Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
April 6, 2014
Worship 10:00 am          Sunday School 11:10am

Fifth Sunday of Lent

      After the stone had been rolled aside, Jesus looked up toward heaven and prayed, “Father, I thank you for answering my prayer. I know that you always answer my prayers. But I said this, so that the people here would believe that you sent me.When Jesus had finished praying, he shouted, “Lazarus, come out!”
(John 11:41-43 CEV)

  Beginning with Praise (9:50 am)         “Awake, arise, O sing a new song”         56
  Prelude                                       “Pastorale”                                      Peterson

  Call to Worship

*Hymn                              “O bless the Lord, my soul”                                  80

*Opening Prayer

  Scripture                                    John 11:1-16

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings

  Offertory                                 “The Promises”                               Panchenko
                              (Please sign the attendance pad and pass it on)

*Response            (vs.1,4) “When I survey the wondrous cross”                    259


  Scripture                                   John 11:17-37

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

   Prayer Hymn             “When Jesus wept, the falling tear”                           234

  Pastoral Prayer

  Scripture                                   John 11:38-45

  Message                         Comma Community (mp3)

*Hymn                           “I heard the voice of Jesus say”                             493


*Postlude                  “Lord, Let Us Now Depart in Peace”                Whelpton

*Rise in body or in spirit

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship

One:  O Lord, out of the depths I call to you.

Two: O Lord, hear my voice.

One:  Let your ears be open to my pleas for mercy.

Two: If you kept track of sins, Lord, who would stand a chance?

One:  But with you there is forgiveness

Two: and so we will worship you.

All:   My hope is in you, Lord. My whole being is full of hope, and I wait for your promise,
          more than the night watch waits for morning. .

One:  O people of God, wait for the Lord!

Two: Because faithful love is with the Lord;

One:  because great redemption is with our God!

Two: The Lord will redeem Israel from all its sin.


Opening Prayer

God of life, present and promised,
you are the One to whom we call:
for you are the One who hears,
and you are the One who acts,
bringing us new life
with your grace and love and power.
Lead us in our time of worship,
that we may be prepared to follow your lead
in places where life is at risk—
places where hope seems far away,
places where dreams die during sleep.
When we leave these walls,
help us live the teachings we proclaim
within this place of worship,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

by John Indermark
from Ministry Matters

John 11:1-16


A man named Lazarus became dangerously ill. He and his two sisters, Mary and Martha, lived in the town of Bethany and were good friends of Jesus. Mary was the one who is remembered for having massaged the Lord’s feet with perfumed oils and dried them with her hair. When her brother Lazarus got sick, she and her sister sent a message to Jesus, saying, “Lord, your good mate Lazarus is gravely ill.”


When Jesus got the message, he said, “This illness is not going to result in death, but in great credit being given to God and to the Son of God.”


Despite his great love for Martha and her sister, and for Lazarus, Jesus did not drop everything the minute he got the message and head off to be with them. It was another two days before he finished up what he was doing and got ready to go. When he was ready he said to his disciples, “Let’s make tracks back to Judea.”


But the disciples said, “Rabbi, you’ve only just fled Judea because they were trying to kill you there. Why on earth would you be wanting to go back?”


Jesus replied, “There is a time for working and a time for sleeping. If you go about your business during the daylight, you won’t stumble, because your world will be full of light. But if you wait until its dark, you will fall flat on your face because you will have no light to guide you. Our good mate Lazarus has gone to sleep, and I am going down there to wake him up.”


The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he is getting plenty of sleep then he will be back on his feet in no time.”


Jesus had really been saying that Lazarus had died, but the disciples had taken him too literally, so he spelt it out for them: “Lazarus is dead. I’m glad, for your sakes, that I wasn’t there, because this will toughen up your faith. So let’s go and join him.”


Thomas the Twin turned to the other disciples and said, “Come on. If he is going to get himself killed, we might as well be killed with him.”

from the Laughing Bird version
©2002 Nathan Nettleton

Returning our Tithes and Offerings

            In what was possibly an offhand, under-his-breath comment, Thomas spoke more truth than he realized. From this moment on, Jesus was aimed back into trouble. What happened in the rest of this morning’s gospel story, which we’ll hear in two more segments, galvanized the religious leaders to plot Jesus’ death. “It is better that one man die for the people,” they reasoned, “than to have the whole nation destroyed.” Again, more truth spoken than realized. From Bethany, where Mary, Martha, and their brother, Lazarus, lived, the next stop for Jesus was Jerusalem. In seven days we will remember him entering the city of God’s peace on the back of a donkey, amid palm branches and “hosannas.”

