Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
February 16, 2014
Worship 10:00 am          Sunday School 11:10am


      I place before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse. Choose life so that you and your children will live.  (Deuteronomy 30:19b from The Message)

  Beginning with Praise (9:50 am)          "I long for your commandments"          543
  Prelude                                     "Andante in F"                                Beethoven

  Call to Worship                                                                      (back of bulletin)

*Hymn                           "Love divine, all loves excelling"                             592

*Opening Prayer

  Scripture                            Deuteronomy 30:15-20               (from The Message)

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

  Hymn                                     "Amazing Grace!"                                        143

  Children leave for Craft Time (as we sing)

  Pastoral Prayer

  Scripture                                Matthew 5:21-26

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings

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

  Scripture                                Matthew 5:27-37

  Message                   "A Testimony to Faithfulness"

*Hymn                                "Great is thy faithfulness"                                   327


*Postlude                                   "Postlude in C"                                 Scarmolin

*Rise in body or in spirit

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship
(back of bulletin)

A voice declaring:
Happy are those who keep God's promises, who seek the Holy One with their whole heart. They do no wrong, and walk in paths of righteousness.

Worship leader:
Women and men of God, I would like to ask, “What are your intentions?”

Our intentions?

Worship leader:
My intention is to follow God’s ways and keep God’s laws, and to know that I will not be put to shame.

We intend to be diligent and persistent in trusting God’s way, and to obey God’s holy decrees.

Worship leader:
Then let us sing and worship with our whole heart.

by John Jackson, pastor
Glendale, CA Church of the Brethren

Opening Prayer
(begins by quoting the last line of  "Love divine, all loves excelling")

            If we are lost, O Lord, may we truly be “lost in wonder, love, and praise.” Even so, the gospel message, as we have received it, and proclaim it again this resurrection day, is that we have been found by your love. Though we are prone to wander, you are steadfast in seeking us out. In Christ, you walked the walk that led to our salvation. While we were as yet sinners, he died for all of us – not just for those who have obeyed all your commandments and lived right, but for all who have messed up along the way. And, Lord, we all have done our share of traveling down the wrong path. May this day be a fresh start, this hour be a time to turn toward you, this moment be like the first step in the right direction. This we pray in that name of the One who was your love in human form, and who lives in us today through your Holy Spirit. Amen.


Pastoral Prayer

* Let us pray for the church, at home and abroad.

God of surprises, continue to have mercy on your church.
Let your Spirit move among the ranks of its many denominations,
by your fire forge links of love,
by your wind impel it into service for your world.
Where it is in error, convert it.
Where it is indifferent, re-awaken it.
Where it is corrupt, cauterise it.
Where it is persecuted, fortify it.
Where it is insightful, faithful and loving,
            bless it with your holy joy.

* Let us pray for those people, present among or around the world,
who are “doing it tough” against heavy odds.

God of high hopes and deep comfort, be with your world family
for whom this day brings hardship, tragedy, sickness, road accidents, homelessness, or broken hearts.
With your light guide them.
With your hand uplift them.
With your Spirit comfort them.
With your grace save them.
With your love enfold them.
With your peace garrison their hearts and minds
            against all evil.

God of surprises,
should any of us become switched-off to the sufferings of others,
should any of us retreat into selfish and safe pre-occupations,
confront us again with the Cross,
deliver us from either dithering, or from rash actions,
and tutor us how to best be your agents of justice and mercy.

Through Christ Jesus our hope and our joy.

by Bruce Prewer
Uniting Church in Australia.

Returning our Tithes and Offerings
(follows Matthew 5:21-26)

             If we were to take what Jesus said here literally right now, there is a good chance many of us would need to leave immediately and go make peace with someone. Or, at the very least, we would need to spend time alone in attitude readjustment, dealing with our own inner hostility before stepping into this part of worship.

             With these words, and the ones that follow in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus is getting to the root of the Law of Moses. You might note that what he has to say is not really about proper rituals, about doing things “right” religiously, about making an offering in the “correct” way. What he has to say is all about our relationships. In what we have just heard, it involves dealing with our anger toward others. Next, in a “You have heard it said … but I say to you” pattern, he connects with our sexuality, then with our marital covenants, and then with how truthful we are with others. He even heads toward how we relate with our enemies, but that is teaching for another day.

             At the root of it all - our relationships (as family, as friends, as neighbors, as strangers, as enemies) all matter to God. The new heaven and earth God is in the process of bringing forth, to fully become reality one day in the future, just like the original intention of what God created on the first day in the beginning, is concerned with how we dwell together in peace today. How easy it is to break that peace, even or especially in how we think before our thoughts ever get around to action.

             Now, taken too literally, those words of Jesus we have just heard and the ones to which we will soon listen, could terrify us as a burden too heavy to carry. Who, after all, is free from anger, or has never insulted anyone? I’m not perfect in this regard. Far from it. Are you? But this is gospel. The good news is that this is what God intends, not what God demands. God wants us to deal with our anger and hostility, and gives us the resources to do so. We are not, however, expected to already have done this before God will have anything to do with us. This is a heavenly vision toward which we are being drawn, where loving relationships (with others and, above all, with God) matter deeply.

             As you return your offering just now, think about your various relationships. Is there someone with whom God is calling you to reconcile? Is there an anger that is eating away at you that needs to be dealt with before it consumes you or anyone else? Resolve to not sweep it under the rug, but instead think about what your first steps might be… Ushers, please assist us in our giving.



God has placed before us
      life & death, blessings & curses.
            Though the way is not easy,
                  let’s choose life.
Go now,
      pay attention to your relationships,
      deal with your anger,
      seek reconciliation,
      love in ways that build up and not tear down,
      let your life be a “yes” to God’s faithfulness.

May the Lord provide what you need,
      may Christ go before you as a guide,
            and may the Spirit empower you to walk
                  one day at a time.



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)


©2014 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)


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