Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
May 31, 2015
Worship 10:00 am          Sunday School 11:10am


      Nor are you meant to relapse into the old slavish attitude of fear - you have been adopted into the very family circle of God…”       (Romans 8:15, J.B. Phillips NT)

  Beginning with Praise (9:50 am)     Brethren, we have met to worship     8

Praise the Lord!

  Psalm 29:1-2

  Sing Holy                           (vs. 1)Holy, holy, holy                          120

*Psalm 29:3-6

*Sing Power             (vs. 1)I sing the mighty power of God                  46

*Psalm 29:7-9

*Sing Glory            (vs. 1)Immortal, invisible, God only wise                70

*Psalm 29:10-11

*Prayerfully Sing               Come, thou almighty King                             41

fromwoe is me tosend me

  Imagining a vision (for the young in heart)        Isaiah 6:1-8

  Prayer of Confession

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings


(Please sign the attendance pad and pass it on)

fromhow can toGod sent

  Imagining a visit (for the young in heart)        John 3:1-17

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

   Hymn                                    God sent his Son                                   345

  Pastoral Prayer

fromfear tofaith

  Paul’s encouragement              Romans 8:12-17           (J.B. Phillips NT)

  Message                    the very family circle of God
(mp3 - poor quality recording)

*Hymn                      I was there to hear your borning cry                (insert)



*Rise in body or in spirit

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Imagining a vision
(for the young in heart)
Isaiah 6:1-8

             This morning, we are going to “imagine” two scripture stories. The first describes a vision the prophet Isaiah had. In the dream, he was called by God to be a spokesman for heaven. Now, I will need 3 persons to help act out this story, but every person’s imagination is required. Why? Well, because there is more in this vision than can be pictured on a screen. So, I’m not even going to try. It’s up to all of us to picture the scene in our minds. That’s how dreams operate, anyway.

             Unlike Jeremiah, who complained that he was “only a boy” (Jeremiah 1:6) when God called him to be a prophet, the age of Isaiah at the time of this vision is not known. In fact, we don’t really know all that much about Isaiah, other than that he was the “son of Amoz” (Isaiah 1:1), and that he lived in the southern kingdom of Judah during the reign of King Uzziah. I need someone to be Isaiah. [If this person is not comfortable reading out loud, I need someone to assist in doing so.]

             I also need 2 voices, who will speak from the side. Both will be Seraphs, heavenly beings, sort of like angels. One of them will come from the side and pretend to touch Isaiah’s lips with a burning coal held by a pair of tongs. Again, all of us will need to use our imaginations to picture this. When the second reader reads for the second time, he or she will be the very voice of God, speaking off to the side. Do I have 2 volunteers?

             Good, let’s get into position. Everyone, open up your imagination as we listen to this word from the Lord.


Isaiah: “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne…”

Storyteller: The Lord was “high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said:” 

     (speak loudly!)

Seraph 1: “Holy,”

Seraph 2: “holy,

Seraph 1: “holy is the Lord of hosts;”

Seraph 2: “the whole earth is full of his glory.”

Storyteller: The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And I said:

Isaiah: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

Storyteller: Then one of the seraphs flew to me (Seraph 1 goes to Isaiah), holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs.  The seraph touched my mouth with it and said:

Seraph 1: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.”

Storyteller: Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,

Seraph 2 (now the Voice of God): “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”

Storyteller: And I said,

Isaiah: “Here am I; send me!”


             We end the story at this point, noting that God went on to tell Isaiah to go and speak to the people of Judah what God wanted them to hear. This was Isaiah’s vision. Can you imagine?

 Thank you, volunteers.

scripture text 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

Prayer of Confession 

            Turn now to the back of your bulletin, and join our voices in the Prayer of Confession found there. It reads more like an assurance of pardon. It assumes that,  as we have listened and entered into Isaiah’s story, we have moved with him from confessing “woe is me” toward professing “send me.” Let’s “fess” up with these words.

One: Hot coals and seraphs are from the past,
         no longer needed.

All:  Christ has taken my guilt. It has departed.
        My sin is forgiven. It is blotted out.

One: The present work of the gospel is set before us.
         Forgiven, God's people are called out.

All:  When the Lord calls my name, will I answer with
         confidence, “Here I am, send me.”

prayer itself by Philip Stover
Quinter, Kansas Church of the Brethren
(his meditation to go with it is below, both:)

© 2015 Brethren Press. www.brethrenpress.com
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085,
"The Living Word" Series


Filled with God's Glory

             When I was a young lad I enjoyed going downtown to the big main library. In the foyer there was a display case that contained a mystery object. My father and I would discuss the peculiar object, decide what we thought it was, and then write our answer on a slip of paper and deposit it in a wooden box. The item was most often an object that had long since lost its usefulness to the present age.

