Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
November 29, 2015
Worship 10:00 am          Sunday School 11:10am

First Sunday of Advent

      Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. (Luke 21:28)

  Beginning with Praise (9:50 am)            “An Advent Song”          (insert)

  Call to Worship

  Hymn                    (vs. 1 & 5)O come, O come, Immanuel                  172
                                    (all children come forward as we sing)

  Opening to the Light                          (the first candle in the Advent Wreath)

*Hymn                            To us a child of hope is born                         189

*Turning to the Light                                          a prayer of confession - 699

  Jeremiah’s Promise            33:14-16 in the Contemporary English Version

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings


  Responsive Scripture                 Psalm 25:1-10                                 (insert)

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

  Hymn                               (vs. 3)Away in a manger                             194

  Pastoral Prayer

  Scripture                                   Luke 21:25-36

  Message                                 Hidden Hope (mp3)

*Hymn                             “Bless’d be the God of Israel                         174

*Benediction                        1 Thessalonians 3:11-13


*Rise in body or in spirit

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship

             An urban missionary named Johann Hinrich Wichern, started a shelter for poor children near the city of Hamburg, Germany. During Advent, children at his mission school would ask daily if Christmas had arrived. In 1839, drawing on an old German custom, he built a large wooden ring (made out of an old cartwheel) with 20 small red and 4 large white candles. A small candle was lit successively every weekday during Advent. On Sundays, a large white candle was lit. Thus began a practice that gained ground among Protestant churches in Germany and evolved into the smaller Advent wreath we have today.

             Has Christmas come yet, the birthday celebration of Jesus? No, not yet. Soon… Has Christ returned? Has God’s Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven? No, not yet. Soon… As we wait, we sing. Let’s start with an old, old song, the words of which go back 15 centuries. The tune goes back at least 500 years. I invite our children to come forward while we remain seated, singing verses 1 and 5 of “O come, O come, Immanuel,” #172 in our hymnal. Children?


Opening to the Light
(the first candle in the Advent Wreath)

              (as children come forward during the previous hymn, give each a candlelight service candle and holder and line them up in a row up front. Ask an older member to come forward with a lit candle while you say the first paragraph, after the hymn is done)  

             The practice of lighting candles on an Advent wreath began in a school for poor children. Our wreath does not have the daily candles that were part of the first wreath, but we do have the four outside candles, one for each Sunday between now and Christmas. This morning we will light the first candle, the candle of “Hope.” (It’s located in the back.)

             You each have a small candle. _________ has brought forward a lit candle, s/he will light one your candles. As she does so, s/he will say “Hope.” Then, one after the other you will light each other’s candles. As you do, passing the light one by one, you will say, “Hope.”

             When all your candles are lit, the congregation will pray in unison the prayer in the bulletin, opening ourselves - as we pray - to the light of Christ’s Hope. They will pause the prayer at the first mention of “Hope.” (do you older folk see where that is?) When they do, ______ (the last child) will light the back candle, after which the congregation will pray the rest of the prayer. Keep your candle lit until we start singing the next hymn. We open to the light. Let us pray:


God, the world is scary.  But, You are with us in the worst of situations.
    So, in the darkness we light this first candle of Advent with hope – (pause)
        hope that you are with us even when awful things happen,
        hope that you will show us what we can do to fix the world,
              and hope that you will fix what we cannot.

prayer by Carolyn Brown in her blog, Worshiping With Children



Turning to the Light
a prayer of confession

Lord, our God, 
         great, eternal, wonderful
         utterly to be trusted:
                  you give life to us all,
                  you help those who come to you,
                  you give hope to those who cry to you.
Forgive our sins, secret and open,
         and rid us of every habit of thought
         that stands against the gospel.
Set our hearts at peace,
         so we may live our lives before you
                  confidently and without fear,
                  through Jesus Christ, our Lord. AMEN

Hymnal #699. Based on a prayer from
The Liturgy of St. Basil of Caesarea, 4th c.,
adapted from Contemporary Prayers for Public Worship,
ed. Caryl Micklem, copyright © 1956 1967 SCM Press, Ltd.

Returning our Tithes and Offerings

             To further explore those words of Jeremiah, take time to read the back of your bulletin, written by Bob Neff. At one time he was a professor of Old Testament at Bethany Seminary. He went on to become General Secretary of our denomination, and after that the President of Juniata College. Living now in a Brethren retirement community in Martinsburg, PA, he remains very active. A year ago, I attended a seminar on the book of Job, which he helped lead. One of his favorite books in the Bible has been Jeremiah. So, take time to read what he has to say about “An Advent Promise.”

Ushers, please come forward and receive our tithes and other offering.


An Advent Promise

             With the expected demise of Judah and Jerusalem, it looked like God’s promise of the unending royal line of David would fail. Yet with eloquent words, the prophet Jeremiah speaks to God’s people with renewed hope: “I will fulfill the promise I made In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up” (vv. 14-15, NRSV). The sprig of hope arises out of the ashes of the Davidic line. Isaiah also shares in this rich prophetic tradition: “A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots” (11:1). Hope lies in the line of David to restore righteousness and justice to Israel.

             The New Testament opens by cataloging the genealogy of David until the birth of Jesus. That hope of Jeremiah and Isaiah is fulfilled in the opening Gospel’s quotation from Isaiah: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, ‘God is with us’” (Matt. 1:23).

             Since those days, much Christian thought has been directed towards the character of that birth in the creeds and Christian belief. However, it is clear from scripture itself that the issue is not the character of the mother at birth, but what this young one brings to the world. After generations of the apparent absence of God in the life of Israel, as indicated by the seven hundred years of anticipation described in the opening to the Gospel, this birth signals the real presence of God in their midst.

             This view is substantiated by the final promise of Matthew’s Gospel, when the disciples have gathered to receive a final farewell from the resurrected Jesus. The final goodbye never comes, because the Gospel ends by repeating the promise with which it began — “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (28:20). In Matthew’s proclamation, Jesus never left. And Jesus remains with us every day, every hour, every minute until the end. There is no time when Jesus is absent, even when it may appear that way. Live in the promise of Christ’s real presence, now.

by Robert W. Neff
University Baptist & Brethren Church
State College, Pennsylvania
© 2015 Brethren Press. www.brethrenpress.com
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085,
"The Living Word" Series



Psalm 25:1-10
read responsively

              As an acrostic poem, the verses of this prayer each begin with the next letter in the Hebrew alphabet, made evident in the following translation.  

  One: ADORATION I offer, Yahweh, 2 to you, my God.

    All: BUT in my trust in you do not put me to shame, let not my enemies gloat over me.

  Left: CALLING to you, none shall ever be put to shame, but shame is theirs who groundlessly break faith.

Right: DIRECT me in your ways, Yahweh, and teach me your paths.

  Left: ENCOURAGE me to walk in your truth and teach me since you are the God who saves me.

Right: FOR my hope is in you all day long -- such is your generosity, Yahweh.

  Left: GOODNESS and faithful love have been yours for ever, Yahweh, do not forget them.

Right: HOLD not my youthful sins against me, but remember me as your faithful love dictates.

  Left: INTEGRITY and generosity are marks of Yahweh for he brings sinners back to the path.

Right: JUDICIOUSLY he guides the humble, instructing the poor in his way.

  One: KINDNESS unfailing and constancy mark all Yahweh's paths, for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.

from the New Jerusalem Bible
Copyright Ó1985 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd.
and Doubleday & Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved

Pastoral Prayer


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



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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