Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
December 27, 2015
Worship 10:00 am          Sunday School 11:10am

The Sunday after Christmas

      “So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline…
                    (Colossians 3:12 from The Message)

  Beginning with Praise (9:50 am)         In the bleak midwinter         (insert)

*Call to Worship                                                                    (back of bulletin)


*Hymn                                      Joy to the world                                    318

  Affirming our faith                                                                                    714

  Hymn                                Infant holy, infant lowly                                206

  Scripture                                       Psalm 148

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings

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

  A Gospel story                           Luke 2:41-52

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

   Hymn                                  I wonder as I wander                            (insert)

  Pastoral Prayer

  Scripture                                Colossians 3:12-17

  Message                            Christmas wardrobe (mp3)

*Hymn                          The first Noel, the angel did say                         199



*Rise in body or in spirit

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship

Leader:  Praise God, sun and moon!
              Praise God, all you shining stars!

People:  Fire and hail, snow and ice,
              bow down and worship the One who made it all.

Leader:  Beasts at the manger, people and potentates,

People:  graying grandparents and toddling child—

Leader:  in the dialects of every color, nation, and tribe
              - all praise the Eternal One,

People:  who sent us Christ, the Light of the World.

by Melanie Jones Haynes
Glen Arm, Maryland
© 2015 Brethren Press. www.brethrenpress.com
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085,
"The Living Word" Series


             God of Bethlehem's star, in the darkness of our winter, you shine upon us. Fill us with your kindness, clothe us with your strength, and adorn us with forgiving grace, that we might live anew as kindred of the Child of Bethlehem and messengers of his shalom. Amen.

by Melanie Jones Haynes
Glen Arm, Maryland
© 2015 Brethren Press. www.brethrenpress.com
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085,
"The Living Word" Series

Responsive Affirmation of Faith

He was the Son of God.
         He was the Son of Man.
He came down from heaven.
         He was born in a stable.
Kings came to his cradle.
         His first home was a cave.
He was born to be a king.
         He was a child of Mary.
He was the greatest among rulers.
         He was the least among servants.
He was loved and honored.
         He was despised and rejected.
He was gentle and loving.
         He made many enemies.
He counseled perfection.
         He was a friend of sinners.
He was a joyful companion.
         He was a man of sorrows.
He said, "Rejoice."
         He said, "Repent."
"Love God with all your heart."
         "Love your neighbor as yourself."
"Don't be anxious."
         "Count the cost."
"Deny yourself."
         "Ask and receive."
In him was life.
         He died on a cross.
He was a historic person.
         He lives today.
He was Jesus of Nazareth.
         He is Christ the Lord.

Hymnal #714
adapted from We Gather Together, Kenneth I. Morse,
©1979 Brethren Press.

Psalm 148

1 - After each exclamation of praise in the following psalm,

2 - we invite you to clap once – like this (clap, motion for all to do so)

1 - At the end, our single clap will multiply as we applaud God.

2 - If in doubt, just do what I do. Ready?


1 - Praise the Lord!  *

2 - Praise the Lord from the heavens;  *

1 - praise him in the heights!  *

2 - Praise him, all his angels;  *

1 - praise him, all his host!  *

2 - Praise him, sun and moon;  *

1 - praise him, all you shining stars!  *

2 - Praise him, you highest heavens,  *

1 - and you waters above the heavens!  *

2 - Let them praise the name of the Lord,  *

1 - for he commanded and they were created.  *

2 - He established them forever and ever;  *

1 - he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.  *

2 - Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps,  *

1 - fire and hail, snow and frost,  *

2 - stormy wind fulfilling his command!  *

1 - Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars!  *

2 - Wild animals and all cattle,  *

1 - creeping things and flying birds!  *

2 - Kings of the earth and all peoples,  *

1 - princes and all rulers of the earth!  *

2 - Young men and women alike,  *

1 - old and young together!  *

2 - Let them praise the name of the Lord,  *

1 - for his name alone is exalted;  *

2 - his glory is above earth and heaven.  *

1 - He has raised up a horn for his people,  *

2 - praise for all his faithful,  *

1 - for the people of Israel who are close to him.  *

2 - Praise the Lord!  **********

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

Returning our Tithes and Offerings

             We’re not used to applauding God, are we? Perhaps every day should be filled with such appreciation, just for the sheer gift of a brand new morning, for air to breath, for love to share, for time to live. On this Sunday after Christmas, we thank God for sending his Son into the world, who took in his first breath and emptied his lungs with a cry like every child that was ever born. This territory – both the story of the nativity and the beginning story of every child – is so familiar, we hardly give it a second thought. But life is a marvelous gift that deserves applause!

