Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
July 27, 2008
Worship 10:00 am

And God, who searches the heart, knows…
(Romans 8:27)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)

  Call to Worship                   Psalm 105:1-11, 45b

*Hymn                           "Praise the Lord, sing hallelujah"                              50

*Opening Prayer

  Scripture                               Matthew 13:31-33

  Work Camp Commissioning

  Scripture                               Matthew 13:44-52

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings

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

  Scripture                                 Romans 8:26-27

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

  Hymn                             "Lord, listen to your children"                              353

  Pastoral Prayer

  Tercentennial Minute       The Original Eight – The Cast of Characters

  Scripture                                 Romans 8:28-39

  Message                              "Only God knows"

  Hymn                              "Seed, scattered and sown"                               454

  Bread and Cup Communion

*Hymn                                     "Go, my children"                                       433



#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Opening Prayer

Most wonderful God, we approach you with our little lives,
our tiny minds and our large ignorance,
but also with our purest longings and hopes.
We want to worship you with all that we have and are,
but unless you encourage and assist us,
we will fail in this our holiest intention.
Therefore please let your Spirit move in our hearts and minds,
lifting us above things of secondary importance,
and concentrating our whole being on your love and beauty.
Through Christ Jesus who is the source of our confidence
and the joy of our hearts desiring.

from Resources: Based on the Revised Common Lectionary.
Prayers, Collects and Litanies by Bruce Prewer, Uniting Church in Australia.

Work Camp Commissioning

Leader:            God, you compassionately hold the entire world in your hands, each of us included. We praise you for these youth who are setting out on a journey and we thank you for their hands. May they be used to extend your love and grace to those they meet along the way.

Participants:      My hands are loving hands: willing and ready to love others as I have been loved.
Congregation: Lord, strengthen these hands.

Leader:            We are thankful for the many ways you have blessed our hands over the years. We think back to what our hands have done, and the things they have made. Our hands were made, not just for us, but for others, too.
Participants: My hands are knowing hands: willing and ready to pass on the grace of God by showing Your love through the works of our hands.

Congregation:   Lord, strengthen these hands.

Leader:            We are thankful for these opportunities that come our way to broaden our horizons; opportunities that give us the chance to give back what we have been so graciously given.

Participants:     My hands are gracious hands: willing and ready to give something back when I have received so much.

Congregation:   Lord, strengthen these hands.

Leader:            Think of all the hands that have left their imprint on you. Fingerprints and handprints are heartprints that can never be erased. The hand has its own memory. Think of all the places that carry your handprints and all the people who bear your heartprint. They are unforgettable and will last forever.

Participants:     My hands are Your hands God, willing and ready to go forward and place our own unique handprint on our world.

Congregation:   Lord, lift up the hands of those before us as they continue on their journey. Help them as they strive to give themselves completely in venturing forth this summer. Open their hands and hearts as they humbly receive love and compassion from those they will meet this summer. Lord, strengthen these hands.

Adapted from a prayer written by Trey Hall (Prayers from the Chandler Community)
and a meditation contributed Janette Bell.

Returning our Tithes and Offerings

1 - The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed . . .

2 - A mustard seed! Why so small, why not a bulb or something bigger?
      Come on, you can do better than that!

1 - The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast . . .

2 - Yeast! Bacteria! Now we're supposed to be germs!

1 - The Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field . . .

2 - Now we have to go treasure hunting!
     Aren't we too old for this kind of playing Indiana Jones?

1 - The Kingdom of Heaven is indescribable and difficult to understand.

2 - Lord, help us through parables to see what can not be seen,
      to experience what has yet to come,
      to dream what is not yet, but can become.
      Lord, help us understand the Kingdom of Heaven. Amen

1- Ushers?

adapted from 21st Century Worship Resource, “The Kingdom of Heaven is Like…”
(A Responsive Reading Based on Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
for the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year A -- July 27, 2008),
 by The Rev. Nathan Decker

Pastoral Prayer

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


Tercentennial Minute
The Original Eight – The Cast of Characters

            Next Sunday, with Brethren from around the world, we will celebrate the first baptism in Schwarzenau, Germany of those who began this movement of the Spirit 300 years ago. Today we ponder: Who were the original eight Brethren?

            Andreas Boni (1673-1741) was a journeyman weaver and a native of Switzerland.  After his first wife died in 1704 he got into trouble with Swiss authorities for his religious views.  He refused military service, would not swear oaths, and refused communion at the Reformed Church.  On at least one occasion he was punished by being placed in the pillory, and was expelled afterwards.  By 1706 he had arrived in Schwarzenau, where he joined the others who would found the Brethren movement.  He and his second wife, Johanna, took part in the first Brethren baptism.

