Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
December 24, 2006
Worship 10:00 am, Sunday School 11:10 am

Fourth Sunday of Advent

      And Mary sang, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior..."   (Luke 1:46-47)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)
  Prelude                               "Humbly I adore thee"        Plainsong, 13th century

  Lighting the Fourth Advent Candle

*Unison Prayer

*Hymn                         "My soul proclaims with wonder"                           181

  Scripture                                     Isaiah 9:2-7

  Bell Ringers                          "Away in a manger"

  A Service of Blessing and Dedication

  Scripture                                    Micah 5:2-5

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

  Hymn                             "O little town of Bethlehem"                                191
                         (Our younger children leave for bell practice & Sunday School)

  Pastoral Prayer

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings

  Offertory                           "Two Christmas Carols"              arr. Harry Vibbard
                                       (Please sign the attendance pad and pass it on)

*Response                          (vs. 1) "Oh, how joyfully"                                 209


  Scripture                                   Luke 1:39-55

  Message                                  "Womb song"

*Hymn                                 "O come, all ye faithful"                                 212

*Responsive sending out

*Postlude                        "To us a child of hope is born"                        Mason

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Lighting the Fourth Advent Candle

         What will it take to turn the world right side up again? Ever since the days of Cain and Abel there have been winners and losers, rich and poor, haves and have-nots. Still today a small minority controls the majority of the worldís vast resources. So many are in want. Will it ever be different?

         A young Palestinian woman envisions a new world. She sings of the change already begun. It is Mary, the young mother-to-be of Jesus. She chants about the life growing within her and how this Blessed One will begin the change. The melody of her heart proclaims the Savior God who has "scattered the proud, dethroned the powerful, raised the lowly, filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty."

         Advent is a season to reawaken this vision of a new world put right. With Christís coming, we can move beyond our fears and envision the human family as God desires. But the change begins deep within us.

         As we light the four Advent candles, let them be a sign to us of the new world coming.

(light the four advent candles)

Ed Poling, pastor and spiritual director
Hagerstown, MD Church of the Brethren
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"

Unison Prayer

         Open our eyes, Lord God, to the barriers that keep the human family divided. Help us to hear the cries of human suffering and to feel the pain that you know so deeply. Help us to be the church that lifts up the lowly. Amen.

Ed Poling, pastor and spiritual director
Hagerstown, MD Church of the Brethren
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"

A Service of Blessing and Dedication

         Christmas is a very appropriate time to dedicate a child to the Lord, to "wrap her," so to speak, "in the swaddling clothes" of Godís love. This morning is especially fitting because it was on this fourth Sunday of Advent three years ago that _______ and _______ _______ were baptized. Just last summer, on August 5th, their fourth child, _______, was born. Today, we want to consecrate her and her parents. We also want to dedicate _______ís older sisters. We didnít know them back when they were born, but now we do.

         This day is appropriate for another reason. I just happened to pull out a previous dedication file and thereby remembered the day 15 years ago when our worship leader and her husband - who had themselves recently joined this church, brought their newborn son along with his two older brothers to be dedicated (their daughter, whom we baptized last week, wasnít on the scene yet). Donít worry _______, _______, and _______, weíve dedicated older siblings before, just ask _______ and _______. Now, would the Lewis family now come forward.

         As members of the Church of the Brethren, we believe that baptism is for adults, for those who have come to recognize their own sin and need for a savior. Baptism is given to those who repent and come to a confession of faith.

         But our children who are born and/or welcomed into our congregation belong to Jesus also, and they belong in a special way. Just as those lambs we remember in the Christmas story were part of the flock of those Shepherds who visited the manger, so our children are a part of this flock, this congregation. They share in its mission, its traditions, and its experiences.

         In order to show the world that children are not cast adrift in life, but that they belong to a people, the people of God, we share in a service of consecration of children and parents.

         This morning we are blessed in multiple ways. Each blessing has a name - _______, _______, _______, and _______. With these blessings in mind, we commit ourselves - our promises grounded in Godís promises to us. In a few moments, _______ and _______ will pledge to provide the kind of home in which their children will have opportunity to recognize and confess Christ as Lord. It is right that they should promise this since they are the part of the congregation closest to these girls, and they will be providing most of their religious education by word and example.

         Then, after the older three help me show off _______ to the congregation, I will take each one of these precious children in my arms (in some fashion, that is) and dedicate each to God, on behalf of the church. Finally, as a congregation we shall stand as a symbol that we welcome these little (and not so little) ones as part of our fellowship, that we will accept them, teach them, support and guide them. We will stand as an act of accepting a part of the responsibility for their spiritual welfare, and as a pledge that we will do our part as members of their family of God.