May your offering just now be like applauding God.



A Gospel story
Luke 2:41-52

            It may seem strange on this Sunday after Christmas to jump ahead in the timeline of this child born in Bethlehem, but that’s what we will do. In Luke’s gospel, after those befuddled, visiting shepherds left the stable, Mary and Joseph circumcised their baby boy, whom they named, “Jesus.” When the time was right, they made their way to Jerusalem to present him in the Temple, and then they returned home to Nazareth to begin the hard, but rewarding work of raising this child. These boyhood years of Jesus are left out of the four gospels we have received, except for one story, told only by Luke.

If no children are present, say: “Listen” and proceed to read Luke 2:41-52

If there are children, continue.

             I suggest that we actively tell this story. To do so, I need some helpers. To be precise, I need three, but I can always make use of more. Any takers? Great! Come and join me. The 3 parts are: someone to play the boy Jesus, who is 12, and then 2 of you to play Mary and Joseph. (any others can be fellow pilgrims) No instructions. Just follow my lead. We’ll figure it out as we go. But we need to start in the back of the sanctuary. Oh, I almost forgot. The rest of you in the congregation? You will all be rabbis in the Temple, teachers who are astounded by what this young whippersnapper has to say. Got it? Let’s go.

             Let’s start slowly walking forward, because we are a group of pilgrims making out way from where we live to a very holy place to celebrate a very important holy day. We’re on a “pilgrimage.” Here’s the story:

            Now every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival.

             Here we are. We’ve made it. What a privilege to remember in Jerusalem the night when the angel of death passed over the children of Israel and took the firstborn of their Egyptian masters. The Israelites were slaves, and this was the last straw that set them free. Remembering this event involved a very special meal, and that whole week there were wonderful celebrations, especially in the Temple. And Jesus was at just the right age to make the most of it, right at the point of moving from childhood to being an adult. All this has happened, but all good things come to an end.

            When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it.

             Okay, Jesus, you stay here and pretend you are talking to all these rabbis here, who are “astounded” by what you have to say. Come on, folks, let’s do a good job of acting this out. Mary, Joseph, and the rest of us will mosey on home.

            Assuming that Jesus was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends.

             Imagine finally realizing your child is missing. How would you feel? I think you’d be pretty desperate and scared. Start asking folks around you if they’ve seen Jesus, to which everyone just shrugs their shoulders. Keep asking. Look worried, REALLY worried.

            When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him.

             Keep looking (but don’t find him yet. I know he is right up front, but you haven’t found him yet).

            After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.

              Okay, Rabbis, let’s show some amazement!....

            When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.”

             Your turn Mary and Joseph, give us a look of astonishment! Now, Mary, you have been really worried, scared that something bad had happened to your baby. When we’re afraid, we sometimes get mad. Have your parents ever gotten mad at you and you realized they were scared for you? Joseph, stand behind Mary and put your hands on your hips and look stern. Mary, don’t yell, but speak with a strong voice, asking Jesus, “We’ve been looking for you everywhere. … We thought something bad had happened to you. … Why did you do this?” Joseph, more stern look!

            Jesus said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

             Jesus. You’re not upset that they are upset. In fact, you don’t have a clue as to why they were worried. You knew where you were and why. Just look at them, and say, “I was here all the time … right where I should be … in my father’s house.” … Think about that for a second. We sometimes pray, “Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…,” a prayer Jesus later taught his followers. But I wonder if - when was 12 years old - he knew something about himself that made him different from other children. It was hard for his parents to figure out, that’s for sure.

            But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them

             Okay, it’s time to return home. Let’s travel back together. Rabbis, say “goodbye” … “Shalom.”

            And they came to Nazareth, and Jesus was obedient to his parents. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus matured, growing up in both body and spirit, blessed by both God and people.

             Thank you for helping to tell this story! Return to your seats.

scripture text 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
except for the last verse (52) taken
from The Message.
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002.
Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group

Pastoral Prayer


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



Go now, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly;
clothe yourselves with love;
forgive one another,
and do everything you do in the name of Christ,
giving thanks to God.

And may God bless you and repay you for all you give;
May Christ Jesus send his peace to rule in your hearts;
and may the Holy Spirit raise you to maturity
in wisdom, in compassion and in love.

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



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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