Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
January 2, 2005
Worship 10:00 am, Sunday School 11:10 am

The Second Sunday after Christmas

      "And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)

  Responsive Call to Worship                                            (see back of bulletin)

*Hymn                            "To us a child of hope is born"                             189

*Opening Prayer

  Scripture                                   Luke 2:22-40

  Dedicating a child and his family
                                         (Pre-schoolers then leave for playful worship)

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

  Hymn                                    "Away in a manger"                                     194

  Pastoral Prayer

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings


  Scripture                                Ephesians 1:3-14

  Message                     "Whatís a Ďpair of ducksí?"


*Hymn                                     "Go, my children"                                        433


#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Responsive Call to Worship
"Light in The Darkness"

One:  What was there in the beginning?

  All:  In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God.

One:  How did we have creation?

  All:  Without him not one thing came into being.

One:  What about the darkness?

  All:  The light shines in the darkness.

One:  How do we know about the light?

  All:  John was sent from God and testified to the light.

One:  What was the light?

  All:  He was the light. . . Jesus Christ was the light.

One:  What did the light do?

  All:  All who have received the light have the power to 
              become children of God.

One:  What about the laws of Moses?

  All:  Grace upon grace has come through Jesus Christ.

One:  Whom do we thank?

  All:  All praise and thanksgiving to God!

Mark W. Liller, pastor 28th Street Church of the Brethren
Altoona, Pennsylvania
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"

Opening Prayer

      Amazing God, you have confounded the wisdom of this world by coming to us in the form of a human baby, frail and vulnerable. Help us to comprehend the great love with which you open yourself to our world, that we in turn may risk to open ourselves in love toward all your children, and that we may find the source of our lives in Jesus Christ. Amen.

by Ruth C. Duck, alt.
from Bread for the Journey, 1981, Pilgrim Press. pp. 24-5.
refers to 1 Corinthians 1:18-30

Scripture Reading - Luke 2:22-40

Pastor - In the middle of the twelve days of Christmas, we listen further to the Christmas story as we have received it in the Bible. It is appropriate on this day to read of Joseph and Mary bringing their newborn baby, Jesus, to dedicate him in the Temple in Jerusalem, for a young couple among us are doing the same today. In the Contemporary English Version of the Bible, we hear these words:

Worship Leader - The time came for Mary and Joseph to do what the Law of Moses says a mother is supposed to do after her baby is born. They took Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem and presented him to the LORD, just as the Law of the LORD says, "Each first-born baby boy belongs to the LORD." The Law of the LORD also says that parents have to offer a sacrifice, giving at least a pair of doves or two young pigeons. So that is what Mary and Joseph did.

Pastor - At this time a man named Simeon was living in Jerusalem. Simeon was a good man. He loved God and was waiting for God to save the people of Israel. Godís Spirit came to him and told him that he would not die until he had seen Christ the LORD.

Worship Leader - When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple to do what the Law of Moses says should be done for a new baby, the Spirit told Simeon to go into the temple. Simeon took the baby Jesus in his arms and praised God,

Grandfather - "LORD, I am your servant,
                                 and now I can die in peace,
                             because you have kept your promise to me.
                         With my own eyes I have seen
                                 what you have done to save your people,
                                       and foreign nations will also see this.
                         Your mighty power is a light for all nations,
                               and it will bring honor to your people Israel."

Pastor - Jesusí parents were surprised at what Simeon had said. Then he blessed them and told Mary,

Grandfather - "This child of yours will cause many people in Israel to fall and others to stand. The child will be like a warning sign. Many people will reject him, and you, Mary, will suffer as though you had been stabbed by a dagger. But all this will show what people are really thinking."

Grandmother - The prophet Anna was also there in the temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. In her youth she had been married for seven years, but her husband died. And now she was eighty-four years old. Night and day she served God in the temple by praying and often going without eating. At that time Anna came in and praised God. She spoke about the child Jesus to everyone who hoped for Jerusalem to be set free.

Worship Leader - After Joseph and Mary had done everything that the Law of the LORD commands, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. The child Jesus grew. He became strong and wise, and God blessed him.

Dedicating a child and his family

         On this ninth day of Christmas, we celebrate new life born among us, and dedicate ourselves to the task of raising a child in the faith that - blessed by God (as are all children) - he may become strong and wise in the Lord. Would the family of Gabriel Alejandro Leon come forward.

         Daniel and Cindy, through nine months you waited with great expectation, watching as Gabriel grew with - month by month. Amid pain and joy you welcomed this precious one into your life together. Oh, the sights and sounds (and smells!) of baby have made the last four months since his arrival a time full of peculiar treasures.

         With you, we celebrate this gift from God, for thatís what he is - a gift. With you, we give thanks for a baby born with fragile, yet fully human features reflecting our image and Godís. We give thanks for family, some of whom have traveled many miles just to be here this season. We give thanks for the potential and opportunity this birth heralds, as well as for the challenge and commitment it calls forth. We give thanks for the joy of this moment and the promise of Godís continuing presence among us.

         Now, in our tradition, we do not baptize infants. We believe they are under the grace of God until such a point as they are able, of their own free will, to respond to Godís faithfulness to them with their own commitment. Baptism is a powerful step of faith reserved for a time when a person knows enough to walk by faith. Remember, Jesus himself was baptized as an adult. Still, his parents, as we just heard, brought him to the Temple with thanksgiving not long after his birth. This service wonít involve turtledoves or pigeons, just a thankful mother and father, some promises to the Lord, and a child to be consecrated. Letís begin.