            Today, however, Thomas’ side-ways remark brings us back to our own preparation for Easter. A bit later in John’s gospel, Jesus says this,
               “The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal. If any of you wants to serve me, then follow me. Then you’ll be where I am, ready to serve at a moment’s notice. The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me
  John 12:23-26 from from The Message.
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002.
Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group

             Are we listening carefully on this fifth Sunday of Lent? … As you return your offering just now, ponder the gospel call to “take up your cross and follow.”                                                  (cf Mark 8:34-35, Matthew 16:24-25, Luke 9:23-24)




             The words behind the musical number we just heard by Simon Victorovich Panchenko (1867-1937) are based on the beatitudes of Jesus. They come in the form of a prayer. Let us dedicate our offerings with these words:

               When thou art in thy heaven, Lord, we pray: remember us with all thy promises each day! For thou hast said: they are blessed who are pure in heart; they shall see the Lord! And blessed are they that mourn, for I promise to give them joy! The meek and lowly too shall be blest, for the earth shall be their own. And blessed are the righteous who are called the children of God, keeping peace among men! And blessed are they that suffer sorrow, for the heavenly kingdom shall be their own! And blessed are ye when men shall persecute, reviling you and accusing you of wrong and of evil for my own sake. Therefore rejoice, for your reward is great, in the high heavenly kingdom! Therefore rejoice! Amen
  (English version by A. Mattullath)  


John 11:16-37


When Jesus arrived in Bethany, he discovered that Lazarus had been buried four days earlier. Many people from nearby Jerusalem had come to town to comfort Martha and Mary and pay their last respects to Lazarus. Martha heard that Jesus had arrived and ran down the street to meet him, leaving Mary at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you’d been here. I know my brother wouldn’t have died if you had been here. But I know that, even now, God will do anything you ask.”


Jesus said to her, “Your brother will be raised to life again.”


Martha replied, “I know that he and all the dead will be raised to life at the end of time.”


But Jesus said to her, “I am the one who raises the dead and gives life. Those who put their trust in me will have life, even if they die. Those who live trusting in me, will never succumb to death. Will you take my word for this, Martha?”


 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God; the one whose arrival the world has been waiting for.”


Having said this, Martha went back to the house and spoke in private to her sister Mary, saying, “The teacher is here and he wants to see you.”


When she heard this, Mary wasted no time in getting up and hurrying out to meet Jesus. She found him where Martha had left him, just outside the fringe of the town. When all the visitors from Jerusalem who had been with her in the house saw her hurrying out, they assumed that she was going to the graveyard to mourn and leave flowers, so they followed her. When Mary saw Jesus, she embraced him and sobbed, “Lord, if only you’d been here. I know my brother wouldn’t have died if you had been here.”


Jesus was stirred up, deep in his guts, by her tears and by the crying of the people who were with her. “Where did you bury him?” he asked.

“Come and we’ll show you, Lord,” they said. As they went, Jesus too began weeping. This prompted some of the people to say, “He must have really loved Lazarus,” but others were more cynical, saying, “If he loved him so much, how come he didn’t do something to keep him from dying? After all, he had no trouble giving sight to a blind man.”


from the Laughing Bird version
©2002 Nathan Nettleton

Pastoral Prayer

             “Jesus wept.” We memorize that scripture verse, O Lord, not just because it is short and easy to remember, but also because it opens us to the depth of your love. Whether he cried out of a shared anguish over the loss of one so dear, or due to frustration over the thick-headed-ness of people who still didn’t catch a glimpse of the life he came to freely give, doesn’t really matter. That Jesus wept reveals his human side, your identification with us. For we weep, outwardly or inwardly, for so many different reasons, many of which we scarcely comprehend. Grief, anger, despair, frustration, sadness – a thousand things can bring a tear, whether it flows down our cheek or is swallowed in saving face.

             Like Martha, we may note your seeming absence in the middle of a troubling situation, but also believe that you will make things right. Like Mary, we may simply wonder where you have been when things go wrong, partially lost in our doubts and fears. The truth is, O Lord, that we are like both Mary and Martha in this. And still you come to us, and weep with us, and speak to us. We may not always understand. Perhaps only some of the time do we grasp a bit of your glory, enough to nudge us to do what needs to be done, even if it involves caring for the dead. We marvel, God, at the faithfulness of those first witnesses of the empty tomb of your Son long ago, how they had it within themselves to go – as women have done for millennia – and care for his dead body…

             Surprise us, Lord, with what comes after our sharing of joys and concerns ends. By speaking these things from the heart, we trust that there is more in every situation we have identified. We believe, though our faith may be as tiny as a mustard seed, that you are not done with anyone we have named. Move beyond our words, Creator and Sustainer of all things. Take even our doubts and fears, and rattle the foundations of what we know, that what we can’t explain might become real on earth, even as it is in heaven.

This we pray, in the name of the One who said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” Amen


John 11:38-45


Jesus arrived at the tomb, and by now he was quite worked up. The tomb was a cave with a big rock sealing the entrance. Jesus gave orders for it to be reopened. Martha, the other sister of the dead man, protested saying, “Lord, it will stink to high heaven. He’s already been dead for four days.”


But Jesus said, “I told you, didn’t I, that if you believed, you would see things so amazing that they could only be credited to God?”


So they went ahead and removed the rock from the entrance of the tomb. Jesus paused to pray, saying, “Father, thank you for hearing my prayer. I know you always do, but I want this crowd to hear me giving the credit to you, because then they might believe that it was you who sent me.”


Having said that, he raised his voice and bellowed, “Lazarus, get out here!”


And sure enough, the dead man came out, still wrapped up like a mummy from head to toe. Jesus gave the order to unwrap him and set him free.


This was the turning point for many of the people who had accompanied Mary. When they saw what Jesus did, they put their trust him.


from the Laughing Bird version
©2002 Nathan Nettleton


             May we be a community of people who pay attention to God’s commas, waiting on the Lord, trusting in the promises of scripture, ready to step forward when we hear the voice of Jesus call. And remember, brothers and sisters, “…if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you.             (Romans 8:10-11, RSV)



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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