were baptised. Other important ministers are our Deacons, whom we will commission on the World Communion Sunday, October 5th.       Let us pray.

         O God, we give thanks for all people here who have responded to your call in Christ Jesus to be workers together with you. We are especially grateful for our brothers and sisters who express their faith and witness through specific ministries in this congregation.
         Grant us grace that we may all present our gifts and talents to be used for your glory and our neighbor s good. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

         Brothers and sisters in Christ, God has called you to these ministries in our congregation. We thank God for each of you and for your willing response to this call. We believe that God will empower you for this ministry among us. We invite you to make your commitment by responding to the questions of commissioning as the congregation asks them. Since God has called me to work with you, I will join you in responding.

Do you willingly accept the responsibility to which you have been called, and do you promise to be faithful in fulfilling that responsibility?

We do.

Will you seek to live a life worthy of this trust, exemplifying Christian faith and spirit in all that you do?

We will.

Will you be creative, redemptive, and cooperative as you work together in common tasks?

We will.

Will you prepare yourself by becoming familiar with congregational, district, and denominational policies and ministries? And will you prepare through regular Bible study, prayer, worship, and sharing in the life of this faith community?

We will.

Congregation (now standing):
We, as brothers and sisters in Christ, affirm you as leaders called to serve in this congregation. We offer to you our cooperation and confidence, our prayers and support, so that together we might become "doers of the word and not hearers only." May God bless you with the wisdom, the ability, and the power needed for the tasks you face.

As a co-worker in Christ, I declare you installed as leaders, workers, and delegates of the Long Green Valley Church, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

prayer and response adapted from service
written by Robert Alley, pastor
Bridgewater, VA Church of the Brethren
from For All Who Minister,
©1993, Brethren Press, pp. 326-328.

Responding with our Tithes and Offerings

         "Every good and perfect gift," brother James wrote, "comes from God." What the Lord gives to us, whether it be the ability to do what we are called to do, or the material resources with which to do it, all of this comes "from above." In fact, what we each have been given belongs to God. How we use what has been so richly provided "from above" is our response to the grace of God - a response-ability we all share, not just those who are called to lead.
         Will the ushers come forward to receive a portion of our response.


         Tomorrow is "Labor Day," time off for most of us. As you step forward into this week, remember that day of labor long ago when Jesus died upon the cross and thus accomplished our salvation. Remember, also, that his labor - like the labor of our two young mothers expecting this coming month - led to new life. It was a beginning, not an ending. So, brothers and sisters,

Awake, arise, and sing a new song wherever you go,
a song of joy and celebration.
A new day has come, bring praise to the Son of God.


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


©2003 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)


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