Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
March 13, 2005
Worship 10:00 am, Sunday School 11:10 am

The Fifth Sunday of Lent

      "...Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate the governor, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were all united against Jesus, your holy servant, whom you anointed. In fact, everything they did occurred according to your eternal will and plan."
             (from a prayer of thanksgiving, Acts 4:27-28, NLT)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)

  Responsive Call to Worship                                                                     684

*Hymn                           "Praise the Lord, sing hallelujah"                             50

*Opening Prayer

  Apostleís Creed                                                                                      712

  Celebrating and Renewing Baptismal Vows

  Alleluia Choir                 "Let there be peace on earth"

  Sharing a joy, a concern, a word of testimony or praise
                                         (Pre-schoolers then leave for playful worship)

  Pastoral Prayer

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings




  Scripture                               Matthew 27:11-26

  Hymn                       "When I survey the wondrous cross"                        260

  Message           "Pilate - Godís instrument of justice?"

*Hymn                            "In the cross of Christ I glory"                             566


#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship

Praise God from the heavens
         praise God in the heights;
praise God all you angels;
         praise God all you heavenly hosts.
Praise God, sun, and moon;
         praise God, all you shining stars.
Praise God, you highest heavens
         and you waters above the heavens

Let all praise the name of God,
         Who commanded and they were created.

God established them forever and ever
         and gave a decree which shall not pass away.
Praise God, all the earth,
         you sea monsters and all depths,
         fire and hail, snow and frost,
         stormy winds that fulfill God's word.
Praise God, you mountains and all hills,
         fruit trees and all cedars,
         wild beasts and all tame animals,
         creeping things and flying birds.
Let the rulers of the earth and all peoples
         and all the judges of the earth -
         men and women alike,
         old and young together -
let them praise the name of God
         whose name alone is exalted;
         whose majesty is above the earth and heaven.
         and who has raised the fortunes of the people.

May this God be praised by all the faithful ones.
         by the children of Israel, the people close to God.
Alleluia! Praise God!

Hymnal #684 - Psalm 148.
Adapted from Psalms Anew,
edited/paraphrased by Nancy Schreck and Maureen Leach,
©1984 Saint Mary's Press, 702 Torrance Heights, Winona, MN 55927.
Also adapted from New Revised Standard Version

Opening Prayer

         O God, who is greater than every ruler on this earth, whose power makes every earthly weapon seem weak and useless, whose wisdom is more vast than all human intelligence, whose peace passes all understanding...
                  Bless us with your Spirit's presence this hour, as you have promised;
                  Guide our worship, that we may know more of you;
                  Help us to release our sin and receive your mercy,
                           that we may grow in your grace and truth.
         This we pray in the name of the Prince of Peace, 
                                    your Son - our Savior, Lord, and Friend: Jesus. Amen 

(from 2/2/03)

Apostleís Creed

         "I believe in God..." Thatís very easy to say, but not so easy to really mean. Turn in your hymnal to #712, and letís read together the apostleís creed. These words grew from the soil of the early church, in answer to the question, "what do you believe?" While we, as Brethren, can affirm this statement, we do not make it (or any other creed) our rule of faith and practice. For that, we look to the whole New Testament. Even so, in this moment of worship, letís allow these old, old words to open our hearts and minds to a faith which is bigger than us, a faith which goes back to the apostles.

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
         creator of heaven and earth
I believe in Jesus, God's only Son, our Lord,
         who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
                  born of the Virgin Mary.
                  suffered under Pontius Pilate.
                  was crucified, died, and buried;
         he descended to the dead.
         On the third day, he rose again;
         he ascended into heaven,
         he is seated at the right hand of the Father
                  and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
         the holy catholic* church.
         the communion of saints,
         the forgiveness of sins,
         the resurrection of the body,
         and the life everlasting.

* universal

Hymnal #713, English translation of The Apostle's Creed,
prepared by the English Language Liturgical Consultation ELLC, © 1988.

