Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
April 13, 2008
Worship 10:00 am, Sunday School 11:10 am

The Fourth Sunday of Easter

      They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (Acts 2:42)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)
  Prelude                                 "O Lord Most Holy"                                    Abt

*Call to Worship and Lord's Prayer

*Hymn                                "Low in the grave he lay"                                  273

  Confession and Assurance                                                              (see insert)

  Scripture                                       Psalm 23

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

  Prayer in Song                   "Shepherd me, O God"                                    519

  Scripture                                  1 Peter 2:19-25

  Prayer for those who are persecuted

  Tercentennial Minute             "Mutual Aid Association is Founded"

  Scripture                                    Acts 2:42-47

  Message                         "All things in common" (mp3 podcast)

  Hymn                           "Heart with loving heart united"                             420

  “If you believe”                                                   (a litany, see back of bulletin)

  Dedication Prayer

  Offertory                               "Offertory in E Flat"                                Dubois
                                        (Please sign the attendance pad and pass it on)

*Response                     (vs. 1 & 4) "Lord, thou dost love"                            387


*Postlude                                 "As Saints of Old"                                 Sateren

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship

1 - This is already the fourth Sunday of Easter, can you believe it?

2 - Things are happening sooner this year than previously.

1 - This is the fourth Sunday of Easter, do you still believe it?

2 - Or has that resurrection glow faded from your heart and mind?

1 - Jesus Christ is not stuck in a tomb and forgotten.

2 - He is alive, and we are here together again to keep remembering that fact.

1 - He is alive, and has drawn us to this place and time.

2 - He is alive, and His Spirit moves this body…

1 - This body of believers…

2 - This community of faith.

1 - Stand if you are able, people of God,

2 - and let’s pray for the power of the Lord to come down.

1 – Join with us as we pray those words Jesus’ taught, saying:

            Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen!

Confession and Assurance

Let us place our flawed, vulnerable and erring lives before God, seeking that mercy which is more ready to give than we are to receive.

Let us pray.

Whenever we are lured by the voices of the many false shepherds of our age, who are out to exploit, misguide, and fleece us:
            Lord have mercy.
            Lord have mercy.

Whenever we act like 'control freaks,' wanting to dominate those around us with our ideas and wishes, as if we were the chief shepherd:
            Christ have mercy.
            Christ have mercy.

Whenever we become spiritually self-important, vainly imagining that we no longer need the help of other members of the flock of Christ:
            Lord have mercy.
            Lord have mercy.

Great Pastor, the only true bishop of our lives, please continue to surround us by day and night with your unsleeping grace. Forgive us our rebellion, rescue us from our wandering, dig us out of the mire, and set our feet on the secure but narrow path that leads to abundant life.
            Through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Fellow believers, God may be trusted to forgive our sins and deliver us from all evil. Christ Jesus is the guarantor and the Spirit the internal witness. Live as those who are absolved and re-commissioned. For such you truly are!
            Thanks be to God!

by Bruce Prewer, Uniting Church in Australia

Prayer for those who are persecuted

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." We mouth the words but struggle to make them real, O Lord, for ours is too often a pain-free Christianity. We comprehend the dark valleys of illness and dysfunctional relationships, the shadow of death that hangs over every life on this globe. But what do we truly know of persecution, especially suffering experienced for doing good, enduring wrong for the sake of what’s right?

Out of our ignorance we turn to you, who stepped into the path of human sin and bore it for the sake of us all. Through your eyes, looking out from the cross with a vision tempered by justice and forgiveness, we seek to truly see the world around us. Just over there is someone trying to take back their city block from poverty and violence, a teacher standing up to gang behavior in a classroom, someone falsely accused facing a judge, a cop walking the beat and getting to know people instead of just driving by. Lord, you know, it can be dangerous out there. With all the wrong in the world, may we hear your words of kingdom coming, "It is finished!"