         Daniel and Lucinda, Will you, to the best of your ability and with Godís help, provide a loving family environment in which Gabriel can grow to become the person God wants him to be, a man of faith and faithfulness to his Creator?

If so, say "we will."

         A faith community is a vital part of helping a child grow strong and wise in the Lord. Itís a blessing to know others are ready to assist - teachers, mentors, or just plain friends. Will you support and love Gabriel by providing the opportunity for him to grow up in the family of faith, with the hope that, as he becomes a man, he will follow Jesus, confessing Christ as his Lord and Savior?

If so, say "we will."

         Will you encourage Gabriel to grow in faith, so that he might later be received into the fellowship of the body of Christ by baptism, fully partaking in the work and worship of His church?

If so, say "we will."

         Would the rest of you turn to #791 in your hymnal. As we read this together, we are standing with this young couple, and with their parents and family who are here to also pledge their support. With these words, we speak for ourselves, as well as for the larger church of Jesus Christ, which is wider than our fellowship. Please stand ... and make our vow.

         You have offered your child
                  to the strong and tender providence of God.
         We rejoice with you and give thanks
                  for the gift of your child.
         We promise, with humility and seriousness,
                  to share in your childís nurture & well-being.
         We will support, by our example and words,
                  your efforts to provide a loving & caring home,
                  where trust in God grows and Christís way is chosen.
         Our prayers will be with you and for you.
         May our shared life and witness
                  help make your task both joyful and fruitful.

         Please be seated. Now, if Gabriel is agreeable, let me introduce him to the congregation.

(holding him so that he faces outward,
gently walk down the aisle and back
so that all might see. Upon return,
holding him face to face,
consecrate him thus:)

         Gabriel Alejandro Leon, you are dedicated to the Lord. May all the resources of home, family, and church nurture you and encourage toward your own decision for Jesus Christ.

         Lord, thank you for Gabriel. He is your child. Bless him all the days of his life. Give to his parents, his family, and his church what we need to raise him in the faith. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.


Pastoral Prayer


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


Returning our Tithes and Offerings

         Under the Christmas tree, I found a gift that said, "do not open until Christmas." Inside was a piece of paper that said, "peace on earth, good will to all." I think Christmas comes everyday. What will we give this day?

by Ron Martin-Adkins
Washington City (DC) Church of the Brethren
from Coming to Life: Worship Aids for the Living Peace Church
Advent 2004, On Earth Peace (Church of the Brethren)


         On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and shared it with his disciples. When the apostle Paul wrote these words to the believers in Corinth (a Greek town), he used the word "eucharistesas," which we translate as "having given thanks." Thatís why we sometimes call this sharing or communion of bread and cup the "eucharist." It all has to do with "giving thanks."
         On this first Sunday of a brand new year, we pause and come to the Lordís table. Along the way, we give thanks. Now, like our table graces at home, this may just be a formality before we dig in and eat and drink. Even this formality is fading in many homes, however, as scattered and harried lives pull us away from whatís truly important.
         Remember back to that fateful evening when Jesus gathered in the upper room with his closest followers. What did he have to be thankful for at that moment? Soon, as he knew, events would quickly flow from a garden of tears to a courtroom of jeers. You know the rest. Why give thanks when the road ahead was that terrifying? And yet, even then Jesus gave thanks. Makes you wonder. Better put, it fills you with wonder.
         Itís another "paradox" of our faith that being thankful isnít dependent upon everything being just right. We can give thanks even in the middle of the night, for instance, with a colicky baby in our arms. We can give thanks even when more than bread is broken in life, when things seem to fall apart. Why? Because the One in whom "all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17) is with us. We are not in this alone. With bread and cup in hand, we remember who we are in Christ Jesus - blessed, forgiven, chosen, adopted, redeemed. God in Christ has lavished his grace upon us. We have caught a glimpse of the mystery of Godís will. We have a purpose in life, even though at times we lose sight of it. The Holy Spirit blows through this upper room, as well as through every room of our lives. How can we not be thankful?
                    (Deacons comes forward as these next familiar words are spoken)
         Therefore, all who are in love and fellowship in the family of God, who do truly and earnestly repent of our sins, who humbly put our trust in Christ, and who desire his help that we might walk in newness of life, are invited to draw near to God and receive - with thanksgiving - this holy communion to our comfort, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Pray with me.
         Lord God, our hearts are still full of what we have just celebrated, the birth of the baby Jesus, as well as the birth of baby Gabriel whom we have dedicated this morning. We know that there is much more to the year than Christmas, that there is more to life than infancy, that there is more to the greatest story ever told than its beginning. Soon our worshiping remembrance will take us to the cross and beyond.
         Just now we pause with you in this upper room. In flesh and blood you came in Christ Jesus, fully God and fully man. With bread and cup we remember the way of our salvation in Him, through pain and joy, through crucifixion and resurrection, through death and life - in the midst of it all giving thanks.
         With grateful hearts we share these simple items - just a piece of unleavened bread and just a taste of the fruit of the vine. We ask your blessing upon them, and upon us as we eat and drink them. We remember, and as we remember, we know you are with us still. Thank you. Amen.

(Distribute the bread as the organ softly plays)

         Jesus said, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." Take and eat.

(Distribute the cup as the organ softly plays)

         Jesus said, "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of me." Take and drink.

(giving thanks in the moment, not written out)





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


©2005 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)


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