Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
September 8, 2013
Worship 10:00 am          Sunday School 11:10am


      Anyone who wants to be my follower must love me far more than he does his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, or sisters - yes, more than his own life - otherwise he cannot be my disciple.
(Luke 14:26, Living Bible)

  Beginning with Praise (9:50 am)          "I owe the Lord a morning song"          651
  Prelude                                       "Preludium"                                         Young

  Call to Worship                   Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18         (Laughing Bird Version)

*Hymn                             "I will sing of my Redeemer"                                344

*Unison Opening Prayer                                                                             719

  Overhearing a personal letter                           Philemon

  A story for children                   "Rosa’s Bus"                     by Jo S. Kittinger

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings

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

  Curious about what God is doing here, part 1

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

  Hymn                             "In the bulb there is a flower"                                614

  Pastoral Prayer

  Gospel                                     Luke 14:25-33

  Message                                  "Over the top" (mp3)

*Hymn                          "I stand amazed in the presence"                             528


*Postlude                                       "Postlude"                                     DeMonti

*Rise in body or in spirit

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
(Laughing Bird Version)

The Worship Leader (WL) speaks from up front. Voices 1 and 2 read
from the sides of the sanctuary, each with a hand-held microphone.

WL - We begin with a very intimate prayer, the ancient words of Psalm 139. We will read them from the Laughing Bird Version,
          an Australian paraphrase. Let’s listen and be drawn toward the One who knows us better than we know ourselves.

1 - You have taken a good hard look at me, LORD, and you know exactly what makes me tick.

2 - You know when I’ve got my feet up and when I’m on the job; you can read my mind like an open book.

1 - You see where I am going and where I stop, and you know all about what I do and why.

2 - You know exactly what I am going to say, LORD, even before I open my mouth.

1 - You are in front of me, behind me, beside me; your hand on my shoulder at every turn.

2 - All this is more than I can get my head around; I pinch myself, and struggle to take it in.

1 - It was you who put me together, every part of me; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

2 - I sing your praises, LORD, for the way you have made me fills me with awe.

1 - Your creative works blow my mind; too wonderful for words.

2 - You could see me clearly before I was born; you watched me taking shape in the secret depths and laid out the intricacies
      of nerve and muscle.

1 - You kept your eye on me from conception to birth. My life lay before you like an open book before I had even lived a day.

2 - Your thoughts are way beyond my grasp, God, and they add up to more than I can count.

1 - Deeper than the oceans, outnumbering the grains of sand;

2 - I give up trying, but you are with me just the same.

WL - Rise in body or spirit and let us sing of our Redeemer, #344 in your hymnal.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Unison Opening Prayer

Holy God,
you know all about me -
       you know how I feel, when I'm happy or sad;
       you know what I say, when I'm kind or rude;
       you know what I do, when I'm good or bad.
Thank you, God, for knowing all about me
    and still loving me.  AMEN

Hymnal #719
Adapted from 365 Children's Prayers,
written and compiled by Carol Watson,
copyright © 1989 Lion Publishing Corporation.

A story for Children
Rosa’s Bus

             This book by Jo S. Kittinger tells the story of a bus and its passengers who changed history. Like all buses in Montgomery, Alabama, in the 1950s, bus #2857 was segregated: white passengers sat in the front and black passengers sat in the back. Bus #2857 was an ordinary public bus until a woman named Rosa Parks, who had just put in a long day as a seamstress, refused to give up her seat to a white passenger. Her arrest sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a major event in the Civil Rights moment, led by a young minister named Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For 382 days, black passengers chose to walk rather than ride the buses in Montgomery. Meanwhile, lawyers battled in court to challenge segregation laws. From the streets of Montgomery to its present home in the Henry Ford Museum, here is the story of a bus and the passengers who changed history.

Returning our Tithes and Offerings

             Was it courage, or just plain exhaustion, that led Rosa Parks to do what she did? A simple act, however, changed the world. As Brethren folksinger Andy Murray once put it, “one person at a time does it all.” Remember that as you return your offering just now. We’re all on the same bus, you know.


Curious about what God is doing here, part 1

             This morning, and for the next three Sundays, your church board will share with you a bit of what we are seeing God doing here in the Valley. Are you curious? Curious enough to join in? For us, it started with a four hour retreat on the first Saturday of August, led by our friend and denominational consultant, Stan Dueck. After pondering some scriptures, we went to work listing what we saw as different about our church lately. This is what we came up with: We seem to be more flexible. There is an increased openness to new ideas and new people. We seem to have more energy. We find we can speak up and be noticed, instead of being ingrown. We’re making more connections within our neighborhood, with a new sense of community. We are reaching out past our comfort zones. We are growing in the desire, if not the ability, to identify and use the talents God provides.

            From this list, Stan helped us lift up three themes we see emerging. You will hear more about each of these in the coming weeks: Energy, Openness, and Guidance. Now, instead of pigeonholing these three themes into the three commissions of our board, he had us divide up by which one interested each of us most. The three groups were each given a page of newsprint and told to fold it down the middle. On the left side, we were to answer this question: “What can we do to build upon this theme?” Based upon this more general question, we were then asked, “What can we do to implement this in our congregation?” with our more specific answers to be listed on the right side of the page.

            Well now, I’ve set the stage for others to follow this month. Are you curious to hear more? Are you curious enough to - as you hear God calling - step into this vision we see emerging, and perhaps respond with your own, “Here I am, Lord, send me”? We hope so.

Pastoral Prayer

             Lord God, who gave us minds to think, bodies to act, and a will to do both, we ask your blessing this day upon the task of growing disciples. May our Sunday School teachers this new year fulfill their calling with a pound of thoughtful preparation, a flourish of creativity, plenty of devotion, and a willingness to move with both your Spirit and the hearts and minds of those with whom they share. May the rest of us have the grace to pay attention, the courage to participate, and an openness to become more than what we currently are. Guide our imaginations to behold ever more ways of digging deeper and expanding wider the call of Jesus to make disciples, from Bible studies, prayer groups, and other efforts within our fellowship, to the multitude of creative ways through which we may reach out beyond our comfort zones.

             You have heard our sharing, and been present in this gathering of more than two in Jesus’ name. We trust in your promise to address the needs we have spoken, as well as what we have left unsaid. Comfort those who grieve. Heal those who feel broken. Help those who struggle. Free those who are bound. May your blessings overflow this vessel and expand outward like ripples in a pond, going beyond what we ask.

             We join our prayers with others worldwide asking for peace and justice in Syria. May our leaders do what is right, mindful that violence only begets violence, with many unintended consequences. Help them to make decisions based not on political gain or ideological purity, but on the will of the people. We are mindful of the awful act of gassing civilians that brings our world to another decision point. We know that there are no simple answers, and that justice is needed. Challenge all world leaders to stop enabling evil to thrive, and start acting for the good of all people. Specifically, plague the conscience of the President of Syria, to do what is right for all his citizens. As followers of Jesus we end with his prayer, which challenges us all at every turn of phrase:

Our Father, who art…



Go now to live and share your faith with all.
Love Christ more than even family or friends,
and, in Christ, love all God’s people.
Do not cling to possessions,
but take up your cross and follow Jesus.

And may God shape you in the ways of love and justice;
May Christ Jesus refresh your heart;
And may the Holy Spirit surround you with grace and peace.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton 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)


©2013 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)


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