Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
December 19, 2004
Worship 10:00 am, Sunday School 11:10 am
Fourth Sunday in Advent

      "...set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures..." (Romans 1:1-2)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)

  Call to Worship

  Hymn                       (vs. 1) "Of the Father's love begotten"                        104

  Lighting the Fourth Advent Candle

*Hymn                          "Angels from the realms of glory"                 (see insert)

*Opening Prayer

  Scripture                                        Isaiah 9:2

  Alleluia Choir                        "Will you be ready"                              Patterson

  Scripture                                   Isaiah 7:13-14

  For Children                       "A Moravian Star"
                                         (Pre-schoolers then leave for playful worship)

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

  Hymn                       (vs. 1) "As with gladness men of old"                          218

  Pastoral Prayer

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings

  Offertory                           "The Birthday of a King"                        Niedlinger

  Scripture                                   Romans 1:1-7

  Message                           "Living the promise"

*Hymn                           "Of the Father's love begotten"                             104


*Chorus                    (vs. 3) "Angels we have heard on high"                        197

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship

         "ĎI am the Alpha and the Omegasays the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1:8)

         We begin with an old hymn which for some of us has become connected with this season of the year. The words go back sixteen hundred years to one of the first Christian poets, a man named Marcus Aurelius Clemens Prudentius. Born in northern Spain in 348, and trained as a lawyer, he rose through the ranks of the Roman empire. At the age of 57, weary of civic life, he retired to write poetry. His poems became some of the most treasured sources of hymnody through the Middle Ages. This hymn comes from a poem he wrote for the 9th hour of the day. The tune is not as old, going back "only" five to eight hundred years ago, a Gregorian chant.

         On this last Sunday of Advent, anticipating our celebration of the birth of Jesus, as well as his promised return, letís sing of the One who is our Alpha and Omega, "begotten ... of the Fatherís love."

adapted from "Hymnuts"

Lighting the Fourth Advent Candle
(the family who will light the candles divides up
the reading of the following in their own way)

         Today we will light the candle of love. No other word so completely describes what we know of our God.

         For God so loved the world that a child was given....God's love in human form.

         We wait in hope, (re-light the first candle of Advent)
                    and peace, (re-light the second candle of Advent)
    and with joy. (re-light the third candle of Advent, the pink one)

         Now we light the candle of love to proclaim that Godís love is revealed in the Child born in Bethlehem, and we are challenged to proclaim and reveal that same love as we live out our faith here in this land.     (light the fourth and last candle of Advent)

         We give thanks for a love that passes our human understanding, and we await once more the birth of Godís enduring love this Christmas. Amen

adapted from liturgies online

Opening Prayer

         O God with us in Jesus Christ, we bow in gratitude to you for coming to us in the fleshófor being born as a humble child, for growing up among us and experiencing all that is human, for learning obedience through suffering. Help us to know your presence, to recognize the Spirit of Christ in the ordinary events of our lives, and to become more and more a temple of your presence as we grow into the likeness of Jesus Christ. 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"

For Children
"A Moravian Star"

         On our way to visit Tessaís grandparents in Pennsylvania, we travel through the town of Lititz. At this time of year many of the houses there are decorated with all sorts of pretty lights, just like around here. One thing thatís different, however, is a star that hangs above the front doors. Itís quite an unusual star, really. There are 26 points to it, and it looks like this. What makes it especially interesting is that there is a lightbulb on the inside which makes this star glow at night. It looks really cool. Every time we drove to Tessaís grandparents house in December and passed through the town of Lititz, I always said something about those stars and how I liked them. I must have said it enough that a few years ago for Christmas my family gave me one. Now it hangs above our front door at this time of year (except when I take it down for a childrenís story - I put it back up this afternoon!).

         Why there are so many of these stars in the town of Lititz is because a group of Christians called Moravians settled there a long time ago. To this day Moravians still live there, along with Brethren, and Methodists, and Lutherans, and others. I read, and Iím not sure if this is true, that the Moravians were some of the first people in this country to decorate their homes for Christmas using Christmas trees, bringing this practice with them when they moved here from Europe. In the 1800's, back in Germany, Moravians came up with a new decoration. They started making and hanging these stars. It all began in a Moravian school, and then became a business in the village of Herrnhut. Originally made out of paper, with a tiny whale oil lamp - not a light bulb - on the inside, these were called "Herrnhut Stars." Later on they were made, like this one, out of plastic. Today we call them "Moravian Stars."

         What do you think about when you see this star? (Get answers from the children). When this light shines in the front of my house, I think about how I want there to be room in my home for Jesus, how I want his light to shine to help anyone who enters - including me and my family - to see, so that weíre not walking in darkness. I think about the wise men who, according to the story in the Bible, were already on their way to find the baby Jesus. Like them, I need to keep watching for directions from God on where to find Jesus. Heís not just in my house with the "Moravian star" over the front door, you know. Thereís a light shining in your house, too. It my not be a star like this hanging over your front door. But heís there. Heís all over the place.

         "I am the light of the world," Jesus said. "Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life" (John 8:12). "I am ... the bright morning star" (Revelation 22:16).

Some sources of info - The Moravian Star, Moravian Christmas Traditions,
Moravian Church FAQ
, Brubaker Family Stars.

Pastoral Prayer


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


Returning our Tithes and Offerings

         As you return your offering, allow your imagination to take root. This is a time full of promise. Think of Joseph in the Christmas story as we have received it. When he learned his promised wife was pregnant, the cold-hard fact that this baby was not his took over and he resolved to make the best of the situation with the least amount of hurt to anyone. Then he had a dream, and his imagination was stirred up by an angel (Matthew 1:18-25). This was an "Immanuel" moment which spoke of the coming birthday of a king, a promise in the form of a baby. Imagine. Imagine. Just imagine!... Will the ushers come forward now to receive what we have to share.


Go forth as a servant of Christ Jesus,
         sent as a messenger by him,
         set apart for the gospel, the promise of God.
Be a gift to others,
         gracefully living the promise
                  this Christmas week,
                           as well as the rest of the year.


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

"Jesus is all"
commentary on the
International Lesson

Living Web Sunday School Project


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


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