Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
September 21, 2008
Worship 10:00 am, Sunday School 11:10 am

      "Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?"  (Matthew 3:15)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)

  Call to Worship                        Psalm 145:1-8

*Hymn                             "Sing to the Lord of harvest"                                 98

*Opening and Lord's Prayer

  Scripture                                  Jonah 3:10-4:11

  Children’s Story             "Jonah and the worm"

  Litany                                                                                   (back of bulletin)

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

  Prayer Hymn                       "Have thine own way"                                   504

  Pastoral Prayer

  Tercentennial Minute

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings

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

  Scripture                                Matthew 20:1-16

  Message                     "As laborers in his vineyard"

*Hymn                        "I know not why God’s wondrous"                          338



#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Opening and Lord's Prayer

Your seasons change this week, God. The hours of light tomorrow will be the same as the hours of dark, and you are Lord of all. In our part of your world, the time has come in earnest for harvesting the grain from your fields and the fruit from your vineyards. Thank you for providing such goodness. We confess we have grown distant from the process of planting and reaping, forgetting that our daily bread does not originate in a supermarket aisle. Forgive us this “progress.” Remind us of the hands that feed us - the hands of those who work the soil and who then gather in the growth, … your hands.

Feed us with your Word this hour, O God, amid all the changes of life. We open ourselves to you, praying together those oh-so-familiar words:

Our Father, who art in heaven….


            Our second scripture this morning is the tail end of the story of Jonah, God's reluctant prophet. You might recall that Jonah son of Amittai was called by the Lord to cry out against the wickedness of the people in the city of Ninevah. Instead of heading in that direction, however, be boarded a ship traveling the other way. Perhaps you remember his encounter with a big fish along the way, who belly-flopped him back to where God wanted him to go. We pick up the story right after Jonah half-heartedly preached God’s message to the folks of Ninevah and, amazingly, they responded by changing their ways. Listen to what happened next:

Jonah 3:10-4:11

For Children
"Jonah and the worm"

[As the children come forward, whistle the tune to “We sail a ship with a man named Jonah.”]

         It was just one little worm. That’s all. But that itty-bitty worm mad Jonah very unhappy. A worm! Sometimes we allow little things to make us unhappy. Have you ever let something little make you sad or mad? Like when you want to play outside and it starts to rain. Have you ever been sad or mad because it’s raining? I know I have. Even now that I’m a big person, I can be sad on rainy days. When I think about it, it’s kind of silly. If there was no rain, the ground would become really hard and dry, the grass would become brittle and hurt my feet, plants wouldn’t grow. What would I eat if there was no rain? Little drops of water from the sky can be good things, when you think about it. So can a little worm. It could have been for a man in the Bible named Jonah.

         It’s a longer story than this, but I want to tell you about the day he allowed a worm to make him unhappy. It wasn’t like he was happy before that worm came along. No, he was miserable, and he was mad at God because God was being good to people Jonah didn’t think God should be good to. Jonah didn’t think God was being fair. They should have been put in a time-out chair – for a really long time, or made to eat everything on their plate (even the broccoli), or had something special taken away from them, or maybe even been spanked. That’s what Jonah thought. But God didn’t. And Jonah was mad.

         He was so mad at God (have you ever been mad at your parents?) that he put himself in a time-out chair. Imagine that! Putting yourself in a time-out chair to punish your parents. Isn’t that silly? It was a hot day and Jonah sat in his time-out chair, pouting. Because God loved Jonah, God made a bush grow to cover him with shade. And this made Jonah happy. That’s right, a bush made him happy. Now, there’s nothing wrong with bushes. I like them, too. However, I think that happiness isn’t caused by a bush. I think it is something that comes from inside of us.

         So here is Jonah, happy because a bush is giving him shade. And then along comes that little worm I mentioned earlier. God sent the worm. That’s right. God uses worms. He did with Jonah. The worm came and ate the bush. That worm must have been pretty full after eating that bush! All of a sudden Jonah didn’t have shade on a hot, hot, hot (did I say it was hot?) day. And this made him angry, so angry he told God he wanted to die! Can you believe that? All because of a little worm. Isn’t that silly?!  I think God was trying to teach Jonah a lesson. What do you think that lesson was? (get responses)

         I like how you’re thinking. Those are all good answers. You know, the Bible doesn’t say whether or not Jonah learned his lesson. The story just ends with God saying how much he cares about everyone, even the people and the animals in Ninevah.

