Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
December 11, 2011
Worship 10:00 am              Sunday School 11:10am

Third Sunday of Advent 

      Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

  Beginning with Praise (9:50 am)      "Fling wide the door, unbar the gate!"      186
  Prelude                     "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence"         French melody

  Call to Worship                                                                (back of the bulletin)

  Lighting the Third Advent Candle

*Hymn                            "Oh, how shall I receive thee"                               182

*Prayer of Invocation                                                         (back of the bulletin)

  Scripture                                John 1:6-8, 19-28

  For Children                         "Bending Light"

  Hymn                       "On Jordan's banks the Baptist's cry"                         183
                                                       (sung to Old Hundredth, #119)

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

  Scripture                                      Psalm 126

  Pastoral Prayer (mp3)

  Scripture                               Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings

  Offertory                  "Prelude on a Scottish Psalter Tune"                     Dundee
                                        (Please sign the attendance pad and pass it on)

*Response                  (vs. 3) "Hark! the herald angels sing"                           201


  Scripture                            1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

  Message                     "Careful with the Candles" (mp3)

*Hymn                            "Bless'd be the God of Israel"                               174


*Postlude                            "Hark! The Glad Sound"                        Doddridge

*Rise in body or in spirit

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship

(before proceeding, light the
first & second Advent candles)

One:     As today's traditions compete with those of our faith ...

All:      Help us hold fast, O God, to joy, prayer, and thankfulness.

One:     As we feel the pressure to spend more than is wise on things we do not need ...

All:      Help us hold fast to the leading of the Spirit, and the truth of Scripture.

One:     When we are tempted to accept the ways of the world without examination ...

All:      Help us hold fast to careful examination and faithful discipleship.

One:     Our God, may the light of this third Advent candle remind us to hold fast to our faith.

(motion people to rise and then light
the second Advent candle as we sing:
“Oh, how shall I receive thee”  #182)

by Tim Harvey, moderator
Annual Conference Church of the Brethren
also pastor of Central Church of the Brethren
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"

Prayer of Invocation 

Jesus, in our pursuit of Christmas memories, it is easy to forget the gifts given that make us better disciples, building a deeper faith. Help us to hold fast to the traditions of our faith. As we celebrate your coming, help us prepare for the time you will come again. Amen.

by Tim Harvey, moderator
Annual Conference Church of the Brethren
also pastor of Central Church of the Brethren
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"

For Children
"Bending Light"
John 1:6-8

needed: a flashlight and a mirror

Have you ever played around with a mirror? I’m not talking about standing in front of the bathroom mirror and trying to see how many silly faces you can make, though that can be fun. I mean using a mirror to see where you can bend light. What? You don’t think you can bend light? Well, just watch. (turn on the flashlight and use the mirror to shine its light in different places). Isn’t that cool? Do you want to try? Here, I’ll hold the flashlight and you see where you can make its light shine, using the mirror. How about I suggest a spot and you see if you can make it shine there? (allow each child to take a turn, maybe even have them suggest places where the child with the mirror should try to shine the light. Encourage them to avoid pointing it into someone’s eyes).

            In the Bible, one of the many titles for Jesus is “light of the world.” He is brighter than any candle. He shines more than any flashlight. There was a man, a prophet named John, who was sent by God ahead of Jesus to bend light. Actually, the Bible says John was a voice in the wilderness, in the dark, preparing the way for Jesus. He did that by being like a mirror. He wasn’t the light, he just reflected it, like a mirror does.

            “Repent!” John told people, shining God’s light on them (use the mirror with the flashlight to shine a spot on the floor in front of the children). In this light, people could see how unprepared they were. They could see things they had done wrong. With this light, John simply called them to turn in the right direction, to turn toward the light, to turn toward God.

            Now, John wasn’t asking people to turn toward himself. He was just a mirror. But he was what people needed right then. Did you know that we can all be like John the Baptist? We can be like a mirror that bends light, that helps shine out the light of the world. We aren’t the light. We reflect the light. We bend the light so that others might be able to see. Would you pray with me?

God, thank you for Jesus, the light of the world. We’re getting ready for his coming into the world. Thank you for John, who bent the light to help people prepare. Help us to bend light, too – the light of Christ. Amen.

Returning our Tithes and Offerings

The child, whose birth we will soon celebrate in 2 weeks, read these words as a grown-up in his home synagogue. They became a mission statement for Jesus’ journey toward the cross. We may rejoice over a baby in a manger, but it’s the crucified and risen Christ whom we follow. As you return your tithes and offerings just now, ponder what his good news is for you today. What brokenhearted-ness is there in and around you that needs binding up? What captivity is there that cries out for freedom? How might you this week step into God’s jubilee? It’s not just Isaiah’s or Jesus’ mission statement. All are called and invited to wear a victor’s garland, to be anointed with the oil of gladness, to bear the mantle of praise. May our offerings reflect this. Ushers?


            Thank you, Lord, for sweeping away the ashes of death, for the Alleluia that overpowers grief, for replacing our spirit of timidity with a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. May we be called oaks of righteousness, your planting – to display your glory. Begin anew with these gifts, all of which comes from you. In the name of the anointed One, we pray. Amen.


(all 3 stand together between lectern & pulpit,
each with a microphone,
having gotten into position
 during the last verse of the final hymn)

1 -        Be cheerful no matter what;

2 -        pray all the time;

3 -        thank God no matter what happens.

1 -        This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.

2 -        Don't suppress the Spirit, and don't stifle those who have a word from the Master.

3 -        On the other hand, don't be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what's good. Throw out anything tainted with evil.

1-         May God himself,

2 -        the God who makes everything holy and whole,

1 -        make you holy and whole,

3 -        put you together - spirit, soul, and body -

2 -        and keep you fit for the coming of our Master,

All 3 - Jesus Christ.

1 -        The One who called you is completely dependable.

2 -        If he said it,

3 -        he'll do it!

All 3 - Amen? (hold arm out, palm up to the people, inviting)

Congregation - Amen!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24, as paraphrased by Eugene H. Peterson
in The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002.
Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group

(para traducir a español, presione la bandera de España)


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)


©2010 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)


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