Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
May 16, 2004
Worship 10:00 am Sunday School for all ages 11:15 am

Sixth Sunday of Easter

      "Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations." (Revelation 22:1-2)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)

  Call to Worship                            Psalm 67

*Hymn                           "Praise, I will praise you, Lord"                               76

*Opening Prayer  (f-1)

  Scripture                                     John 5:1-9

  For Children               "As natural as swallowing"
                                         (Pre-schoolers then leave for playful worship)

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

  Hymn                               "When peace, like a river"                                 336

  Pastoral Prayer

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings


  Scripture                             Revelation 21:22-22:5

  Message           "You canít swim without getting wet"

*Hymn                         (vs. 1) "Shall we gather at the river"                           615

  Celebrating and Renewing Baptismal Vows

*Hymn                     (all verses) "Shall we gather at the river"                        615


#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

For Children
"As natural as swallowing"
John 5:1-9

         Well, I have something refreshing here today. Who would like to take a drink of this? (Pour drink into cup, give it to a child.) There, you did that well. Did you have to think very much about drinking when you did that? . . . No, I didn't think so, but drinking involves doing quite a bit. You held the cup in your hand and didn't drop it. You moved it right to your mouth and didn't miss. Then you poured the drink into your mouth and you swallowed it. All those muscles moved and you never had to think about it.

         It's a funny thing, when we have to think about something like swallowing, it becomes hard to do. Do you remember ~times when you bad to swallow a pill and the pill wouldn't go down? You get the pill in your mouth, and you try to think what to do, and the pill seems to go everywhere but down your throat. It is best not to think about swallowing.

         It s not only swallowing that is best done without trying to figure it out. There are times when God tells us to do things that we could never figure out why it works. Why are people happier when we love them? Love isn't something you think about. You just love. Or being patient, why is it that waiting is sometimes a good thing even though it is hard to do?

         This man in our lesson was sick for 36 years and he kept trying to figure out a way to get better. Then Jesus came and he didn't ask him to think about it, he just told the man to get up. He didn't look for explanations, he just told him to act like someone who was healed. For once the man didn't think about it, he got up and walked.

         That's the way it is when we trust God. You don t need to know why or how things work, you can just do themólike swallowing. You can love. You can be patient. You can be kind or good or gentle or anything God says you should do. When God says it s time to do it, we believe him and do it. Living like a Christian is natural when we believe God.

from Good News from John: Visual Messages for Children
by Harold J. Uhl, pp. 34-35

Pastoral Prayer


written closer to the time (if not at the moment)


Returning our Tithes and Offerings
(refers to Acts 16:9-15)

         Along the shore of what is now the nation of Turkey, the apostle Paul had a dream. In it, he heard the call of someone standing on the other side of the Aegean sea, saying "Come over to Macedonia (in what is now the country of Greece) and help us." Acting upon this vision, Paul and his friends got in a boat and crossed over from east to west and shared the good news of Jesus for the first time in Europe. It all began outside the city of Philippi, gathering beside a river with a group of women who went there to pray on the Sabbath. From that day, the first person to step into the waters of baptism was a businesswoman named Lydia, along with the rest of her household...

         Toward the end of worship this morning, we will celebrate similar beginnings in the lives of those who joined this church during the month of May down through the years. Along the way, these persons will be given the opportunity to renew their own baptismal vows, to begin a new year of involvement in the church of Jesus Christ...

         Thinking back to the story of the apostle Paul. Is God planting a dream in you? It may not as grand as his - crossing an ocean and beginning some new mission or service project in a distant land. Your dream may be closer to home, some way in which Godís good news becomes real in your own neighborhood. Is there a dream in you? Ponder this as you return your offering just now. Pray with me.

         Lord, you have provided for our needs in a multitude of ways. Even when we cannot see every good and perfect gift from you, we know that you are faithful and true - yesterday, today, and tomorrow. With these offerings, we are stepping into your boat to set sail toward where you are leading. On the wings of your dream, by the wind of your Holy Spirit, send us. Amen.


Celebrating and Renewing Baptismal Vows

         If our records are right, and all fifteen active members we want to recognize are here today, they altogether represent 423 years of faithful service, following Jesus in this congregation. That is something to celebrate! Amen?

         We thank God that you are a part of our fellowship! On behalf of this congregation, let me say that you are important to us. Through you, God blesses us. We pray that we have been a blessing to you in return. Iím sure for some of you, there have been moments when you wondered about this commitment you made a while back. Maybe there were times when you felt you were in over your head, whether in regard to church life here, or in those places to which you have felt Godís call beyond these walls.

         Remember that when Jesus says, "follow me," and you step forth, you arenít walking alone. Where God leads, Jesus goes ahead of you. The Holy Spirit is your strength, providing what you need to fulfill your calling in Christ. And the church - all of us - weíre part of the bigger picture. Thanks for stepping into this water, too. In this case, itís a good thing to say that weíre all wet. Sometimes thatís our tears, other times itís our sweat, as we try to "bear one anotherís burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2), working with each other, sometimes through conflict. Weíre "people," after all.

         This is a time to celebrate, and a time to recommit. Traditionally, there are three questions asked on the day of our baptism. If you will, letís return to them, and give those of you who are up front just now the opportunity to renew your vows.

         Do you still believe that Jesus is Godís Son. Does your door remain open to him that you may receive him, willing to "get wet," every day? Do you still trust him as your Savior and Lord? If so, say, "I do."

         Will you turn away from all sin and endeavor by Godís grace - today! - to live according to the example and teachings of Jesus? If so, say, "I will."

         Will you continue to be loyal to the church (i.e. step into the water of our life together), upholding these people through your prayers and your presence, your substance and your service? If so, say, "I will."

         Praise God! Each of you received a letter which included a pledge form, an opportunity to respond with some vows specific to you, involving your time and talents, as well as your substance. If you have felt moved to pledge in this way, I invite you to place it in the basket on the worship table, then return to where you were sitting, while we sing all four verses of our final hymn. "Shall we gather at the river," brothers and sisters? #615.


         "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High." (Psalms 46:1-4)

Therefore, brothers and sisters, donít be afraid.
Go and get wet.


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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