Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
December 9, 2012
Worship 10:00 am          Sunday School 11:10am

Second Sunday of Advent 

     When the time came for the naming of his son, John, Zechariah was so filled with the fresh breath of the Holy Spirit that he just had to open his mouth and speak.
(Luke 1:67+, Rockhay version)

  Beginning with Praise (9:50 am)      "On Jordan's banks the Baptist's cry"      183
  Prelude                                   "Christmas Bells"                                     Gade

  Call to Worship                                                                     (back of bulletin)

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

*Opening Prayer

  Scripture                                     Luke 3:1-6

  For Children             "Drawing attention to God"

  Carol                            "God rest ye merry, gentlemen"                        (insert)

  Scripture                                Philippians 1:3-11

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

  Hymn                               (vs. 1-2) "What child is this"                                215

  Pastoral Prayer

  Scripture                                   Malachi 3:1-4

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings

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

  Dramatic Reading of Luke 1:68-79 (prefaced by 1:5-24 & 57-67 paraphrased)

  Message       Reclaiming “Evangelism” and “Testimony”  (includes mp3)

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


*Postlude                            "For God So Loved Us"     Thüringer melody ca. 1840

*Rise in body or in spirit

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Read at end of announcements before Prelude:

            The busyness of Bethlehem can remind us of our own lives. Our lives are often so full of clutter, so busy with distractions, that we don’t have room for anything or anyone else. An innkeeper made time and cleared the way so Jesus would have a warm and welcoming place to sleep. God only needs us to “be still” for a moment, to allow the Holy Spirit to clear the way for Jesus to enter our lives.

(this, the Call to Worship & the Opening Prayer
are on the back of the bulletin)
by Sandi Evans Rogers, associate pastor
Frederick (MD) Church of the Brethren

Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"

Call to Worship

One:     Today, in front of us, are many paths that invite us to follow. The distractions of this world can confuse us. Calendars are full, activities can consume us.

All:       Clear the way, Lord ... clear the way.

One:     May we slow down and be still. May we listen to the Holy Spirit. May we prepare our hearts for Christmas. May we prepare our hearts for Christ.

All:       Prepare the way, Lord ... prepare the way.

         As we light the first two Advent candles, please rise in body or spirit and, instead of the hymn suggested on the back of your bulletin, sing
"Come, thou long-expected Jesus"

(wait until they begin singing,
then light first the candle in the front,
and then the candle to the left,
not the pink or back candles)

words to the Call to Worship
written by Sandi Evans Rogers, associate pastor
Frederick (MD) Church of the Brethren

Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"

Opening Prayer

            Abba, Father, we confess that our lives have become too full and too busy to listen and be still. This Advent season, may we allow the Holy Spirit to still our hearts and our lives as we make room for Jesus. Teach us how to clear the way - one day at a time - and to prepare for the gift of Jesus entering our lives. Amen

by Sandi Evans Rogers, associate pastor
Frederick (MD) Church of the Brethren

Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"

For Children
Drawing attention to God

Needed: 1) the living Christmas tree in a pot you set upon a stump with the children last week; 2) a string of Christmas tree lights ready to put on the tree (test beforehand to make sure they work)

Do you like our tree? What do you like about it? It’s not a big tree, but unlike many of the trees we put up at this time of year, it is not artificial, nor has it been cut down. Therefore, it is not a dead tree. It is a living tree. When we are done with it this month, we will take it outside and plant it in the ground. It will continue to grow.

Do you think it’s a pretty tree? Oh, you think it would look nicer if we added some decorations? Okay - I did tell you last week that we were going to decorate it during our children’s stories this month. Why don’t we add a string of lights to it today? (as they are helping you do so, continue) Why do we put lights on our Christmas trees? (get all their answers as they work, validating each one) These are all great answers… Let’s plug it in and see what it looks like. Pretty! Do you think it has to have lights on it to look nice? Once it’s planted outside, it won’t have lights. Will it still be a good looking tree?

If you were listening, the worship leader read to us from the Bible about John the Baptist, who was sent by God to “prepare the way” for Jesus. He cried out to people to turn to God. They weren’t paying attention. He was like a light that lit up the night drawing attention to God, sort of like these lights draw our attention to this tree. Would we look at this tree if the lights weren’t on it? Maybe not. It’s just a small tree, after all. But with those lights, we see the tree.

