Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
November 1, 2015
Worship 10:00 am          Sunday School 11:10am

All Saints Day

Do not press me to leave you
or to turn back from following you!
Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge;
your people shall be my people, and your God my God.
Where you die, I will die - there will I be buried.
May the Lord do thus and so to me, and more as well,
if even death parts me from you!
”    (Ruth 1:16-17) 

  Beginning with Praise (9:50 am)         Shall we gather at the river       615
  Prelude                           “The Souls of the Righteous”                      Noble

*Call to Worship

*Hymn                               (vs. 1-3)For all the saints                           636

*Opening Prayer

  Remembering our “Cloud of Witnesses

  Hymn                               (vs. 4-6)For all the saints                           636

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

  Hymn                                       I’ll Fly Away                                (insert)

  Pastoral Prayer

  Hymn                              (vs. 7-8)For all the saints                            636

  The Story begins                          Ruth 1:1-5

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings

  Offertory                    “Chorale: O God Thy Holy God”                 Fritzsch
(Please sign the attendance pad and pass it on)

  Episode One                              Ruth 1:6-22

  Message                             Returning Home (mp3)

*Hymn                              Come, ye thankful people                             94


*Postlude                      “Praise God, the Source of Life”
French Church Melody

*Rise in body or in spirit

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship

One: There will be a new heaven and a new earth;

All: We are waiting for the reign of God.

One: The home of God will be among us;

All: We are preparing for the reign of God.

One: God will wipe away every tear from our eye;

All: We are expecting the reign of God.

One: Death will be no more! Crying and pain and sorrow will be no more!

All: Until that day comes, we are waiting, preparing, and expecting the reign of God to come.

One: We gather our hearts to worship our God, who is eternal, and whose love knows no end.

All: Amen and Amen!

by Rev. Mindi Welton-Mitchell
pastor of Burien, WA Community Church
from Rev-o-lution Worship Resources

refers to Revelation 21:1-6

Opening Prayer

You have blessed us
with saints all of our lives,
God of the ages:
those who put up with us,
and those who prepared us for discipleship;
those who have touched us with their compassion,
and those who illumine the way for us.

Through the valleys and over the hills,
down the dusty streets of every village,
saints traveled with you,
Jesus, Child of grace and glory:
those who impetuously chased after you,
and those whose feet longed to turn back;
those who jostled for your attention,
and those who made sure little children
were able to meet you.

You surround us with saints,
even when we don't recognize
or much less appreciate them,
Spirit of wonder:
some live down the corner from us,
while others are on the other side of the world;
some run to catch the leaves spiraling to the ground,
while others make a meal for a sick neighbor's family.

For all the saints of every age, especially our own,
we give you our gratitude and praise,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

by Thom M. Shuman
transitional pastor at Galloway Presbyterian Church
Columbus, OH
from Lectionary Liturgies

Remembering our “Cloud of Witnesses”

             Yesterday was “All Hallows Eve,” better known as “Halloween.” Some say that Christians should have nothing to do with this unholy day, since it has its roots in another religion. If that’s the case, perhaps we should also get rid of Christmas, as the Puritans before us tried to do, since behind it lies Midwinterblot or Yule, and the burning of logs at night to hold back the dark of the winter solstice, and making sacrifices before a great oak tree to push back fear. It was St. Boniface who helped make the shift to Christmas trees and yule logs as a sign of hope in the coming of Christ-mas. In a similar move, followers of Jesus shifted the Druid practice surrounding Samhain to Halloween, into a time to laugh at fear and dread. Martin Luther once said, “the best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.”

             That was yesterday - “All Hallows Eve.” In the Christian calendar, today is “All Hallows Day,” or “All Saints Day.” It’s a time to remember and celebrate the saints who have gone before us, the “cloud of witnesses” who have run the race of faith ahead of us (Hebrews 12:1), teaching us much about “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen(Hebrews 11:1).

            Now, I suppose in our remembrance we could go through the lengthy list of officially recognized saints, but we’re not Roman Catholic. A few of these canonized saints do come to mind, like St. Francis of Assisi, or St. Teresa of Avila, whose lives and prayers still influence us:
  Lord make me an instrument of your peace….
Christ be in my mind, and in my thinking…

            However, there are saints closer to home that we would do well to recall. Don’t let the title get in the way. “Saints” are not perfect people. They also are not necessarily dead.  Many of the apostle Paul’s letters in the New Testament are addressed “to the saints,” and he wasn’t writing to a cemetery. The word “saint,” in Greek “Hagios,” means holy – but don’t think “holier than thou.” Saints are simply folks through whom we see a bit of the light of Christ shining. In the words of Jesus, they are the salt of the earth, or the light of the world – seasoning their neck of the woods, helping others to see the way.

            You have been touched by many everyday saints along your journey of faith. They have helped you grow as a follower of Jesus. Something about how they lived and loved has inspired you along the way – making you a better person for having known them. Some of these are “saints militant,” that is, they still walk among us. Perhaps you. Other of these are “saints triumphant.” They have died, and now live with God in Christ. It is these latter saints we want to remember today. Their example continues to influence us, even those they are no longer physically with us.

            I invite you now to go to one of the windows of our sanctuary and write the name or names of some of the “saints” in your life who have gone on to glory. Feel free to write just the first name, or the whole name. It doesn’t matter if others gathered here know them. You do. It also doesn’t matter if someone else also writes the same name. On each window ledge are several window crayons for you to use. Just take the cap off. Turn the bottom of each to replenish the crayon, if it is running low. Do you understand? … Shall we begin?

