Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
March 2, 2008
Worship 10:00 am, Sunday School 11:10 am

The Fourth Sunday of Lent

      He answered, "I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see."
                                      (John 9:25)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)

  Remember this as we begin    Ephesians 5: 8-14                 (Laughing Bird Version)

*Praise                                   "Shine, Jesus, Shine"                  (insert/overhead)
                                            (click "sound" in upper right to hear song)

*Opening Prayer

  A Dramatic Reading                    John 9:1-41
                           (interspersed with this refrain from "Amazing Grace" #143)

                                  "I once was lost, but now am found,
                                          was blind, but now I see."

  Message                                    "Hands Up"

  Hymn                           "Open my eyes, that I may see"                             517

  Sharing a joy, a concern, a word of testimony or praise
                                 (please be brief, and aware of God’s listening presence)

  Psalm 23 in unison                                                                                    814

  Cut Loose from Anxious Fears (a prayer)

  Tercentennial Minute     “A Muddy Mucky Baptism

  Responding with our Tithes and Offerings

  Offertory              (Please sign the attendance pad and pass it on)

*Hymn                                    "Be thou my vision"                                      545



#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Remember this as we begin

         As we begin worship this morning, remember these words from the apostle Paul to the church in Ephesus. May they color our time together. Listen:

"In the past, the darkness was your natural habitat, because you needed its cover to hide the way you lived. But now you are united to the Lord and are at home in the light. So live lives that reflect the light. Be shining examples of all that naturally grows in the light — goodness, honesty, and integrity. Do your best to discern what will be most pleasing to the Lord, and let that set your agendas. Have nothing to do with the things that people will only do under cover of darkness. Blow their cover instead, for such things produce nothing good. It does no one any credit to even talk about the corrupt activities that people go to such lengths to keep hidden. The truth about everything is seen when it is exposed to the light, and those things that can stand the light are worth seeing. That's why it is said,

"Wake up, sleepy head!
Rise from your grave,
and Christ will light up your life!"

Ephesians 5:8-14, Laughing Bird Version
©2002 Nathan Nettleton

Opening Prayer

         Loving God, you are majestic beyond all other light and beauty and power, yet you are more intimate than all other friendship and love. By the strength of Christ, please lift us high above common wants and expectations, into the light and power of your Presence. Lead us to wonder, and from wonder to love, and from love to that worship that only lovers can offer. In the name of Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen!

by Bruce Prewer, Uniting Church in Australia

John 9:1-41
(a dramatic reading)

N - Narrator                              
D - Disciple                               
J - Jesus                                   
T - Townspeople                       
B - man Born Blind                   
P - Pharisee                              
A - man's parents (Abba/Imma)

                      Scene 1

N - As Jesus walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him,

D - "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

N - Jesus answered,

J - "Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

N - When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man's eyes, saying to him,

J - "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam"

N - (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see.

Refrain – from "Amazing grace!" (2nd half of vs. 1)
"I once was lost, but now am found,
was blind, but now I see."

                      Scene 2

N - The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask,

T - "Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?"

N - Some were saying,

T - "It is he."

N - Others were saying,

T - "No, but it is someone like him."

N - He kept saying,

B - "I am the man."

N - But they kept asking him,

T - "Then how were your eyes opened?"

N - He answered,

B - "The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, 'Go to Siloam and wash.' Then I went and washed and received my sight."

N - They said to him,

T - "Where is he?"

N - He said,

B - "I do not know."

Refrain – from "Amazing grace!" (2nd half of vs. 1)
"I once was lost, but now am found,
was blind, but now I see."

                      Scene 3

N - They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them,

B - "He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see."

N - Some of the Pharisees said,

P - "This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath."

N - But others said,

P - "How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?"

N - And they were divided. So they said again to the blind man,

P - "What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened."

N - He said,

B - "He is a prophet."

N - The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them,

P - "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?"

N - His parents answered,

A - "We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself."

N - His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said,

A - "He is of age; ask him."

N - So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him,

P - "Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner."

N - He answered,

B - "I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see."

N - They said to him,

P - "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?"

N - He answered them,

B - "I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?"

N - Then they reviled him, saying,

P - "You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from."

N - The man answered,

B - "Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing."

N - They answered him,

P - "You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?"

N - And they drove him out.

Refrain – from "Amazing grace!" (2nd half of vs. 1)
"I once was lost, but now am found,
was blind, but now I see."

                      Scene 4

N - Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said,

J - "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"

N - He answered,

B - "And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him."

N - Jesus said to him,

J - "You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he."

N - He said,

B - "Lord, I believe."

N - And he worshiped him. (pause for a moment) Jesus said,

J - "I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind."

N - Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him,

P - "Surely we are not blind, are we?"

