Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
December 13, 2009
Worship 10:00 am              Sunday School 11:10am

The Third Sunday of Advent 

      "As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them. (Luke 3:15-16a)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)
  Prelude                       "Let all mortal flesh keep silence"          trad. French melody

  Call to Worship                          Isaiah 12:2-6

*Hymn                         "Come, thou long-expected Jesus"                            178

*Opening Prayer

  Lighting the Third Advent Candle

  Song                                    "The Lord is coming"                            (see insert)

  Scripture                                 Philippians 4:4-7

  For Children                              "Go, tell it"

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings

  Offertory                                 "Christmas Bells"                                         Gade
                                        (Please sign the attendance pad and pass it on)

  Song                               "Go, tell it on the mountain"                       (see insert)

  Scripture                                Zephaniah 3:14-20

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

  Quietly turning              (vs. 3) "O little town of Bethlehem"                             191

  Pastoral Prayer

  Scripture                                     Luke 3:7-18

  Message                           "A moment of truth" (mp3)

*Hymn                            "Oh, how shall I receive thee"                                182


*Postlude                                        "Allegro"                                    Cesar Franck

*Rise in body or in spirit

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Opening Prayer

            With a sense of trust deeper and wider than can be explained, we come to you this morning - because you, O Lord, are trust-worthy. Your steadfast love and mercy draw us to you on this day of expectation. As a mother delivers a child when the time is right, so you deliver your people, bringing to birth new life. May this time of worship be filled with real joy as we draw from the "wells of salvation," and drink the refreshing water of your Word. May we be challenged to change our ways of thinking and living that we might better reflect your will and your way, and be prodded by you to speak truth in a world that needs some good news. This we pray in the name of the One whom you sent as our Messiah. Amen.

Lighting the Third Advent Candle

(The family of four - a mother and her 3 elementary-age children new to our fellowship - advent candlelighters come forward during the first hymn and stand, two on either side of the worship center. One should bring the cordless microphone from the back, provided by the ushers. On the way, another picks up the mic from the stand up front and brings it forward, so that each pair has a microphone. After the Opening Prayer, these candle lighters are voices 1 - 4 below. Wait to begin until the congregation is seated. Read the scripture reference also.)

1 - "The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin."  Psalm 146:9

2 - "O my strength, I will watch for you; for you, O God, are my fortress."  Psalm 59:9

4 - We re-light the first candle, and remember that as God watches over us, we are to keep our eyes open for his advent.

(child 1 lights the first candle)

3 - "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows."  Psalm 23:5

1 - "A voice cries out: 'In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.'"  Isaiah 40:3

4 - We re-light the second candle, and remember that it is God who prepares the way as we get ready for his advent.

(child 2 lights the second  candle)

2 - "The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork."  Psalm 19:1

3 - Moses sang, "I will proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God!"  Deuteronomy 32:3

1 - Jesus said, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.

2 - He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind,

3 - to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."  Luke 4:18-19

4 - On this third Sunday of Advent, we light the candle of "proclamation."

(child 3 lights the third  candle. All 4 candle lighters then quietly return to their seats as we sing the next song. Along the way, return one mic to the stand and the other to the ushers in the back.)


listen to an mp3 file of the above

For Children
"Go, tell it"

            Epiphany, the celebration of the coming of the wise men to visit the baby Jesus, is still over 3 weeks away. Even so, since it took time for those fellows to travel "from the east" (wherever that was, and Matthew's gospel doesn't go into more detail), to eventually arrive in Bethlehem, it seems appropriate to stretch out our telling of their story. I'd appreciate it if you children would join me. Not up front, but over in the side aisle. Can you make your way there? Come.

            During Advent this year, we are traveling with the wise men. On the first Sunday, 2 weeks ago, we remember how they saw something which made them leave home. What did they see? That's correct, a star in the night sky. Those of you who were here that day, do you remember what we watched for, something different in this sanctuary? It wasn't all the greens in the windows, or the advent wreath up front. It was a little light shining up in the ceiling. We had to really long before we saw it. We had to "watch" closely.

            Last week we thought about all the things those wise men may have needed to do in order to get ready for their trip, packing clothes, cleaning the camel , saying goodbye - stuff like that. One thing the Bible mentions is what they brought as gifts. They each had to decide what would be a good gift to give a King. What gifts were these? Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. I asked you what gifts you were planning on giving this Christmas, which may have been hard because usually we are coming up with a list of things we want to get for Christmas instead of what we want to give. One way to "prepare" for Christmas is by thinking about what we might give Jesus.

            Today, the word for worship is "proclaim," which simply means to "tell." When I was in elementary school we sometimes had something called "show and tell." The teacher would invite us to bring in something important to us and we would "show" it to our classmates, "and tell" them about it. Do you sometimes do that in your school?

            Well, on their way to find the "king" they were looking for, the one to whom that star pointed the way, they stopped in Jerusalem and visited another king, King Herod. They told their story to him. It was a good story, and they needed to tell it. Of course, Herod was not a very good man. When he heard about this other king, he got nervous. He thought this other king would take away his throne, and he started making secret plans to get rid of this other king.

            Should those wise men have told king Herod their story, if he was a bad man who wanted to do something bad to the baby Jesus? I don't know. Sometimes, you just need to tell your story. What the other person does with it, well - that's their story. The good news is, God wouldn't let Herod do something bad to Jesus. This story is now our story - the story of Jesus' birth. And we, like those wise men, can't be silent about it. It's important to go and tell our story.

            This Christmas, when you gather around the tree and open up all the presents, make sure that someone tells the story of Jesus being born - maybe that someone can be ... you!

Returning our Tithes and Offerings

            Let's rejoice in the Lord again by giving our tithes and offerings. The Lord is near. Though we may be tempted to worry, let us rather be filled with gratitude as we turn to the Lord in prayer. Please bow with me.

            Thank you God, for all that you have given us. When we are nervous about tomorrow's needs, help us to focus upon today's blessings. One day at a time you provide. One day at a time we live. May your peace, which surpasses all understand, guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. His story is our story. Help us to tell it, in words and deeds. Amen.


Pastoral Prayer


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



God has blessed you with
         love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
         generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
God has given you
            a heart to care,
               hands to share,
      and a voice to speak.
May your fruit bear witness to the truth within you.
                     Go with God!

(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)


©2009 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)


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