Meditative music

            Brothers and sisters, behold the names of the saints through whom Christ continues to shine in our midst. Sisters and brothers, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.(Hebrews 12:1-2)

Hymn - (vs. 4-6)For all the saints” - #636


Pastoral Prayer


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


Returning our Tithes and Offerings

After Ruth 1:1-5

             So begins the story we call “Ruth.” Yes, it is a sad start, but remember: God is a part of this tale, working through the hands and hearts of the characters. Some rabbis down through the ages said that misfortune struck the family of Elimelech because he left behind his home and people to make his living in a foreign land. Most interpreters, however, hear in this tale echoes of the book of Job, who deserved none of the bad things that happened to him. Like in Job, there is no answer found in the story of Ruth as to why bad things happen to good people. There is just Elohim (1:16), Yahweh (1:17), El Shaddai (1:20), our God, the LORD, most high who is there every step of the way.

             (go to a window) In fact, we probably should put the names of (write them on the window as you name them) Elimelech, Mahlon, and Chilion as part of the cloud of witnesses behind this story, for they figure into what will turn out to be a tale of steadfast faithfulness and kindness. Had they not been a part of the picture, there would have been no Ruth. Even though we are given nothing but their names, assume they each have a story to tell of God.

             As you return your offering just now, prepare yourself to enter into the first episode of the book of Ruth. Perhaps you will find the meditation on the back of the bulletin about “The Gift of Tears” to be a good place to start.

Ushers, please come and receive our offerings.


(back of bulletin)

The Gift of Tears

             In the new heaven and new earth that is to come, God will wipe every tear from our eyes. It doesn't mean that God will get rid of our tears completely. Instead, it probably means that God will be there to comfort us—and hold us—when we do cry. As the writer says, "He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them" (v. 3). After all, tears are a valuable part of our human experience.

             One of the most moving scenes in all of scripture is when Je¬sus weeps over the death of his friend Lazarus (John 11:35). This is dear indication of the Son of God's sympathy for the families of those who have died. It also proves his deep love for his close friends. Those seeking to entrap Jesus noticed it, too: "See how he loved him!" (v. 36).

             While some have difficulty crying. I have wept with sadness over the death of loved ones. I've also shed tears of joy during the birth of our sons. Tears are one way our body provides relief during the strong emotional experiences of our lives. They're one of God's gifts of healing for our mind and soul.

             Many religious traditions have found ways to ritualize the gift of tears. When Jews celebrate the Passover seder, they place salt water on their lips to symbolize the tears shed during their captivity in Egypt. And for centuries, Christian mourners have captured their tears in bottles and worn them around their necks to memorialize their grief over the dead.

             So, far from being an embarrassment or a sign of weakness, tears should be seen as coming from our good Cod, "as a gift from the spring of the water of life" (Rev. 21:6).

by Bruce Huffinan, pastor
Germantown Brick Church of the Brethren
Rocky Mount, Virginia
© 2015 Brethren Press. www.brethrenpress.com
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085,
"The Living Word" Series



Episode One
Ruth 1:6-22

(Narrator speaks from the lectern. Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth
start at the bottom of the steps up front, sharing a microphone)

Narrator: Then she started to return with her daughters-in-law from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had considered his people and given them food. So she set out from the place where she had been living, she and her two daughters-in-law, and they went on their way to go back to the land of Judah. But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law,

Naomi: “Go back each of you to your mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find security, each of you in the house of your husband.”

Narrator: Then she kissed them, and they wept aloud. They said to her,

Orpah: “No, we will return with you to your people.”

Narrator: But Naomi said,

Naomi: “Turn back, my daughters, why will you go with me? Do I still have sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? Turn back, my daughters, go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. Even if I thought there was hope for me, even if I should have a husband tonight and bear sons, would you then wait until they were grown? Would you then refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, it has been far more bitter for me than for you, because the hand of the Lord has turned against me.”

Narrator: Then they wept aloud again. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. (Orpah leaves, narrator pauses)… So she said,

Naomi: “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.”

Narrator: But Ruth said,

Ruth: “Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die - there will I be buried. May the Lord do thus and so to me, and more as well, if even death parts me from you!”

Narrator: When Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her…. (Naomi and Ruth start walking slowly down the center aisle toward the rear)... So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them; and the women said, “Is this Naomi?” She said to them,

Naomi: “Call me no longer Naomi, call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt bitterly with me. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty; why call me Naomi when the Lord has dealt harshly with me, and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?”

Narrator: So Naomi returned together with Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, who came back with her from the country of Moab. They came to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.

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


               Yes, sisters and brothers,
since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
     let us also lay aside every weight
                             and the sin that clings so closely,
          and let us travel with perseverance
               the journey that is set before us,
                    looking to Jesus the pioneer
                                             and perfecter of our faith,
     who for the sake of the joy that was set before him
          endured the cross,
               disregarding its shame,
                    and has taken his seat
                         at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2, adapted  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


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:
Rightly Divided

International Lesson:
Christian Standard
(one week ahead)


International Lesson:
International Bible Lessons Commentary


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
Shine Curriculum
(developed jointly by the Church of the Brethren and the Mennonite Church)


©2015 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)


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