Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
November 23, 2014
Worship 10:00 am          Sunday School 11:10am

Thanksgiving Sunday

      He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.
(Ephesians 1:20-23 from The Message)

  Beginning with Praise (9:50 am)             We gather together             17

   Call to Worship

*Hymn                             Now thank we all our God                           86

*Opening Prayer

  Scripture                           Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24 (Laughing Bird Version)

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings

  Offertory Video           Paul Smith - Typewriter Artist
                              (Please sign the attendance pad and pass it on)

  Prayer of Dedication

  Scripture                                Matthew 25:31-46          (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                                   Whatever You Do                          (insert)

  Pastoral Prayer

  Scripture                                Ephesians 1:15-23

  Message                               PressingReset (mp3)

*Hymn                              “Rejoice, the Lord is king!                        288



*Rise in body or in spirit

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship

1 - O come, let us sing to the Lord;

2 - let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!

1 - Let us come into God’s presence with thanksgiving;

2 - let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

1 - For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

2 - In his hand are the depths of the earth;

1 - the heights of the mountains are his also.

2 - The sea is his, for he made it,

1 - and the dry land, which his hands have formed.

2 - O come, let us worship and bow down,

1 - let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

2 - For he is our God,

1 - and we are the people of his pasture,

2 - and the sheep of his hand.

(pause to indicate the reading has ended)

1 - Rise in body or spirit, and let us sing:

2 - “Now thank we all our God,” #86 in your hymnal or on the screen.

Psalm 95:1-7a 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

Opening Prayer

             Lord, we come to praise you as our God and King. In this time of worship open our hearts and minds to the ways in which you present yourself to us as those who need to be ministered to. May our praise not be with our lips alone, but in the response we give to those who need our love and care. Amen.

by H. Burnham Kirkland
from the book
Lectionary Worship Aids, Series VI, Cycle A
Copyright © 2001, CSS Publishing Company, All Rights Reserved.
borrowed from SermonSuite

Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24

Pastor - two of our scriptures this day paint word pictures that involve sheep. The first is from Ezekiel. Our International Lesson Sunday School class has been traveling with this Old Testament prophet the past few weeks. In the following scripture God speaks through Ezekiel as a shepherd. We’ll hear these words In the Laughing Bird version, and Australian paraphrase. Listen.

1- I, the Lord GOD, will personally undertake the search and rescue mission for my missing people. When a mob of sheep has been attacked and scattered, a good farmer will mount a search and not rest until they are all safely back together.

2 - I am just like that farmer; I will seek out my sheep. On a day of violent storms and clouds of black smoke, they were scattered in all directions, but I will rescue them from wherever they ended up.

1 - Even if my exiled people have disappeared among other peoples in other countries, I will gather them up, one at a time, and bring the whole mob back home to their own land.

2 - I will let them graze contentedly on the rolling hills of this promised land. They will be free to stroll beside rivers and creeks, and to make their home among their friends and family.

1 - I will give them the best pasture to feed on, and the rich and fertile high country will be their home. They will have it easy, and want for nothing. The rich high country pastures will provide them with everything they desire.

2 - I, the Lord GOD, will personally take care of my sheep and see to it that they can lie down with nothing to fear.

1 - Those who are lost, I will seek.

2 - Those who have wandered off track, I will bring back.

1 - Those who are wounded, I will bandage up.

2 - Those who are weak, I will nurse back to full strength.

1 - But the fat and powerful, I will come down hard on.

2 - Justice will be their staple diet.

1 - I, the Lord GOD, have this to say to those who have grown fat off the misery of others. You will have me to answer to when it is time to judge between you and those who have been trampled down and deprived.

2 - Like a bullying ram, you stood over them and butted them with your horns, exploiting their weakness and throwing your weight around until they were scattered, helpless and half starved.

1 - So I am going to step in and save this mob of mine. They will no longer have to put up with your violent stand-over tactics. I will sort out the sheep and cull out the rogues.

1 - I will find a shepherd I can trust to put him in charge of them, one from the family of King David who works for me. He will provide for them and take care of them.

2 - I, the LORD, will be their God, and David, who answers to me, will be their king. I the LORD, have given my word.

by Nathan Nettleton (©2001)
pastor, South Yarra Community Baptist Church
       (near Melbourne, Australia)
from the Laughing Bird resources


Returning our Tithes and Offerings

            As we return our tithes and offerings, let’s be inspired by the story of one of God’s sheep. If you think you have no abilities, ponder what God did with “Paul Smith - Typewriter Artist”…

Ushers, please assist our giving as we watch.


