Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
March 6, 2005
Worship 10:00 am, Sunday School 11:10 am

The Fourth Sunday of Lent

      The Lord said to Ananias, "Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen..." (Acts 9:15a)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)

Rejoice and leap for joy

  Call to Worship

  Songs of Praise                           (a medley)
                                             "The Joy of the Lord"
                                           "My life is in you, Lord"
                                "Joyful, joyful, we adore thee" (vs.1 & 4)                         71

*Opening Prayer (e-2)

  Scripture                               Nehemiah 8:9-10

  For Children                           "Joy strong"
                                         (Pre-schoolers then leave for playful worship)

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

  Hymn                       "When I survey the wondrous cross"                         259

  Pastoral Prayer

by the grace of God I am what I am

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings


  Scripture                                    Acts 9:1-22

  Message         "Ananias and Godís instrument of grace"

*Hymn                                      "Obey my voice"                                        163

*A Prayer of Invitation                                                            (back of bulletin)

*Hymn                                     "Here I am, Lord"                                       395


#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship

1 - The apostle Paul once wrote, "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice." (Philippians 4:4)

2 - Jesus said, "there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance." (Luke 15:7)

1 - He also said, "Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets." (Luke 6:22-23)

2 - And this also: "If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Fatherís commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete." (John 15:10-11)

1 - The joy of the Lord is our strength!

2 - Donít just sit there with your hands in your pockets.

1 - Stand, if you are able, and let this joy overflow.

For Children
"Joy strong"

        Tell the story of  Nehemiah 8:1-10, first setting the stage - the fact that the people have returned home and are rebuilding Jerusalem; then highlighting some of the interesting parts: 

- People gathered in a large square (there was no temple yet)
- everyone came (men and women, and "all who could hear with understanding" - did that include children? ask what they think)
- Ezra read the law of Moses (not exactly Harry Potter)
- Ezra read all morning - "from early morning until midday" (a long time!)
- People listened  (could you pay attention that long?)
- Others helped - the Levites, who helped people understand what they were hearing
- People wept when they heard these words from God - why do you think they cried? (sorrow? happiness?)
- Ezra told them to celebrate, to have a party, to share the party with those who don't have much, and he said not to be sad.
- Then he said, "the joy of the Lord is your strength." What does that mean? Play around with this to get at how they understand this. How does joy make us strong? Remember the children in our sister church in the Dominican Republic, and how joyful they were. 

Don't impose the meaning, let it come from the kids.

children's handouts: Ezra reads the law, Saul is converted  

Pastoral Prayer


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


Returning our Tithes and Offerings

Read 1 Corinthians 15:3-10

Pray with me,

         God of joy and grace, what we have to share, the things we do for you, the unique person each one of us is becoming - this all is evidence of your graceful presence. Bless what we have to offer this day, such that each one of us, like the apostle Paul, can affirm that "by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:10a). Amen.

Acts 9:1-22
a dramatic reading of the NRSV

characters in order of appearance (or not)
         N - narrator
         J- voice of Jesus (offstage)
         P - Paul/Saul
         A - Ananias
         C - one person representing the crowd (offstage)

(P & A can act out whatís happening, but do so minimally)

N - Meanwhile Saul, (Paul comes and stands in front of lecturn) still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,

J - "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"

N - He asked,

P - "Who are you, Lord?"

N - The reply came,

J - "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do."

N - The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank. (Pause, Ananias comes and stands in front of pulpit. When in place, continue.)
Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision,

J - "Ananias."

N - He answered,

A - "Here I am, Lord."

N - The Lord said to him,

J - "Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight."

N - But Ananias answered,

A - "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name."

N - But the Lord said to him,

J - "Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name."

N - (Pause, Ananias goes over ans stands with Paul) So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said,

A - "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."

N - And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is the Son of God."
All who heard him were amazed and said,

C - "Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem among those who invoked this name? And has he not come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?"

N - Saul became increasingly more powerful and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Messiah.

A Prayer of Invitation

One: Precious Lord, in your wisdom you call us to serve. But sometimes we are not sure.

All: Do you really want me?

One: Sometimes, like the prophet Samuel, we have seen the risks in serving you and are afraid to go.

All: How can l go?

One: Sometimes, like the disciple named Ananias, we know the reputation of those you seek and are not willing to go.

All: How can I go?

One: Sometimes, like Jonah, we are blinded by our preconceptions and prejudices and simply refuse to go.

All: How can I go?

One: Precious Lord, forgive us when we do not understand that you have future leaders in unlikely places. Forgive us when we are stingy with grace. Give us a spirit willing to hear your call and to go where you are already working.

All: Here I am, Lord, send me!

Scripture references 1 Samuel 16 2, Acts 9 10-16; Jonah 1 3

by Tim Harvey, pastor
Central Church of the Brethren, Roanoke, Virginia
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"




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


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