Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
April 29, 2007
Worship 10:00 am, Sunday School 11:10 am

Fourth Sunday of Easter

      "If everything Jesus did were written down, there wouldnít be enough space to store it."
                              (John 21:25 - Better Life/Bikers Bible)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)
  Prelude                                "Prelude in F Major"                                      Bach

  Call to Worship

*Hymn                              "They crucified my Savior"                                   266
                                   (vs. 3) "Now thank we all our God"                               86

*Opening Prayer

  Scripture                                Revelation 7:9-17

  Affirmation of faith                                                                                       711

  For Children

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

  Hymn                        "I know not why Godís wondrous"                             338

  Pastoral Prayer

  Returning our Tithes & Offerings          Ecclesiastes 12:11 - 14      (The Message)

  Offertory                  "Voluntary from ĎIncline Thine Earí"                       Himmel
                                       (Please sign the attendance pad and pass it on)

  Scripture                                     John 21:25

  Message              "We have grasped only a fragment"

*Hymn                          "Jesus, the very thought of thee"                               588

*Sung Benediction             "You shall go out with joy"                                   427

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship

         How easy it is to allow the echoes of "Christ the Lord is risen today" to fade into the background of our lives. Easter Sunday was only three weeks ago, and yet it may feel like an eternity away. As we begin worship today, letís remember the crucifixion and resurrection story, using an old African American spiritual. Number 266 in your hymnal is more than just a retelling of what happened long ago, however. In the refrain (on the second page of the hymn), we add our hope that our Savior, who "arose from the dead ... will bear (our) spirit home." We are part of the Easter story, which is central to every day of our lives. No matter what struggles we may face, we also will arise as Christ Jesus brings us home.

         If you can add your "Amen" to this, if you hear truth in it and long for this good news to sound out in your life, then please stand and add your voice - regardless of how good a singer you are - to this choir we call a congregation. You might want to also turn to #86 and be ready, after we finish this hymn, to immediately launch into verse 3 of "Now thank we all our God." Come, sisters and brothers, letís worship the Lord.


Opening Prayer

(Worship Leader comes up with her own prayer)


         "He arose from the dead," we just sang out, "and the Lord will bear my spirit home." The sixth and seventh chapters of the book of Revelation have been called by one commentator, "the last word on evil" (Eugene Peterson, Reversed Thunder, pp. 72-86). In these verses, through the imaginative opening of seals and arrival of four horsemen, believers are given space to look head on at evil in its various forms - "social strife, ecological disaster, sickness unto death, religious persecution, natural catastrophe." "Itís all out in the open," as Eugene Peterson writes (p. 81). "Christians do not shut their eyes to the worldís cruelty in themselves or others."

         These chapters help train the praying imagination to be honest yet hopeful about the world and about ourselves. The alternative is to grow cynical and despairing when the wonderful songs of Easter meet the ugly refrains we hear around us, especially in the repetitive drone of the daily news. In the face of it all, "who can stand?" Thatís the question with which the sixth chapter of Revelation ends. Indeed, things fall apart. Itís far from a perfect world. Who can stand in the face of it all?

         Thatís where the seventh chapter picks up. Evil, you see, is not the last word. For oppressed African-American slaves singing about their Savior, crucified and nailed to the cross, the risen Christ was the last word, and in the end he will bear us home. He will stand. Angels will stand, as well. And, wonder of wonders, so will those who have kept the faith, even if by a thin, thin thread, through it all. In the face of evil, not only do believers stand, they also sing, and the song is the last word. By the way, those of you in the International lesson class will be coming back to this scripture during Sunday School, so listen up! Everyone who has ears, in fact, listen.

Revelation 7:9-17

Affirming our faith

Leader: Jesus taught us to speak of hope as the coming of God's kingdom.

  ALL: We believe that God is at work in our world
                  turning hopeless and evil situations into good.
            We believe that goodness and justice
                  will triumph in the end
                  and that tyranny and oppression cannot last forever.
            One day all tears will be wiped away;
                  the lamb will lie down with the lion,
                  and justice will roll down like a mighty stream.

Leader: True peace and true reconciliation are not only desired,
                  they are assured and guaranteed in Christ.

  ALL: This is our faith.
            This is our hope.

Hymnal, #711, South African creed, 20th c.,
Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace,
Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

For Children

         Our resident storyteller, Ed Lewis, spends some time with the children, allowing the adults to overhear.

Pastoral Prayer


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


Returning our Tithes and Offerings

         From the last book of the Bible, Revelation, we turn now to the last four verses of the book of Ecclesiastes, a bit of wisdom to chew on as we return our offerings. Iím reading from The Message, a scripture paraphrase. Listen.

         "The words of the wise prod us to live well. Theyíre like nails hammered home, holding life together. They are given by God, the one Shepherd. But regarding anything beyond this, dear friend, go easy. Thereís no end to the publishing of books, and constant study wears you out so youíre no good for anything else. The last and final word is this: Fear God. Do what he tells you. And thatís it. Eventually God will bring everything that we do out into the open and judge it according to its hidden intent, whether itís good or evil."

         Please pray with me.

(Worship Leader comes up with her own prayer)

(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)


©2007 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)


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