Around the bend is someone trying to follow Jesus in a land where that is just not acceptable, trying to simply share the good news without it carrying the baggage of folks having to become just like us. What does it mean to be a Chinese Christian, or an Afghani Christian, or a Zimbabwean Christian, especially one who sees past the fog with which every government and culture, even our own, tries to hide the truth? We seek to see them as you do, Lord. They are our brothers and sisters. We turn our gaze north across the demilitarized zone of a divided Korea, where religious faith is brutally repressed, or into the wilderness of southern Sudan, where hunger and rape are weapons of war. Here are those for whom Jesus lived and died and rose again.

We see strong believers all over this globe, O God, those who have faced or will face persecution and will not let it stop them, whose faith is tempered on the anvil of suffering and sharpened. We pray for all these people, not because we are somehow better than them, or closer to you, but because they are connected to us – and us to them - through your cross and empty tomb. They are the sheep of your pasture alongside us. You lead us all through the valley of the shadow to your table, where the oil of gladness overflows, and goodness and mercy abound. Bless them, O Lord … and us, we pray, in the name of our good shepherd, Jesus. Amen.

Tercentennial Minute
"Mutual Aid Association is Founded"

            Mutual Aid has always been at the heart of Brethren faith and practice.  If your barn burned down, a flood destroyed your home, or your crops were wiped out by a storm, your fellow Brethren took care of you.  As Peter Nead, in his book Primitive Christianity put it, "It is very evident, that if the members of the church are in love and fellowship towards one another, they will not suffer their poor brethren and sisters, if it lies in their power, to want for any of the necessaries of life."

As long as most Brethren lived in the east it was still possible for mutual aid to be provided on a personal basis.  But Brethren were on the move, advancing with the frontier.  In Kansas and other western states this was becoming harder and harder.  There simply weren't enough Brethren in the western states.  Starting in 1847 Brethren began to discuss the possibility of first property insurance, and then life insurance.  

For some Brethren insurance was a form of gambling that indicated a lack of faith.  God and God's people would always take care of the believers. 

Insurance was only one of many issues that disturbed the 19th Century church.  Brethren remained united as a church on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line during the Civil War, although it was impossible for most of them to get together.  Ironically once they got back together they began to fall apart. In the early 1880’s there was a three way split with the Old Orders breaking away and the Progressives forming their own church once they were thrown out.

Though Brethren were reeling from the three-way split they were finally able to settle the important question of insurance, giving the go-ahead to a group from Kansas.  On April 1, 1885, in Osawkie, located in Jefferson County, a group of Brethren, led by Civil War hero P.R. Wrightsman (who we heard about last week),  founded the Brethren Mutual Aid Society of Northeast Kansas.  The organization has been known by many names, but it still exists today as the Mutual Aid Association, and still insures many Brethren churches and homes.

            And that's the Tercentennial Moment for April 13, 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)

Offertory Litany
“If you believe”

[Readers may respond from various locations in the sanctuary.]

All: To those who believe, sell your possessions and distribute the proceeds to all, as any have need.

Reader 1: To all, as any have need?
Reader 2: What does that really mean?
Reader 3: Who does that include?

Reader 1: The immigrant family waiting to receive legal working documents?

All: To all, as any have need.

Reader 2: The soldier suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and has inadequate resources to care for her family?

All: To all, as any have need.

Reader 3: The man with AIDS who can't keep a job because of health problems?

All: To all, as any have need.

Reader 4: The single mom trying to figure out how to pay for food and health insurance for her children?

All: To all, as any have need.

Reader 5: The child at home alone after school because both parents are working but still can't afford childcare?

All: To all, as any have need.

Readers 1-5: We get it! We believe! Distribute the proceeds to all, as any have need.

All: To all, as any have need.

-Barbara Sayler, coordinator of communications On Earth Peace
EI Sobrante, California
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"


         Jesus, Good Shepherd, we thank you for the ways in which you have enfolded us in your love and called us by name to follow you. May these gifts and our lives offered in your name, be used to enfold others in your love. Amen

by Moira B Laidlaw


Go now, listening for the voice of Christ,
and follow the example he left us.
Devote yourself to the apostles’ teaching,
to fellowship,
to the breaking of bread
and to the prayers of God’s people.

And may God lead you to places of rest and renewal;
May Christ Jesus give you life in abundance;
And may the Holy Spirit fill your hearts with gladness and generosity.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net, adapted

(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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