Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
November 29, 2009
Worship 10:00 am              Sunday School 11:10am

The First Sunday of Advent 

      Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith. (1 Thessalonians 3:10)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)

  Call to Worship                      Jeremiah 33:14-16

*Hymn                      (vs. 1-3) "O come, O come, Immanuel"                        172

*Opening Prayer

  Lighting the First Advent Candle

  Song                                    "The Lord is coming"                           (see insert)

  Scripture                                   Luke 21:25-36                          (from The Message)

  For Children                   “With eyes open wide

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings

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

*Response                      (vs. 1) "As with gladness men of old"                          218


  Scripture                                   Psalm 25:1-10

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

  Hymn                          "Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming"                             211

  Pastoral Prayer

  Scripture                             1 Thessalonians 3:9-13

  Message                          “Whatever is lacking(mp3)

*Hymn                          "This is a day of new beginnings"                             640



*Rise in body or in spirit

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Opening Prayer

As surely as joy resides within the word “rejoice,”
                        so you reside within your people, O Lord.
            You come, not as a presence we can use to bless our every desire,
                        but as an inner strength and hope
                                    that challenges the way we’ve always done things,
                                           encourages us to step out by faith
                                                in directions we had not previously seen,
                                     and provides for our needs along the way.
Thank you, Immanuel, for being with us,
            even when we do not perceive your presence.
                        This we pray in the name of the One
                                    who is your “joy to the world.” Amen.

Please be seated.

Lighting the First Advent Candle

(The two advent candlelighters come forward during the first hymn and stand, one on either side of the worship center. One should have the cordless mic from the back. On the way, the other picks up the mic from the stand up front and brings it forward. After the Opening Prayer, these candle lighters are voices 1 & 2 below. The worship leader is voice 3. Wait to being until the congregation is seated.)

1 - Sunrise comes later each day, making it harder to get out of bed.

2 - Fall is leading to winter, and we begin adding layers for warmth.

3 - The list of things to do is growing, and we seem to have less energy “to do.”

1 - Lethargy is seeping in.

2 - Sleep calls out to us, physically and spiritually.

3 - But another voice is speaking.

1 - “Awake, arise, and open your eyes.”

2 - That is the message of this first Sunday of Advent.

3 - Even before we exchange the 2009 calendar for 2010, we begin anew.

1 - A light is shining, however dim. Can you see it?

2 - Coals are being stoked within. Do you sense it?

3 - Power, even amid weakness, is at the door. Do you feel it?

1 - “Awake,

2 - arise,

3 - and open your eyes.”

1 - Watch.

2 - Watch.

3 - Watch.

(The first Advent candle is lit as the word “Watch” is spoken three times above. The two candle lighters quietly return to their seats as we sing the next song. Along the way, return one mic to the stand and the other to the ushers in the back.)

listen to mp3

Luke 21:25-36
(from The Message, but inserting the word “Watch” in the last verse, as below)

           25-26"It will seem like all hell has broken loose—sun, moon, stars, earth, sea, in an uproar and everyone all over the world in a panic, the wind knocked out of them by the threat of doom, the powers-that-be quaking.

            27-28"And then—then!—they'll see the Son of Man welcomed in grand style—a glorious welcome! When all this starts to happen, up on your feet. Stand tall with your heads high. Help is on the way!"

            29-33He told them a story. "Look at a fig tree. Any tree for that matter. When the leaves begin to show, one look tells you that summer is right around the corner. The same here—when you see these things happen, you know God's kingdom is about here. Don't brush this off: I'm not just saying this for some future generation, but for this one, too—these things will happen. Sky and earth will wear out; my words won't wear out.

            34-36"But be on your guard. Don't let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete surprise, spring on you suddenly like a trap, for it's going to come on everyone, everywhere, at once. So, whatever you do, don't go to sleep at the switch. Watch. Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that's coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man."

For Children
"With eyes open wide"

(use the spotlight in the balcony to shine, in as narrow a beam as possible,
a spot at the top of the middle arch over the sanctuary)

            Excuse me, folks, but I need to having a meeting with our children in the back of the sanctuary. All you little ones, would you please follow me?

            This is different, isn’t it? We usually meet up front, don’t we? I wanted to meet with you back here because I want us to look at things a little bit differently. In fact, what I want us to see can’t be seen from up front. Can you figure out what I’m thinking of? Look around. Do you see anything different? (they may note some of the changes in the sanctuary as decorations are gradually put up, week by week, for Christmas – like the advent wreath. To each suggestion, affirm their watchfulness, but say, “No, that’s not what I’m thinking of,” sort of like the game, “I spy.” When someone finally sees the little light at the top of the middle arch, go on. Be prepared if a child notices it first thing.)

            That’s right! I noticed that, too! It’s just a little light way up in the air. But it’s there. I wonder how many people here saw it. You have to be observant, don’t you? You need to watch carefully. Just like those wise men long ago. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, you and I are going to be thinking about the wise men who visited the baby Jesus after he was born. They came to him with gifts of what? That’s right, “gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”

            The Bible says they were “from the east.”  Believe it or not, we are on the east side of the sanctuary. That way is east. I will be coming from the east when I go back up front. The Bible says that they “observed” a star are were following it. They were watching the night sky, and saw something that others didn’t see. Just like you saw something that you didn’t see before, way up there. Those wise men had to look carefully, eyes open wide. Just like you did. They had to “watch.” That’s the word for today – “watch.” It’s important for disciples of Jesus to watch, to look, to keep their eyes open.

            Before we go, let me just notice one more thing. The Bible says that the wise men followed the star to the baby Jesus. It was shining over Bethlehem. Under the light of that star God was doing something wonderful, something brand new, something awesome. God was at work under that star. That’s why the wise men were following it. Now, tell me, what’s under this star, the light that is shining way up there? That’s right. The people are. When you return to your seat, you will be under that star. Hmmm, I wonder. Is God doing something wonderful, something brand new, something awesome … in you?

            Well, next week we’ll continue our journey with the wise men. Who knows, we may meet somewhere else in the sanctuary. Be prepared, okay? Until then, remember to watch.

Returning our Tithes and Offerings

Stand tall with your heads high,” Jesus said. “But be on your guard. Don't let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping.” Those are appropriate words for a time of year in which we often self-medicate with frenetic activities, lots of food, something to “take the edge off,” and retail therapy. How might we approach this season, this new year in a different way? As you return your tithes and offerings just now, I invite you to pay attention to the real itches that need scratching in your life, expectations that can’t be met by anything other than … well … other than God. What would happen if all heaven broke loose this year?

Ushers, would you stand tall and serve by receiving our offerings?


            Lord, help us to watch and wait, to pay attention to what’s most important. Help us to stand tall with our heads held high, not looking down of anybody, but looking up to the light that still shines, even when we are too dull to see it. Thank you for taking care of us, and making it possible for us to be part of your coming kingdom – the real party. Amen.

Pastoral Prayer


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



Go now and let the Lord steer you in the way of truth.
Be on your guard so that you will not be caught up
in the trivialities and anxieties of the world.
Be alert at all times and pray for strength
to escape the traps that would keep you from God. 

And may God make you increase in love for one another;
May Christ Jesus teach you how to live in God’s ways;
and may the Holy Spirit strengthen your hearts in holiness,
as you ready yourselves for the coming of the Lord.

©2000 Nathan Nettleton www.laughingbird.net

(para traducir a espańol, presione la bandera de Espańa)


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:
Living Web Sunday School Project

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)

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,
also published by Brethren Press.

For children and youth, we use the new
Gather Round curriculum
(developed jointly by the Church of the Brethren and the Mennonite Church)


©2009 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)


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