Parentís Vows

         _______ and _______, God has been good to you in giving you the gift of these precious children. Do you now present them before God in solemn consecration?

Response: We do

         Will you, with Godís help, provide a Christian home for them and bring them up in the worship and the teaching of the church so that they may come to know Christ as their Savior?

Response: We will.

         Will you continue in your marriage to love each other, as well as to love _______, _______, _______, and _______, so that they will come to experience the meaning of trust and grace?

Response: We will.

         Will you encourage them later to be received into the full fellowship of the church through baptism, so that, established by faith in the Holy Spirit, they may partake of the Lordís Supper and go forth into the world to serve God faithfully?

Response: We will.

         Now, having presented your children in dedication, will you also present yourselves in re-consecration to Christ and his church, and will you so order your lives that you will not cause these little ones to stumble but, relying on the grace of God, commend Christ to them by your example?

Response: With Godís help, we will.


(with _______ in my arms, aided by her sisters, weíll "show her" - and them - off to the congregation, walking down and back the center aisle. Afterward, each will be dedicated with the following words:)

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

Congregational Promise

         Will you accept _______, _______, _______, and _______ into your fellowship and share the responsibility for their spiritual nurture? Will you support them and love them? Will you be faithful to your calling as members of the Body of Christ so that they and all other children in our midst may grow up in the knowledge and love of Christ? If so, will you stand?


         Lord God, who gives life in Jesus Christ, bless these children, as Jesus blessed the children in his earthly ministry. Grant your grace to these parents that they by word and example remind these children of their consecration to you. And grant that this church may, with insight and energy, rise to assume its task in behalf of all parents and children. Through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.


Pastoral Prayer


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


Returning our Tithes and Offerings

         On this day before Christmas, letís turn our eyes - for just a moment - beyond the birth of a baby, and gaze not upon a manger but upon the cross. The two (a simple stable and an old, rugged cross) are not all that far apart in the bigger picture of Godís good news. To help us focus, letís Ďincline our earsí to the word portrait painted by the author of the book of Hebrews, in that Australian paraphrase weíve used before. Listen.

"Christ came into the world saying,
........"God, you donít want more sacrifices and offerings.
................I know you get no pleasure from all that stuff,
........................even when itís done sincerely and by the book.
........But you have prepared a body for me, God,
................and I come now to do what you really want,
........................for it is what I do that is really Ďby the bookí.

         Do you see what heís saying there? Heís saying that God gets neither satisfaction nor pleasure from all the different kinds of offerings that the law prescribed for sin and for various other things. And heís going further than that because heís saying that heís here to do what God really wants. This is a total change over. He is abolishing the previous system and putting a new one in place. So now, according to what God really wanted, Jesus has dealt with sin once and for all, at the cost of his own body, and brought us all up to scratch for God."

Hebrews 10:5-10 (Laughing Bird Version)
©2000 Nathan Nettleton www.laughingbird.net

         We give, not to bring ourselves "up to scratch for God" (as that down-under paraphrase put it), to make things right with our Creator. Jesus has already done that, "once and for all." Our offerings, instead, lead us from the cross and out into the world, where children born every manger need God. You are invited into this Advent-ure. Ushers?


         Thank you, God, for the "total change over" you accomplished in Christ, how Jesus "dealt with sin once and for all" and "brought us all up to scratch for" you. Full of joy and hope, we bring our gifts as a response to the great gift of your love clothed in human flesh. May Jesus be born anew in our hearts. Lead us from the manger and the cross out into the world, and the adventure that still awaits. In Jesusí name, we pray. Amen

Responsive sending out

One - Never put faith in your worldly status,
                and never underestimate your heavenly importance.

All - My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.

One - Let your trust in the coming of Christ soar within you like wings of joy.
                Go out into the world and serve one another as God-bearers.

All - My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.

One - Grace, mercy and peace, from God our Creator, through Jesus our Savior,
                in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit our Nurturer,
                                be with you this day and evermore.

All - Amen!

by Bruce Prewer, Uniting Church in Australia

(para traducir a espaŮol, presione la bandera de EspaŮa)


Interested in Sunday School?
Below is a growing list of possible sites to visit. As you discover others, please let us know.

International Lesson:
Faith and Life Resources
Mennonite Publishing House

International Lesson:
Mennonite Weekly Review

(scroll down on left to "Sunday School lessons)

International Lesson:
Christian Standard
(one week ahead)

International Lesson:
Living Web Sunday School Project

While one of our adult classes follows the International lesson above, using
A Guide for Biblical Studies,
published quarterly by our denomination,
another class often uses one of the
Good Ground series,
also published by Brethren Press.

For children and youth, we use the new
Gather Round curriculum
(developed jointly by the Church of the Brethren and the Mennonite Church)


©2006 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)


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