Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
February 17, 2008
Worship 10:00 am, Sunday School 11:10 am

The Second Sunday of Lent

      "Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night…"
                                                 (John 3:1-2a)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)
  Prelude                                "Jesu, Word of God"                                Mozart

  Call to Worship                            Psalm 121

*Psalm in Song                "I to the hills will lift mine eyes"                             169

*Opening Prayer

  Praise!                                        "Te alabare"                  (see insert & screen)

  Tercentennial Minute

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


  Pastoral Prayer

  For Children                    "Alabahun ati Ehoro"

  Responsive Scripture Reading      John 3:1-17                                          842

  Message                                  "Night Rider"

  Hymn                           "Jesus, keep me near the cross"                             617

  Responding with our Tithes and Offerings

  Offertory                                       "Dundee"                                 arr. Warner

*Hymn                                     "God sent his Son"                                     345


*Postlude                               "Forth in Thy Name"                                Dykes

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Opening Prayer

The  Psalmist wrote  about  God's help  being  persistent and everlasting. Living and loving God, we are blessed with the truth of these words  in a way that the Psalmist could only dream about.  In your great love for the world,  your desire to help us became visible when you sent your Son, to be our Savior and Lord.    That you - creator of heaven and earth  - should so care for us is almost beyond our imagination.  How can we come with anything other than praise and adoration for this priceless gift of lives lived eternally with you, O God? A gift made possible through the sacrificial love of Jesus, your Son, our Lord and our Saviour.  This we pray in his name.  Amen

by Moira B Laidlaw, Liturgies Online

Tercentennial Minute
The Most Famous Bit of Brethren Writing Ever

            The Most Famous Bit of Brethren Writing Ever was printed in the February 26, 1921 issue of The Gospel Messenger and earned its author seventy-five cents. 

            The Most Famous Bit of Brethren Writing Ever was also a case of making lemonade when life hands you lemons.  The author was an accomplished musician who was robbed of her ability to play by crippling arthritis that confined her to a wheelchair.  She turned to writing poetry by grasping a pencil in each gnarled hand and striking the keys of her typewriter with the erasers.  And that's how Myra Brooks Welch (1878-1959) of LaVerne, California, came to write "The Touch of the Master's Hand," a poem we will hear later on this morning.

This story of the battered violin whose value goes from three bucks to three thousand after a master draws a wonderful tune from the instrument was soon reprinted the world over, often without the author's name.  It's been set to music, made into a film, and reprinted thousands of times.

Why was it so popular?  That's hard to say.  Maybe many people have lives that are out of tune, feel they have been sold short by the world, or think that their souls are slipping away, going, going, gone.  Maybe the author herself said it best,: "I think God took it as he did the little lad's loaves and fishes and blessed it to his own praise and glory."

            Whether it's the voluminous poems and writings of Alexander Mack, Jr., the wonderful history books and source books printed by Brethren Press, the theological writings of giants like Peter Nead, or the journalism of Henry Kurtz and James Quinter - none of these have had even a fraction of the impact of this simple poem.

            And that's our Tercentennial Minute for February 17, 2008.

by Frank Ramirez, pastor of the Everett, PA Church of the Brethren
posted by permission                        
The Everett church graciously makes available these weekly vignettes from Brethren history
to all who are interested during this 300th anniversary year of our denomination.
Frank will be the guest preacher for our Homecoming on October 26, 2008
(this is our congregation's 100th anniversary year)

"The Touch of the Master’s Hand"

'Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while

To waste much time on the old violin,

But held it up with a smile.
"What am I bidden, good folks," he cried,
"Who'll start the bidding for me?"
"A dollar, a dollar" then, "two! Only two?
Two dollars, and who'll make it three?
Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
Going for three-" But no,
From the room, far back, a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As a caroling angel sings. 

The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said: "What am I bid for the old violin?"
And he held it up with the bow.
"A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two?"
Two thousand! And who'll make it three?
Three thousand, once; three thousand, twice,
And going, and gone," said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
"We do not quite understand
What changed its worth."  Swift came the reply:
"The touch of a master's hand." 

And many a many with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd,
Much like the old violin.
A "mess of pottage," a glass of wine;
A game - and he travels on.
He is "going" once, and "going" twice,
He's "going" and almost "gone."
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that's wrought
By the touch of the Master's hand.

by Myra Brooks Welch

Pastoral Prayer


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


For Children
"Alabahun ati Ehoro"

         I'd like to share with you a story that a friend of mine long ago shared with me. I wrote it down on a piece of paper so I wouldn't forget (pull out the page and unfold it). Would you like to hear the story? Are you sure? Okay, let me read it to you. (Begin reading the below, periodically asking them how they are enjoying the story so far - encouraging their blank stares and puzzled statements with comments like, "Well, maybe if I read it louder/slower - etc. - you'll understand it better. The point is, they won't have a clue what you're talking about - which is often, by the way, how children in relation to "adult" talk.)

