Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
December 14, 2014
Worship 10:00 am          Sunday School 11:10am

Third Sunday of Advent

Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.

(Psalm 126:6)

  Beginning with Praise (9:50 am)      Lo, how a rose e’er blooming       211
  Prelude                                     “The Promises”                          Panchenko

  Lighting the third Advent candle

*Call to Worship

*Hymn                          “My soul proclaims with wonder”                       181

*Opening Prayer

  Scripture                           1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

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

   Hymn                                     Oh, how joyfully                                 209

  Pastoral Prayer

  Live your Testimony

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings

  Offertory                                      “Melody”                                Schubert
                              (Please sign the attendance pad and pass it on)

  Preparing a song                This is Christmas morn”                        (insert)

  Scripture                                Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-9

  Unison Reading                        Isaiah 61:10-11

  Message                            Joy for the Journey

*Hymn                                     Joy to the world                                 318


*Postlude                                 O Tannenbaum            old German traditional

*Rise in body or in spirit

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Lighting the third Advent candle

              The last announcement is an invitation for the children to come forward. During the Prelude, they will assist in setting up the nativity set. Thus, they continue to help prepare our worship space for Christmas, a process they began two weeks ago, and will follow through next Sunday. At the end of the Prelude, they should be arrayed in a line from the pulpit to the wreath, ready to help light the first, second, and third candles in the following:  

(light a small “Christmas Eve” candle in holder and hold it up)

Pastor: We re-light the first Advent candle, testifying to God’s “Hope” within us.

(pass the candle from child to child, each one saying to the next, “Hope.”
The last re-lights the front candle, then passes it back, while the following is read.)

Pastor: From Luke’s gospel, we receive this story, which follows the call of Mary to bear a son, whose name will be Jesus.

Reader 1: In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country,  where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

(hold up the small “Christmas Eve” candle in holder)

Pastor: We re-light the second Advent candle, testifying to God’s “Peace” within us.

(pass the candle from child to child, each one saying to the next, “Peace.”
The last lights the left candle, then passes it back, while the following is read.)

Reader 1: When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

(hold up the small “Christmas Eve” candle in holder)

Pastor: We now light the third Advent candle, testifying to God’s “Joy” within us.

(pass the candle from child to child, each one saying to the next, “Joy.”
The last re-lights the right candle, then passes it back. Then, the following is read.)

scripture text: Luke 1:39-45 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

Call to Worship

Reader 1: And Mary said,

Reader 2: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.

Reader 3: Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

Reader 4: His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.

Reader 2: He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.

Reader 3: He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.

Reader 4: He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Reader 1: And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

Pastor: (after pause) Now, rise in body or spirit, and let us sing this testimony of Mary, the mother of Jesus, #181 in your hymnal. As we add our voices, may this good news grow within us.

Scriptur text: Luke 1:46-56 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

Holy Light, God of faithful witnesses,
    please shine in our hearts
        with all the joys of your coming Son.
May we be delivered
    from trusting the artificial lights of our generation, and
    from the ephemeral,
                   decorative lights of this season.
Bring us into the open place where,
               dazed yet not afraid,
    we may praise you with wonder
           and adore you with profound joyfulness.
Through Jesus of Nazareth,
       our Christ and Savior.

by Bruce Prewer, Uniting Church in Australia,
from Resources: Based on the Revised Common Lectionary.

Pastoral Prayer


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


Live your Testimony


             On the back of your bulletin, Theresa Cocklin Eshbach creatively includes portions of today’s second gospel reading in an invitation to “live your testimony.” Would you turn to it now, for the words in bold and italics are yours to read. I will speak the rest. Let’s listen, and ponder, and respond to this call to testify…


When I was a young girl, I heard a neighbor from another denomination tell my Brethren preacher-father about a woman in his congregation who could really testify. Her words, he said, touched the hearts of many. “Do people in your church testify?” he asked.
Testify. What did he mean?

At a recent gathering, an attorney, a judge, and one who had been subpoenaed talked about an upcoming day in court. “I’m scared,” said the one called as a witness. “Do I have to testify?”
Testify? Must we, even if we’re called?

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light(John 1:6-7).
            What a scary expectation! How will we do it? What will we say? “I can’t be like John the Baptist—with the crazy outfit and weird diet and. . . wilderness habitat!” we might say. “If that’s what it means to testify, I just can’t do it.”
            But John’s model for us is not about his physical appearance. It’s about his powerful witness. And the crowds who heard him testify about the coming of the Messiah also asked, “What then should we do?” (Luke 3:10).
            “Share what you have,” John replied. “Share your clothing and your food. Be honest! Be fair. Don’t take what does not belong to you. Don’t take bribes. Be satisfied with what you have” (vv. 11-14, paraphrase). In other words, live your testimony.
            Oh, so we can testify this Advent season. We can bear witness to the One who is coming to take away the sins of the world.
Let our testimonies begin!

Theresa Cocklin Eshhach
Mechanicsburg, PA Church of the Brethren
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085,
"The Living Word" Series

Returning our Tithes and Offerings

             As you return your offering, which is one way of living your testimony, ponder how else you might bear witness to Christ this week. Remember: the testimonies of our actions speak as loud as our words. Would anyone know Jesus was an important part of your life’s story if they could not hear?

Ushers, please guide our giving.


Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-9


1 - We turn, now, to the prophet Isaiah – words which, according to Luke’s gospel, Jesus read as an adult in the congregation of his childhood.

2 - This son of Mary and Joseph deeply resonated with this prophetic mission, saying to those who were his neighbors growing up, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing(Luke 4:21).

1 - The words echo the song his mother sang when he was in her womb, according to Luke (1:46-55).

2 - This last portion of Isaiah’s message was originally addressed to God’s people who faced the monumental task of rebuilding their lives after returning home from exile.

1 - We will read this mission statement, verses 1-4 of chapter 61, then hear God speak in verses 8 & 9.

2 - Then it is your turn to join in reading verses 10 & 11 as a response –

1 - a declaration of joy, as well as an affirmation of faith.

2 - We will prompt you when the time comes…

1 - Listen, now, to the word of God… (pause)



1 - The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me;


2 - he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,


1 - to bind up the brokenhearted,


2 - to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners;


1 - to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God;


2 - to comfort all who mourn;


1 - to provide for those who mourn in Zion—


2 - to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.


1 - They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.


2 - They shall build up the ancient ruins,


1 - they shall raise up the former devastations;


2 - they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.


(an unseen voice)


For I the Lord love justice,
    I hate robbery and wrongdoing;
I will faithfully give them their recompense,
    and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants shall be known among the nations,
    and their offspring among the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge
    that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed.


Isaiah 61:10-11
a unison reading


I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
    my whole being shall exult in my God;
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
    he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
    and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
so the Lord
 God will cause righteousness and praise
    to spring up before all the nations.


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


As you journey onward,
      testify to the good news you bear.
            Allow the joy within you to come to birth.
Through what you say or how you live
      give witness this week to our God
            who lifts those who stumble,
            who reconnects those who are broken,
            who breaks the chains of those who are captive,
            who comforts those who grieve,
            who feeds and clothes those who hunger and thirst, and
            who proclaims “the day is coming,
                                       the destination is near.
                                       Lift up your hearts and rejoice.”



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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