Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
November 28, 2004
Worship 10:00 am, Sunday School 11:10 am
First Sunday in Advent

      "...you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers..." (Romans 13:11)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)

  Call to Worship

  Hymn                       (vs. 1) "O come, O come, Immanuel"                         172

  Lighting the First Advent Candle

*Hymn                                   "Shine, Jesus, Shine"                           (see insert)

*Opening Prayer

  Dedicating our Prayer Chain

  Hymn                         "Come, thou long-expected Jesus"                          178
                                              (Pre-schoolers leave for playful worship)

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

  Hymn                               (vs. 3) "Away in a manger"                                 194

  Pastoral Prayer

  Witness Christmas Project

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings


  Scripture                                Romans 13:11-14

  Message                            "Nearer than before"

*Hymn                                     "Go, my children"                                       433

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship
Based on Psalm 122 and Isaiah 2:

One: I was overjoyed when they said to me, 
              "Let us go to the house of the Lord!"

All: Like faithful people of old, we gather 
              to worship you, O Lord our God.

One: This is where you teach us your ways, 
              that we may walk in your paths.

All: This is where your word of peace and
              justice for all people is heard and acted upon:

One: so that instruments of war are transformed
              into tools of production;

All: and nation shall not lift up arms against nation, 
              neither shall they learn war any more.

One: As we hear and obey, we shall surely walk
              in the light of the Lord!

borrowed from LiturgiesOnline

Lighting the First Advent Candle

         (One of our church families will come forward during the previous hymn, dividing up the following lines to read aloud before they light the first candle.)

         Today is the first Sunday of Advent - the time when we prepare once again for the coming of Jesus.

         We light a candle each week to remind us that Jesus brings light into the dark places of the world.

         The prophet Isaiah described a future shaped by peace for all nations as they walk in the light of the Lord. We wait in hope for this prophecy to be fulfilled.

         We light the candle of hope to proclaim that Godís light is coming into the world.

(light the first candle)

   borrowed from LiturgiesOnline

Opening Prayer

         God of peace, forgive us for struggling for dominance when we ought to commit to service. Forgive us for investing the resources you give us to protect ourselves instead of protecting the ways of justice and peace. Help us to be ready in heart and in life for the coming of the Prince of Peace. AMEN

Bob W. Dell, pastor
Codorus (Loganville, PA) Church of the Brethren
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"

Dedicating our Prayer Chain

         "Keep awake," Jesus once urged those who followed him, "for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming" (Matthew 24:42).

         A number of years ago we held a prayer vigil in preparation for a spiritual renewal weekend here. As part of it, folks were invited to choose a specific Ĺ-hour or more time period during the day or night to pray for this event - for the speaker, the congregation - that we might receive what the Lord wanted to share with us. Some of us wondered how we could pray that long? Others of us, especially those who picked a time after midnight, worried if we could stay awake between the previous personís phone call to when we passed it on to the next person. Falling asleep is not just a concern, by the way, of those who pray after bedtime. Itís easy to zone out any time of day. Interestingly enough, many of us discovered that time passed very quickly and we had little trouble filling it with prayer. Others of us actually stayed awake. God had much to share.

         Leading up to the birth and dedication of Jesus, there were two persons who kept vigil. Simeon, who was presumably a priest, though scripture doesnít actually say so, was "looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him." He prayed at the Temple, and when Mary and Joseph brought their baby boy to be circumcised, Simeon praised God for answered prayer, for he recognized the Messiah in Maryís arms (Luke 2:25-35). Anna also kept watch. This 84-year-old widow, called a "prophet" by Luke, "never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day." Talk about dedication! She also came to this tiny child and his startled parents on that day and praised God, telling everyone who would listen to an old lady talk about this baby (Luke 2:36-38).

         Did you know that there are Simeons and Annas in this congregation? Oh, they may not spend night and day here at church, but they consider prayer to be something powerful - especially when it comes to praying for others. When they receive a request for prayer, they donít consider it a tidbit of gossip to be passed on. Rather, they take whatever information is given - sometimes not very much - and begin holding these hurting persons in their heart - placing them on their inner altar, lifting them up to God, looking for the redemption, the consolation, the healing of these persons.

         I doubt any of these would consider themselves worthy to be called an "Anna" or a "Simeon," but - then, again - I doubt the original Anna or Simeon wouldíve thought they were doing anything worthy of being included in a gospel story. No, itís just "salt of the earth" folks simply "keeping awake" to the coming of the Lord.

         We call this ministry of our church a "prayer chain." I consider it one of the most important things we do, especially when we do it in the right spirit - for the glory of God and our neighborís good. Just now, would those of you who are covenanting to be on this chain for the coming year please stand. The rest of you, would you reach out and touch (on a shoulder, arm or hand) one of these persons nearest you. If youíre not close to one, touch someone who is, or connect to a chain - so to speak - of those who are. Understand? Letís pray.

         God, we thank you for the good news of Jesus, our Messiah who has come into the world. He taught us your way. He showed us your way by living, and dying, and rising again. We thank you for your Holy Spirit, who empowers us to follow the Christ today. We pray for the continued ability to keep awake, not only to the future return of our Lord, but also to the ways in which you come into peopleís lives today.
         We ask your blessing on these persons in our midst who desire to minister with intercessory prayer for those in need, as they are called upon. Help keep them awake to this task, to the presence of your Holy Spirit in them, to the need for confidentiality, and to your redeeming, consoling, healing power. Help them to pass on by phone only what is shared, and not to gossip along the way. We know that you know the details. However you make us, like Simeon and Anna, to become part of your ongoing good news story.
         Send these servants forth in peace, that their eyes open wide may see your salvation, which you prepare in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation and for glory (adapts Luke 2:29-32). In your name we pray. AMEN

Pastoral Prayer


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


Witness Christmas Project

         This year, the Witness commission has planned a project in conjunction with the Family Crisis Center of Baltimore Co. (a ministry with which we are heavily involved), helping families currently in or recently released from the shelter. Beginning next Sunday, there will be a Christmas tree in the area behind the sanctuary. On it will be paper "ornaments" of various colors. On each is listed a gift to purchase and donate, many with the first name of the person. The colors determine the approximate cost of the suggested gift. You are invited to pick up as many of these as you wish, bringing the gift, with the ornament attached, back on or before Sunday, December 19th, and place it under the tree. Wrapping paper will be provided for each family in crisis, so that they can wrap and give the gifts to each other.

Returning our Tithes and Offerings

Please pray with me:

         Thank you, Lord, for the abundance of what you have first shared with us. Thank you for the ability to simply pass along the gift. In Jesusí name. AMEN

         Would the ushers come forward to lead us in returning our tithes and offerings?


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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