             These were my thoughts as I considered what is - or what was - a seraph. Were they real in Isaiah's time? Did his readers or listeners know what they were? I know I have never seen one flying by!

             As these winged creatures flew about the throne of God, they spoke words of praise to the greatness of God: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory" (NRSV). Somehow these strange creatures were part of the process used to remove guilt and sin from Isaiah. Hot coals on the lips? Ouch!

             We can praise God, that the whole earth and all the people in it are full of God's glory! And we can now rejoice together, because Christ's life, death, and resurrection have made a pathway - the expiation of our sin and guilt.


Returning our Tithes and Offerings

Pray with me.

             Holy Lord, the whole earth is full of your glory! We are in awe of your majesty. In great kindness, you reveal yourself as the One who forgives us. You give us gifts and invite us to go into the world to tell your good news. Help us to respond in faith and go where you lead us each day. We dedicate our gifts so that our community will draw closer to you. Amen.

Ushers, please assist in our giving.

prayer by the Rev. Rosanna Anderson,
Associate Director of Stewardship Ministries at Discipleship Ministries,
The United Methodist Church.
Copyright Ó 2015 Discipleship Ministries.
www.Discipleship Ministries.org Used by permission.

Imagining a visit
(for the young in heart)
John 3:1-17

             Our second Bible story to imagine this morning takes place in the dark of night. A “Pharisee named Nicodemus” came to visit Jesus when few prying eyes might be nearby. He was filled with questions. Unlike some of her colleagues, however, Nicodemus was a sincere inquirer. He truly wanted to know. He wasn’t trying to paint Jesus into a corner with his questions, to discredit this rabbi in front of his followers.  No, he was seeking the truth. But he did so under the cover of darkness, for other religious leaders might have disapproved of his visit.

             Please understand, this story was not told in the Bible so that we would have a nifty catchphrase to throw at people, which is how some misuse the sixteenth verse – a verse many of us have memorized. We probably should memorize the very next verse to go with it, the last words to be spoken in this reading of scripture. In Nicodemus, try to hear a kindred spirit, someone who has questions just like we do, and is willing to risk his reputation to ask them.

             When you listen to Jesus in this nighttime encounter, try not to hear someone with snarky comebacks, putting down this Pharisee, this “teacher of Israel” who does not understand. Something in what Jesus said must have struck a chord within this visitor and moved him to a different place. Remember that later on in John’s gospel, Nicodemus raised questions in defense of Jesus to his colleagues (7:45-52), and assisted another Jewish religious leader, Joseph of Arimathea, in burying Jesus after his crucifixion (19:38-42). If anything, at this point he is afraid to associate publicly. As it says in 1 John 4:18 – “perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.” Listen for love.

               (as the next paragraph is spoken, the person playing Jesus comes forward and sets up two folding chairs up front, facing each other, and sits in one. The person playing Nicodemus starts out off to one side. Both should have microphones.)  

             Now because this episode is filled with metaphors which are not easy to grasp, especially by those of younger years, I have asked two older persons ahead of time to assist in this reading. But, again, we all need to put on our imaginations. It is late at night, when most people are fast asleep. However, Jesus is wide awake. So is his visitor. Listen.


Storyteller: Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. (Nicodemus walks over and sits in the other chair)  He came to Jesus by night and said to him,

Nicodemus: “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.”

Storyteller: Jesus answered him,

Jesus: “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”

Storyteller: Nicodemus said to him,

Nicodemus: “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?”

(pause to reflect)

Jesus: “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

(pause to reflect)

Nicodemus: “How can these things be?”

(pause to reflect)

Jesus: “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”

Storyteller: And so we come to that well-remembered verse. But remember, it is an answer to a nighttime question earnestly asked. How will you hear it this morning?

Jesus: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”


(Jesus and Nicodemus quietly stand, put their folding chairs off to the side, and return to their pews)

scripture text 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

Pastoral Prayer


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



As you move from this day into the coming week,
      never forget that you are part
            of the very family circle of God.
                  Don’t be afraid.
You are a joint heir with Christ Jesus,
      God’s beloved Son,
            who leads the way.
The Holy Spirit touches your spirit
      and confirms who you really are,
            and gives you the strength needed for this journey.
And the One who created you,
                     who redeemed you,
                     who sends you forth,
                     who watches over you every step of the way,
awaits you with open arms
                like a loving father.
So, in the name of the Father,
                            the Son,
                      and the Holy Spirit –
      Go in peace.



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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