And that is the story of Jonah and the worm.


Leader: Side by side,
People: it gets easier to recognize the still small voice of God.

Leader: Side by side,
People: it gets easier to admit our imperfections and mistakes.

Leader: Side by side,
People: it gets easier to forgive ourselves and be forgiven.

Leader: Side by side,
People: it gets easier to ask, "What are you teaching us, Lord?"

Leader: Side by side,
People: it gets easier to live a life that pours out gratitude to Jesus, our friend and our guide.

All: Side by side, we come.

by Gail Erisman Valeta
Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren Littleton, Colorado
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"

Pastoral Prayer


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


Tercentennial Minute
September 21, 1820 –Abraham Harley Cassel is born.  Cue the singing angels.

We Brethren don’t canonize people, but if we did then Abraham Harley Cassel would qualify as a saint. It’s hard to imagine what the writers of Brethren history would do without him.

Born September 21, 1820 near Kulpsville, PA, his formal education was limited to six weeks of schooling when he was eleven years old.  Cassel’s father, like many Brethren, believed that education, if not outright evil, was of no benefit to a good Dunker.  After all, the thinking went, you couldn’t embezzle money if you didn’t know higher mathematics.

But in the best tradition of self-education, Cassel was a voracious reader and once he was old enough, a collector.  As he wrote to a friend once, “My greatest delight from early infancy was in Books and matters of former times.  Consequently the pursuits of my whole life were bent in that channel.  I have therefore amassed an amount of matter that is almost incredible.  Among which may be found Letters, Genealogies, and other Manuscripts from many of the most ancient Brethren….I have traveled thousands of miles and ransacked many old Bee-Boxes and Flour Barrels in the garrets and Lofts of their dispersed descendants to collect them….”

The fame of his collection spread and attracted people from across the country and even around the world.  What the loss of these materials might have meant is incalculable. 

Cassel not only collected these books and materials, he also read them.  He wrote many historical articles for Brethren magazines, and was often asked to settle questions of history.  He himself, however, did not write a history of the Brethren because he thought of himself as uneducated.  Also, Brethren were not sure they needed a history.  At the 1895 Annual Meeting, for instance, Landon West urged the defeat of a motion to authorize a history because the church needed no book beyond the Bible.

Nevertheless, his collection became the focus of a race to write the first Brethren history.  At one time or another the peripatetic writer, editor, missionary enthusiast Daniel Long Miller, educator Solomon Z. Sharp, pastor and educator George N. Falkenstein, H.R. Holsinger, who was the innovator and separatist leader of The Brethren Church, church leader Jacob G. Francis, and Julius F. Sachse, a non-Brethren historian and haberdasher worked with or sought to work with Cassel’s materials. In the end educator, college president, politician, and future governor of Pennsylvania Martin Grove Brumbaugh, in the words of Donald F. Durnbaugh, “…appeared like a hurricane force in the later 1890s.  In its course he swept aside previous aspirants to the honor of completing the first substantial Brethren history.  This he accomplished in a relatively short period; the actual writing of his pioneer history took him just six months.”

The history, which appeared in 1899, was dedicated to Cassel with these words: “No man ever lived or will live, who will do for the Dunkard Church what Bro. Cassel has done.  Our history was engraved and preserved on the shelves of his library.  He kept safe our records as a denomination.”

Abraham Harley Cassel died on April 23, 1908. 
And that’s the Tercentennial Minute for Sunday, September 21.

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)

Returning our Tithes and Offerings
(quotes Phillippians 1:21, 27a and Matthew 20:16 & 10:38)

To live is Christ, and to die is gain.” So wrote the apostle Paul from prison to his fellow believers in Philippi. That’s not how we usually think about such things. Death, after all, is a loss. Yet here, Paul speaks of it as being in the profit margin of life’s ledger. Is this fuzzy math, or is more going on here than we realize? ... As you return your offering this morning, think about the upside-down nature of God’s kingdom, where “the last will be first and the first will be last,” where “those who find their life will lose it and those who lose their life for (Jesus’) sake will find it.

            Ponder also these other words Paul wrote to encourage his friends in Philippi: “Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…



May your lives be blessed with
            the abundant grace of God,
            the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ, and
            the limitless power of the Holy Spirit.

by Moira B Laidlaw
Uniting Church in Australia

(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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