Celebrating and Renewing Baptismal Vows

         Today we conclude our year-long monthly celebration of the day when many of you said "yes" to God and joined this congregation. Along the way we have discovered a few mistakes in our records, and have received some very gracious corrections to them. Thank you. Let me ask - was it helpful for you to be reminded of when you said "I do" and "I will" to Jesus and the people of God? Did you find this opportunity to renew your vows an aid for your walk with Christ? Now, not everyone could be here on the chosen Sunday of their particular month. Regardless, I hope you have heard in these celebrations our affirmation of you.

         We just affirmed, together, an old-old creed of the church, which goes back to the first few centuries after Jesus walked with the original disciples. We, as a people, are not big on official creeds, knowing what has sometimes been done with these statements of faith down through the centuries. We know that a person can mouth the words but not reflect what they mean in how they live. We try to be a people of the open book, looking to the width and breadth of the New Testament for our rule of faith and practice. In so doing, we sometimes fall flat on our faces, living far short of our calling in Christ. For that we need the forgiving power of Godís grace. On the other hand, by Godís gracious hand, we also - wonder of wonders - do live up to our calling. Thatís something worth celebrating.

         As I am speaking, would you who joined this church during the month of March down through the years (you received a letter, so you know who you are); would you join me up front. "I believe in God ... in Jesus ... in the Holy Spirit." We just made this affirmation. Tell me, however, does believing in God simply mean that in your head you have made it a fact that God exists. Is that all faith is? I trust not. If I were to say the same about my children, that I believed in them, would I simply be affirming that they existed? By the way, we need to say that more to these persons who are important to us - not that they simply exist, but that we believe in our children, in our spouses, in our brothers and sisters in Christ. I know I donít do that enough.

         To say, "I believe in you," means that I believe you can do wonders with your life - for a child - that you can graduate up to big boy/girl pants, that you can ride a 2-wheeler bike, that you can pass a test, or shine in playing a sport, or become whatever you put your heart, mind, and strength toward. You have it in you. This is called encouragement.

         Now, does God need our encouragement? Probably not, for the Lord is the very source of our strength. Still, Jesus doesnít merely want people who can only affirm his existence. He wants the word "believe" to be a verb, that we dare to follow him in the adventure of faith. To say that "I believe in Jesus" means that today I am ready to roll with you, Lord, come what may. And you know what the Lord says to us, "I believe in you, that as you follow me - loving with all your heart, soul, and strength - together, we can move mountains."

         Thatís sort of what weíve been trying to do with these monthly celebrations, to say to one another, that - in Jesus: "we believe in you, too!" As I look through this cast of characters gathered with me just now, knowing some of the roads you have traveled recently, I see a wonder. Amen? Thatís been true every month.

         Okay, before you go and get all humble on me, letís get down to it. Let me ask again these key questions, whether you first answered them here in 1959, 1963, 1986, 1988, or 1992. Ready?

         Do you still believe that Jesus is Godís Son. 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 freely live according to the example and teachings of Jesus? If so, say, "I will."

         Will you continue to be loyal to the church, upholding these people through your prayers and your presence, your substance and your service? If so, say, "I will."

         Praise God! In the letter each of you received was a pledge form, an opportunity to respond with some vows specific to you, involving your time and talents. If you have felt moved to pledge in this way, I invite you to place it in the offering a bit later. For now, let me just say that you are a blessing to us from God. We believe in you!

Pastoral Prayer


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


Returning our Tithes and Offerings

As you return your offering to God just now,
                  ponder these words from 1 Chronicles 29:11 -

         "Yours, O LORD, are the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and on the earth is yours; yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all."

Will the ushers come forward to receive now what we have to give?


Lord, our gifts are not casually presented. There is sacrifice in each of them. We have prospered, and our gifts are prayers that your will may prosper in the hearts of all who worship here today. For the salvation of the world, we give and pray. Amen.

By Hilbert J. Berger, from Now, Concerning the Offering,
Discipleship Resources, ©1987, pg. 19.


         "Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will bring about at the right time--he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords."

(1 Timothy 6:12-15, NRSV)


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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