Ni ijo kan Alabahun ati Ehoro se ileri nipa ere sisa.

Ni ijo yi gbogbo awon iranko wa pe jo lati ri pe won sare. Nigbati ogidan pase fun won, won bere ere na. Nigbati Ehoro ti fi Alabahun si le o wa bere si mu omi, sugbon Alabahun nsi sare. O way a Ehoro si joko osi tun je onje, sugbon Alabahun nsi sare. Nigbati Ehoro je onje tan, o tun wa si mi. Sugbon Alabahun nsi sare.

            Nigbati Ehoro ranti pe Alabahun ti koja, o wa bere si sare sugbon koto de ibe. Alabahun ti pari ere na. Ehoro wa wa lehin. Nitori na ko ye ki a ma se ileri.

         How did you like the story? What? You didn't understand a word I said. I thought I read it right, but you still didn't understand? Hmm. That's interesting. I learned that story from a friend over 35 years ago when we both were in college. He was from the country of Nigeria. Anyone ever hear of Nigeria? (the father of one of our children is originally from there) It's in Africa. If I remember correctly, my friend was from a part of Nigeria that is called Yoruba, and I think what I just read is in the Yoruba language. Kinger, your family is originally from the Ibo region of Nigeria, which is to the east of Yoruba land.

         Well, my friend shared this story with me in both Yoruba and English, and I just so happen to have the English translation in my pocket (pull out the page and unfold it). Would you like to hear it? Okay, here goes:

            Once, long ago, the hare claimed to be the fastest of all animals. His head was very big. Tortoise saw this and challenged him to a race. The hare thought this was funny.

            The day of the race, all of the animals came to see. The lion commanded them to start. Hare went off very fast, leaving tortoise behind in his dust. Seeing how far ahead he was, Hare began to think of how easy it was, and stopped to enjoy a drink. Tortoise kept going. Seeing how enjoyable the drink was, Hare decided to eat also. Tortoise kept going. After eating, Hare was tired, and rested. Tortoise kept going.

            Hare awoke with a start and realized that he was in a race. He hurried to the finish line. Unfortunately, Tortoise kept going, and was across the finish line when Hare arrived.

            Tortoise was praised throughout the land. Moral: Do not boast of things you have not accomplished.

         Have any of you heard that story before? Makes more sense when you hear it in a language you know, doesn't it - though I must confess that it was fun reading it to you in words you didn't understand. Speaking of words, what's a tortoise? That's right, a turtle. And a hare? Yup, a rabbit. A hare is much faster than a tortoise. Everyone knows that. Yet the turtle beat the rabbit in this race just by keeping going. We call that "patience," just keeping going. You were very patient with me when I was reading you this story in a way you couldn't understand. Thank you. I hope it was worth being patient, that you liked the story once I told it so you could understand it. Would you pray with me?

         Dear God, thank you for turtles and rabbits, for legs that can run, and also for patience - keeping going even when we don't know everything. Bless these children. Hold them in your arms when they need you this week, Jesus, and nudge them to run when it's time to race. Thank you. Amen.


Responsive Scripture Reading
John 3:1-17

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came
to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who
has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the
presence of God."
     Jesus answered him, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom
     of God without being born from above."

Nicodemus said to him, "How can anyone be born after having grown old?
Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?"
     Jesus answered, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of
     God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is
     flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I
     said to you, "You must be born from above." The wind blows where it
     chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it
     comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the

Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?"
     Jesus answered him, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not
     understand these things?

"Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have
seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly
things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about
heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who
descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the
serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever
believes in him may have eternal life.
     "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who
     believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not
     send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world
     might be saved through him."

Hymnal #842
New Revised Standard Version

Returning our Tithes and Offerings

         "God so loved the world" that God gave us Jesus ... the heart of God was moved by love to give us the greatest gift ever given. In response to that love, we bring our gifts this day as a sign of our gratitude for all that God has given us, and all that God is doing in this world that God continues to love so much.

by the Rev. Kathryn Matthews Huey, Minister for Covenantal Stewardship,
Stewardship and Church Finances Ministry Team, LCM.

copyright ©2008 Local Church Ministries, Worship and Education Ministry Team,
United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115-1100.
Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material
for use in services of worship or church education.
All publishing rights reserved.


         As you leave this place, remember Abraham and Sarah in the Bible. God called them to leave behind the familiar and to venture forth into territory through which they had never before traveled. The promise this elderly couple received from the Lord involved childbirth. However, this didn't happen immediately. Yes, it took time to be realized, but God was faithful to the promise. Therefore, let's listen again to how the Lord sent Abraham and Sarah on their way. Perhaps in the words we each will hear God speaking to us in our leaving. Listen and be led:

         "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

(Genesis 12:1-3, the New Revised Standard Version)


(para traducir a español, presione la bandera de España)


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)


©2008 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)


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