Prayer of Dedication

follows the offertory video: “Paul Smith - Typewriter Artist

             When this man was born in 1921, O Lord, his doctors didn’t believe he would live too long. But you had other things in mind. In that day, he was not taught to read or write. Physicians were still recommending that children with his form of cerebral palsy be institutionalized. But you had other things in mind. Though his condition made it difficult for him to grasp pens or pencils, eat, dress, or express his thoughts, he persevered. It took him 16 years to learn to speak – and 32 to learn to walk. And what you had in mind slowly became reality.
            By the time Paul quit creating beautiful pictures with thousands of delicate key strokes, he left behind hundreds of extraordinary, thought-provoking pieces that make a statement not only about their subject matter, but especially about how they were created. They also continue to give tribute to you, Creator of us all. When we are tempted to think we have nothing to offer, that we’re just a bunch of dumb sheep, remind us of this typewriter artist, and how you always have other things in mind. This we pray, in the name of our Good Shepherd. Amen.

(quotes heavily from this tribute to Paul Smith)


Matthew 25:31-46


Narrator/Pastor - As Matthew tells the gospel story, chapters 24 and 25 form what we might call a “little apocalypse.” In this section, Jesus tells various parables about the last days and the coming kingdom of God. It is compared to:

- the labor pains of a woman,
- a fig tree as seasons change,
- men and women working in a field,
- a thief who comes at night,
- good and wicked servants put in charge of a household,
- ten bridesmaids who bring light to a wedding celebration, and
- a master who entrusts his wealth to three servants
         before going on a long journey.

             We have traveled through some of those stories in the weeks leading up to this day. On this Sunday before Thanksgiving, our gospel story is a familiar one, involving sheep and goats. For the purpose of telling it, we need to divide into two parts. The “left” side (your left) of the congregation, will be the sheep. You are sitting on the “right” side (her right) of the person reading the part of the “Son of Man,” who is also called “the King.” The “right” side (your right) of the congregation, will be the goats. You are sitting on the “left” side (her left) of the reader.

             On this side (point), you are the sheep. When the time comes, read the words on the screen that go with this picture (show sheep). On this side (point), you are the goats. When the time comes, read the words on the screen that go with this picture (show goat). Got it? Now, just because you read a part does not mean that are defined as either a sheep or a goat. The gospel story is an open door through which we step. It’s an invitation, not a foregone conclusion. Listen with body, mind, and heart, and enter into the good news of the kingdom.



Voice 1 - When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left. Then the King will say to those on his right,

Voice 2 - Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.

Voice 1 - Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say,

Left side - Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’

Voice 1 - Then the King will say,

Voice 2 - I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

Voice 1 - Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say,

Voice 2 - Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—
I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’

Voice 1 - Then those ‘goats’ are going to say,

Right side - Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’

Voice 1 - He will answer them,

Voice 2 - I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’

Voice 1 - Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.”

  Narrator/Pastor – It is not only scripture to which we listen with body, mind, and heart. Our daily walk with Jesus invites us to be surprised as we encounter that of God in each person. As we share our requests for prayer, our reasons for joy and thanksgiving, our testimonies of faith, I encourage you to listen for Jesus, who is present in each. Whether the sharing is difficult or easy, let’s enter into the good news of the kingdom.
                   Sharing a joy, a concern, a word of testimony or praise

scripture text is from The Message.
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002.
Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group

Pastoral Prayer

             In the silence of the following moments, O Lord, we each bring to you one of the requests for prayer shared earlier. Then, after my spoken words, we will join our voices in the prayer your Son taught us. Hear us, O Great Shepherd.

- silence -

Searcher of the scattered:
where the bullies and biased
have gorged themselves
at cruelty's banquet,
     you will serve them justice
     for dessert.
Where the wounded
are turned away by indifference,
     you will bandage them
     in the swaddling clothes of hope.
Where the hungry
press their foreheads
against the windows
at Chez Plenty,
     you will open wide the doors,
     having made reservations
          for us all.

Bringer of justice:
when we would push
the outsiders further away,
     you pull them closer to your heart.
When we would shove
the next-to-nothings aside
to get to the front of the line,
     you pick them up
     to keep them next to you.
When we scatter our gifts,
throwing them away on foolishness,
     you gather them up
     and give them back to us
          saying, 'here, try again.'

Spirit of common sense:
as soon as
we wander into
the shadows of selfishness,
     you open the eyes
     of our hearts
          so we can see
          that place called home.
As soon as
we think we can find you
only in the rich and powerful,
     you humble us
     with the grace of Jesus.
God in Community, Holy in One,
gather us into your presence,
even as we pray as we are taught,
(The Lord's Prayer)

by Thom M. Shuman
just finished an interim assignment at
Immanuel Presbyterian Church
Cincinnati, OH
from Lectionary Liturgies


             With the following blessing, the apostle Paul brought to a close his letter to the Ephesians. May these words send us forth from this time and place, out into the world to see and to serve Christ in those we encounter along the way.

Peace and love with faith
to you brothers and sisters
from God the Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace to all of you
who love our Lord Jesus Christ
with love that never ends.

Ephesians 6:23-24
from the New Century Version
Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.


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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