Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
November 9, 2014
Worship 10:00 am          Sunday School 11:10am


Keep awake, therefore, for you
know neither the day nor the hour.

(Matthew 25:13)

  Beginning with Praise (9:50 am)          Soon and very soon          611

*Call to Worship

*Song                                    Awake, O Sleeper

*Opening Prayer

  Imagine! - a story from Jesus Matthew 25:1-13

  A few moments of quiet reflection

  Song                                 “Give me oil in my lamp

  A cry for God’s help                     Psalm 70

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

  Hymn                                     My life flows on                                  580

  Pastoral Prayer

  Challenging, prophetic words        Amos 5:18-24

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings

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

  Scripture                            1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

  Message                         “Walking on sunshine (mp3)

*Hymn                         My hope is built on nothing less                       343



*Rise in body or in spirit

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship

Leader: We have come to worship together, just as the bridesmaids gathered to wait for the bridegroom.

People: We are still waiting for something to happen.

Leader: Are you prepared to wait for as long as it takes?

People: We have done all we can. When will it happen?

Leader: Worship begins now. The answers to bigger questions are delayed until they are revealed in God's time.

People: But it is over two thousand years later. How much longer must we wait?

Leader: Jesus said, "You know neither the day nor the hour."

People: But our technology gives us a response instantly.

Leader: This is not about modern gadgets and expectations; this is about spiritual preparation.

People: It will be hard to stay awake, but we will wait.

Leader: Use the wisdom God has given, to prepare for the One who is coming. Let us worship in holy anticipation.

by Leah Oxley Harness, interim pastor
Blue Ridge, VA Church of the Brethren
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085,
"The Living Word" Series


Opening Prayer

             Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer God, you call us to keep awake, but we find it so difficult to follow through. We often wonder who or what we are waiting for: the second coming, the king-dom of God on earth? Help us to hold fast, to be prepared, and to live with the now, but not yet. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.

by Leah Oxley Harness, interim pastor
Blue Ridge, VA Church of the Brethren
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085,
"The Living Word" Series


Imagine! - a story from Jesus
Matthew 25:1-13

             Like the very best teachers, Jesus was quick with a story. Good stories set our imaginations aflame, and the one we will hear from Jesus today is a very good story, especially if we listen to it as if this was the first time it had been told to us. We can grow so accustomed to stories we have already heard that we stop listening, because we know what is going to happen, or because we know what it all means. The good thing about a good story is that something new dawns upon us every time we hear it. A light is lit in our minds, as we wake up to it.

             Speaking of lights, look at the lamp on the worship table. Before electricity, this was how people were able to see at night. A simple container holding oil, with a wick running from the oil to an opening.  When lit, the wick – damp with flammable oil – provides light. However, once the oil in the lamp is used up by the flame, the light goes out. In today’s story from Jesus, lamps provide the light for a middle-of-the-night celebration… Imagine getting ready for a wedding.

             In this story, the bridesmaids do not accompany the bride. Instead, these young women were there to escort the groom. Furthermore, they provide the light for the nighttime ceremony itself… Remember how dark it is at our Christmas Eve service when only candles are lit? Imagine that you are one of these ten bridesmaids who have been invited to provide the only light for a wedding. Granted, thinking as a girl might be a stretch for half of us listening. So be it. It’s good to have Bible stories where the main characters are women. Stretch your imagination. Enter into the story and hear Jesus speak. Listen.


             “The kingdom of heaven,” Jesus said, “will be like this. Ten young women were given the job of holding up oil lamps to give light for a wedding. They were to wait for the groom to arrive, and when he did, their job was to bring him into the wedding hall. Five of these young women did not adequately prepare. They only brought what oil would fit in their lamps. How foolish they were! The other five were wise, for they brought extra flasks of oil with them, just in case.

             “Now, as often happens, the bridegroom was delayed, and it wasn’t by just a few minutes. As they waited, all of these ten young women yawned (you know how contagious yawning is), and soon fell asleep. At the darkest hour of night, they were awakened by a shout, ‘Look, everyone! He’s finally coming, the bridegroom! Go out to meet him.’

             “Then all those bridesmaids got up and got their lamps all ready. Half the girls, who foolishly didn’t prepare very well, said to the other five, who wisely brought what was needed, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the five wise young women replied, ‘Sorry! If we try to make our oil go around all ten of us, then all the lamps will run out in the middle of the celebration and there’ll be no lights at all. You’ll have to go and get more oil for yourselves.’ This they did.

             “And while they were trying to find someplace to buy extra oil, the bridegroom arrived, and those five who were ready lifted up their lamps and went with him into the wedding hall; and the door was shut and locked behind them. After all, it was late…  When the other five girls returned, they couldn’t get in. They banged on the door and called out, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us.’ But he replied through the door, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know who you are.’

Jesus ended his story with these words:

             “Stay awake, keep ready, because you have no way of knowing when the time will come.




Returning our Tithes and Offerings

             Be prepared – the following words are not “easy listening.” God’s prophets, those who speak the tough-love of the Lord, are rarely welcome. However, we need to listen … for our own good. This scripture is in two parts. The first is the voice of Amos himself, who elsewhere claimed that he was little more than a simple shepherd, not a prophet (7:14-15). In the second portion, we should hear Amos as if the One speaking was God. Remember that for Amos, “God’s Judgment Day” was right around the corner, in the form of the Assyrian empire, coming to swallow up Israel. Reading from The Message, a paraphrase, we hear Amos speak as if the situation was our own. Maybe it is! … Listen.

Amos 5:18-24

             Ouch! Those words put a different spin on this moment in worship, don’t they? What does God want from us? That’s a good question to ponder as we return our tithes and offerings. After the plate is passed down your row, give voice to your own prayer to One who said, “let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.



Pastoral Prayer


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



We have sung psalms
                 and hymns
                 and spiritual songs
      among ourselves this morning,
           singing and making melody to the Lord
                in our hearts.

Our giving thanks to God the Father for everything
      in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
            continues on beyond this brief time together.
As we head forth,
      remember the call and the promise
            of that early Christian baptismal hymn:
                   “Awake, O Sleeper!
                               Rise from the dead,
                         and Christ will give you light.”

adapted from Ephesians 5:8-20


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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