Of course, the lights are not the tree, are they? When we’re done, we’ll take the lights off and plant the tree outside. Will we pay attention to this tree as it grows outside without the lights? Hmm, I wonder. I’ll tell you what. After this tree is planted, I’ll show you where it is. Then it’ll be up to you to remind us about this tree. Go look at it and tell us about it throughout the year. Don’t let us forget, even when it isn’t Christmas time. In so doing, you’ll be like these lights, just like John the Baptist. He prepared the way for Jesus, turning people toward God.

(series continued next week)

Pastoral Prayer


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


Returning our Tithes and Offerings

I am sending a messenger,” the prophet Malachi promised for God. We may not be John the Baptist, but we can help draw people’s attention to God through our words and actions. Of course, in order to do so, we need to be paying attention ourselves.

Are we paying attention as we work on our finances? How might our budgets and bank accounts be like the lights on that Christmas tree? Are we oohing” and “aahing” over the dollar signs (or “groaning” and “crying” over the lack of them)?  OR are we looking past the figures to see God? Stewardship starts with paying attention.

What we do with our money, our possession, our abilities, our time, our words, our relationships – all of this sends a message. As you return your offering just now, think about the message your life is sending this week. Are you a messenger for God?

Ushers, please gather in what we seek to give.
May it be pleasing to the Lord.

Dramatic Reading of Luke 1:68-79
(prefaced by 1:5-24 & 57-67 paraphrased)

E - Elizabeth                Z - Zechariah

E - I am Elizabeth. This is my husband Zechariah. He was a priest back in the days of King Herod of Judea. We had a good life and sought to live right, and yet we were not blessed with any children, until – that is – the gray hair started growing on our heads.
            Zechariah took his turn serving in the temple one year when a strange thing happened. He was alone in the sanctuary making an offering when an angel appeared.

Z - That’s right. And let me tell you, it scared the living begeebers out me.

E - The angel told him not to be afraid, and that I, Elizabeth, would bear him a son, whom he was to name John.

Z - Can you believe that? Me and Lizzie here having a child at our age?

E - Oh, be quiet, Zack.

Z - Yeah, that’s what the angel said when I shared my doubts. “I am an old man,” I said, “and my wife is getting on in years.”

E - And at that, Gabriel (the angel) shut Zack’s mouth until the boy was born. I’ve got to tell you, it was downright peaceful in our house for nine months. It’s nice when a man listens. A little confusing at times, but nice!
            Anyway, I did end up getting pregnant, if you can believe that, and had an interesting visit from a distant niece, whose name was Mary, perhaps you know her. The days and months eventually led to the birth of a healthy baby boy. Our neighbors and relatives couldn’t get over it that I, at my age, was a new mother.
            Everyone assumed we would name the boy after his father, even though I tried to tell them different. On the eighth day when we circumcised him, the moment came to name him. They didn’t believe me when I said it was to be “John.” … “Nobody in your family has this name,” they replied.
            Zack couldn’t talk, you understand, but he motioned for something to write on. “His name is John” is what he scribbled, and then - all of a sudden! - he could speak.


E - It was like a dam bursting wide and a flood of water flowing out. Couldn’t get him to be quiet for days. It caused a stir among our neighbors, let me tell you! They wondered, “What then will this child become?” On that day, filled with the Holy Spirit, my husband really let loose: 

(what follows is Luke 1:68-79)

Z - “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for
He has looked favorably on his people
            and redeemed them.
He has raised up a mighty savior for us
      in the house of his servant David,
            as he spoke through the mouth
                  of his holy prophets from of old,
      that we would be saved from our enemies
                                      and from the hand of all who hate us.
Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
      and has remembered his holy covenant,
            the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham,
                  to grant us that we, being rescued
                                          from the hands of our enemies,
                        might serve him without fear,
                              in holiness and righteousness
                                    before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called
                  the prophet of the Most High;
      for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
            to give knowledge of salvation to his people
                  by the forgiveness of their sins.
By the tender mercy of our God,
      the dawn from on high will break upon us,
            to give light to those who sit
                  in darkness and in the shadow of death,
                        to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Luke 1:68-79 from the New Revised Standard Version
copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Go now and prepare the way for the Lord.
Share in the gospel of God’s grace;
Proclaim salvation and the forgiveness of sins;
Make straight paths for justice and mercy.

And may God complete the good work begun in you;
May Christ Jesus rejoice in your faith and compassion;
and may the Holy Spirit fill your love with wisdom,
and produce in you a harvest of righteousness.

©2000 Nathan Nettleton www.laughingbird.net


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:
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)

International Lesson:
International Bible Lesson
a weekly column by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.
in "The Oklahoman" newspaper
also found

International Lesson:
Living Web Sunday School Project

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)


©2012 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)


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