N - Jesus said to them,

J - "If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, 'We see,' your sin remains…"

Refrain – from "Amazing grace!" (2nd half of vs. 1)
“I once was lost, but now am found,
was blind, but now I see.”

from The New Revised Standard Version,
copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education
of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Psalm 23 in unison

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want;
      he makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters;
      he restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
      for his name's sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
            I fear no evil;
      for thou art with me;
      thy rod and thy staff,
            they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me
            in the presence of my enemies;
      thou anointest my head with oil,
            my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
            all the days of my life;
      and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Hymnal #814
from the Revised Standard Version.
Copyright 1946, 1952, 1959, 1973
by the Division of Christian Education of
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Cut Loose from Anxious Fears
(a prayer - based on Psalm 23)

      Prayer of Confession

Leap, Psalm, to the rescue of my heart
For I do fear evil.
Trouble creeps-
Or clangs and startles.

Psalm, sit and sigh awhile with me.
Exhale from me the fear that leaves space for evil to dwell in my chest.

My sigh is my prayer.
      In it I let loose, give over, release, make silent request
      for someone else to take over for a time,
            take over the night fears,
            take up the night watch.

God gathers up the sighs of the faithful,
      spreads them over the cooling ground,
      taking those exhalations,
      and stitching them like tiny pillows to make a night mattress.

Soft, full of care, full of heart-hurt, those sighs.
Pillows of silent grief, silent prayer.

Sit and sigh awhile. Exhale fears.

      Words of Assurance

The God who raises us from our stumbling efforts cuts us loose from ropes of anxious fears.

This is the God who frees us to step into the realm where fear is an outmoded way of life.

by Lani Wright, Cottage Grove, Oregon
Springfield Church of the Brethren
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"

Tercentennial Minute
"A Muddy Mucky Baptism"

            In March of 1813 Brethren in Philadelphia, who had been members of the Germantown congregation, organized themselves as a separate church.  If Germantown was recognized as the "Mother Church," the first in America, Philadelphia might have been known as the wayward child!  The congregation was a pioneer in many things. As historian Carl Bowman put it, "…the Dunker fast lane…ran straight through the center of Philadelphia."

While some nineteenth century Brethren leaders such as James Quinter and Henry Kurtz were content to proceed slowly when it came to innovation, the Philadelphia church was at the forefront in such things as the paid ministry, use of musical instruments in worship, Sunday Schools, women in the pulpit, property insurance, and changes in traditional garb.

It was hard, sometimes, for the elders of the larger church to make their charges stick. When some objected that Philadelphia paid their minister, for instance, the congregation explained that while "one of the ministers had been paid, he had not been contracted to preach for a specified amount, so it could not be said that he was paid a 'salary.'"

But it was the innovation of putting a indoor baptistery that truly drew the ire of traditionalists who insisted that baptism could only take place outdoors in a river. Pastor J.P. Hetrick, however, explained that the closest river was three miles away from the church, and that it was very muddy.  He then went on to describe a baptism involving three women.  "Some of you," he said, "do not know, perhaps, what sort of mud that is.  Well, if you will go into any of your barn yards around here, where the cows are kept overnight, and, after a heavy rain, scrape up a pailful of the manure you find there, you will get a tolerable idea of what sort of mud that was…"

Pastor Hetrick told how it took a while for the mud to settle after the baptismal party waded into the river.  Unfortunately the muck did not stay settled.

"The first one we baptized came up the first time all right, but when she was immersed the third time, in the name of the Holy Spirit, it was not in water but in mud.  And so all of the rest."  The muck was so thick that one of the women required the help of two men to get her out.  As far as Philadelphia was concerned, this settled the issue of indoor versus outdoor baptism.

And that's the Tercentennial Minute for Sunday, March 2, 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)

Responding with our Tithes and Offerings

Sometimes we get stuck in the mud of believing that things must happen in a particular way in order for them to be authentic. And then Jesus takes a bit of that muck, spits in it, applies it to our eyes and (pay attention because this is important) we begin to see as we have never seen before. Can you believe it? If so, take your hands out of your pockets and start living… Please pray with me.

         Gracious Lord, as followers who are blinded by your wondrous light, we seek to be amplified beacons of your astonishing light to others. Help us to reflect your love by listening to your call and to your will for our lives. In gratitude, we dedicate these gifts in the name of the one who lived, died, and rose for our sake, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Okay, ushers, get to work. We’ve got some giving to do.

Prayer Copyright 2008 David S. Bell.


Lift your hands off that safety bar, sisters and brothers, for the Lord has hold of you and will not let go. Live fully this week in the light of Christ, that God’s works might be revealed in you. And remember, you are never alone as you travel through dark valley or green pasture, the uphill climbs or the frightening descents. The Lord is with you. Hands up!

(refers to message)

(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

International Lesson:
Adult Bible Studies
from The United Methodist Publishing House
(click "supplemental resources" and "current events supplement" under both the "Student" and "Teacher" sections in the left hand column)

While one of our adult classes follows the International lesson above (see also), 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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