            Johanna Noethiger Boni married Andreas Boni following the death of her first husband, before the two of them were baptized in the Eder River in Schwarzenau, in 1708.

            Georg Grebe of Kassel was a master gunsmith.  He and his wife Juliana moved to Schwarzenau, and he was a co-author of a letter written with Alexander Mack asking Hochmann von Hochenau for his advice on the subject of baptism.

Johanna and Johannes Kipping of Oberstenfeld in Württemburg were Lutherans, unlike the rest of the first Brethren who came from the Reformed Church.  In 1706 Johannes Kipping was expelled from his city for refusing to allow his infant child to be baptized.  The couple lost their children, at least temporarily.  Johanna was forced to remain separated from her husband for a while in order to retain custody.  By 1708 they had made their way to Schwarzenau to join the other religious dissenters.

Alexander Mack, Sr. (1679 – 1735) would become the first minister of the Brethren following their baptism.  He was the son of a miller, and when his older brother died he would forgo higher education at Heidelberg University to take over the family business.  His father and his grandfather had served as the Mayor of Schriesheim, and he would probably have done so as well.  Mack, however, and his wife Anna Margaretha became involved with the Pietist movement, forcing them to flee their hometown.  Mack often went on illegal preaching trips with Hochmann von Hochenau.  He eventually sold his part of the mill, and eventually spent all his money supporting the first Brethren believers.

            Anna Margaretha Kling Mack (1680 – 1720).  Anna Margaretha was the daughter of the innkeeper in Schriesheim.  She married Alexander Mack on January 18, 1701 and gave birth later that same year to her first son, Johann Valentin.  Her second son, Johannes Mack, was born two years later.  At great risk to herself she welcomed bible study groups and evangelistic leaders such as Hochmann von Hochenau into her home.  She and her young family were forced to flee her home town in 1706 to escape arrest and religious persecution, which resulted in her setting up housekeeping in Schwarzenau. 

            Lukas Vetter, who was born in 1676, came from Hesse, Germany, but it is not clear how he first came in contact with the Brethren.  His wife was not one of those who took part in the first baptism.

And that's the Tercentennial Minute for today, July 27, 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)

Bread and Cup Communion

(the following lies at the end of the sermon)

            A mustard seed – that’s a metaphor Jesus used when talking about the kingdom of heaven. Without knowing what it was, who would guess something so small could grow so big? The folks who first heard him talk about God’s bigger picture didn’t consider “value” as something that needs to be “super-sized,” like we do today. If the proportions aren’t as large as our SUV’s, nowadays, we tend to think we’re being cheated. What then do we make of a mustard seed?

            And what about yeast? That’s what makes leavened bread grow. But who would know it just from looking at what empowers that growth to happen? Of course, mentioning yeast before a communion service may seem strange. After all, our practice is to use unleavened bread in remembrance of the Passover meal Jesus shared with his disciples in the upper room before he was arrested and eventually crucified. That bread was made without yeast in order to remember God’s commandments to the children of Israel, as they left slavery in Egypt hundreds of years before.

The bread we are about to break is unleavened. There is no yeast in it. Perhaps, as we eat it we can ponder what really allows for growth. Where is the yeast in our lives? … It’s definitely not a supersized meal that we eat and drink in communion. That’s sort of the whole point. Something small grows into something great. Of course, what do we know about that at the time? We don’t see things as they really are, nor as they will be.

The first disciples in that upper room sure didn’t. They heard strange words from Jesus about his impending death and didn’t know what to make of it all. Then, as those words were lived out in front of them, they had no idea what was going on, even though Jesus had left them clue after clue. When he rose from the dead, it came as a shock. Talk about a mustard seed growing into “the greatest of shrubs!” Elsewhere, Jesus spoke about how a seed dies on the way to new life.

When we “proclaim his death until he comes” through this simple meal, we are pointing to the mustard seed that is God’s kingdom. We struggle to comprehend, to see the bigger picture. But God knows. Yes, God knows. “Solo Dios sabes.” … You are invited to the Lord’s table. Come. The portions are not supersized. Just small … sort of like a … well, a mustard seed. … Deacons, we have some serving to do as the congregation sings.

Hymn     "Seed, scattered and sown"     454
(bread is distributed during hymn)

Prayer (spontaneous), then we eat together

Organ interlude as the cups are passed, then we drink together

*Hymn             "Go, my children"            433


Go now secure in the love of God
from which nothing can separate you.
Delight in seeking the Lord -
look always for the power and the presence of God,
and let love, like yeast in dough, permeate all you do.

And may God work for good in all things for you;
May Christ Jesus conform you in the image of his love;
And may the Holy Spirit help you in your weakness,
interceding for you, and in you, according to the will of God.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

(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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