Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
December 5, 2010
Worship 10:00 am              Sunday School 11:10am

Second Sunday of Advent

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.
Bear fruit worthy of repentance.
(Matthew 3:2 and 8)

  Beginning with Praise (9:50 am)      "On Jordan's banks the Baptist's cry"      183
  Prelude                            "A Rose Tree Hath Risen"                            Brahms


  Call to Worship                                                                      (back of bulletin)

  Lighting the Second Advent Candle

*Hymn                           (vs. 1-3) "O come, all ye faithful"                              212

*Opening Prayer

  Scripture                                   Isaiah 11:1-10

  For Children                       "A Halo of Light"

  Scripture                                 Romans 15:4-13

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

  Hymn                           "Lo, how a rose e’er blooming"                              211

  Pastoral Prayer

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings

  Offertory                                 "Hail, Star of Heaven"                                  Grieg
                                        (Please sign the attendance pad and pass it on)

  Scripture                                  Matthew 3:1-12

  Message                        "Ready, aim, bear fruit" (mp3)

*Hymn                             "Bless'd be the God of Israel"                               174


*Postlude                                       "Postlude"                                           Rinck

*Rise in body or in spirit

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines


            Leading up to our celebration of Christmas, each week we light a candle in our advent wreath. Last Sunday, (candlelighter re-lights the first candle) that candle represented our need to awaken, and to remain awake to God’s empowering presence in our lives and alert to what is as yet unfinished in God’s work in this world. As we watch and wait, we prepare the way of the Lord into our lives. That’s what today’s candle in the Advent wreath represents – “preparation.”

            Our Call to Worship this morning highlights various persons who prepared the way of the Lord in the past of our denomination, from those first eight who illegally stepped into the waters of baptism long ago in Germany, to a peacemaking doctor and church leader during the civil war; from our first woman preacher in the 1800’s to the visionary who started Heifer Project; from our “peace church” work with Mennonites and Quakers, providing relief in the midst of wars and natural disasters, to National Youth Conference and young people jumping into the tasks set before us by the Lord today. We come full circle to the one who cried out in the wilderness long before our own Brethren story, paving the way for Jesus. The voice of John the Baptist still calls us all to “prepare the way of the Lord.”

            Just so you are aware, wherever you see three periods after a phrase in the Call to Worship, make space for our candlelighter to say: "Prepare the way of the Lord!" Please rise in body or spirit. 

Organist plays refrain to “O come, all ye faithful”

Call to Worship

Leader:  A voice cries out in the wilderness, "Prepare the way of the Lord!"

People:  Stepping down into the clear Eder Brook, the first Brethren whisper ...

                    [Candlelighter: "Prepare the way of the Lord!"]

Leader:  Crossing battle lines on a horse named Nell, John Kline invites ...

                    [Candlelighter: "Prepare the way of the Lord!"]

People:  Sounding salvation and outpreaching others, Sister Sarah insists ...

                    [Candlelighter: "Prepare the way of the Lord!"]

Leader:  Dreaming of heifers for starving children, Dan West calls out ...

                    [Candlelighter: "Prepare the way of the Lord!"]

People:  Building relationships with "enemies," the peace churches pray ...

                    [Candlelighter: "Prepare the way of the Lord!"]

Leader:  Offering relief for the suffering, together we cry ...

                    [Candlelighter: "Prepare the way of the Lord!"]

People:  Knowing there's more than meets the eye, our youth raise their voices ...

                    [Candlelighter: "Prepare the way of the Lord!"]

Leader:  Jumping and serving, seeking and growing, listening and loving, we sing ...

                    [Candlelighter: "Prepare the way of the Lord!"]

People: And taking Jesus seriously, we proclaim with the prophet ...

                    [Candlelighter: "Prepare the way of the Lord!"]

Leader: "Prepare the way of the Lord!"

All:       "Prepare the way of the Lord!"

(Candlelighter then lights the second Advent candle)

Leader:  Because Christmas is still 20 days away, let us only sing the first 3 verses of  “O come, all ye faithful,” #212 in your hymnal.

by Paula Ziegler Ulrich, adapted
pastor, Nettle Creek Church of the Brethren Hagerstown, Indiana
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"

Opening Prayer

            We come as we are, O Lord, not as those who are already prepared. The words “all ye faithful” do not mean that only the qualified need applied, for we confess, O Lord, that we are far from perfect. There are days when “faith” is a distant moaning, the cry of our heart which is not yet a reality. We have lived unfaithfully, not trusting in you. Forgive us, and move us beyond where we are to where you dream us to be, guided by your transforming power and your promise of a new day. Live within us through your Holy Spirit, shifting us from a spirit of timidity and fear to true power and love and self-control. Begin, as if for the first time, this very moment. We praise you, Lord God. Amen.

For Children
"A Halo of Light"

            I will tell one of the legends attributed to St. Lucia, a 3rd century AD martyr of the church from Syracuse, Italy, noting that in Scandinavia, Dec. 13th is celebrated as St. Lucia Day. I'm adapting a resource written by Ruth Gilmore, found in Barefoot in the Snow, ©2001, Augsburg Fortress, Minneapolis, pp. 48-49.

Pastoral Prayer


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


Returning our Tithes and Offerings

            Psalm 72 came into being before the time of exile. It probably was then used when a king was enthroned, or his reign celebrated. Gradually, this psalm started to function in Jewish circles as a cry of anticipation for the coming of God’s Messiah. This is how the early church heard these words, which are very fitting to read during this season of preparation for the coming of the anointed One. I will be reading verses 1-7 and 18-19 of this psalm from the Australian paraphrase, “Laughing Bird,” because it makes this messianic anticipation more evident. It ends, by the way, with the ‘down under’ phrase, “Too right!” (“2 royt”), which means “absolutely, certainly,” an expression of emphatic agreement. In Hebrew, this is “Amen!” said twice. Listen:

Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19

            As the offering plates are passed, ponder if and how you this week have yielded “a bumper crop of honesty,” as an outgrowth in your life of this Messiah we have named “Jesus.” Are you bearing such fruit? … Ushers?


Go now and prepare the way of the Lord.
Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you,
and bear fruits worthy of repentance.

And may God grant you harmony with one another;
May Christ Jesus fill you with joy and peace in believing;
And may the Holy Spirit empower you and fill you with hope.

©2001 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.

For children and youth, we use the new
Gather Round curriculum
(developed jointly by the Church of the Brethren and the Mennonite Church)


©2010 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)


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