WORSHIP MODEL: Scout Sunday Observance
Karen W. Schneider
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: Each month, United Methodist seminary students--and others--will offer worship ideas for Sunday service and other special celebration. We hope pastors and worship leaders will use these fresh ideas from our seminaries.
The general theme of the service will be the "Gift of Boy Scouts." This will be a day of celebration for them highlighting their various accomplishments while remembering their love of God. Most of all, it will be a reminder to the congregation of the wonderful boys we have in our world and the many gifts they have to offer.
Ushering: Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts will do the ushering.
IN THE BEGINNING: (OPTIONAL) A flute player will play melodies of the Native American culture. This will continue until time for the service. Raven Dancers, who join in the ceremony, will be seated toward the front of the sanctuary and will perform just after the announcements. They are a group of dancers who pride themselves in duplicating the dances of the Native culture and are adorned and dressed in intricate and ornate costumes of many colors. (The Raven Dancers are specific to Colorado. If there is not a similar group in your area, omit that part of the service.)
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Please read "Honor Native American Traditions in Worship" by Ray Buckley before contemplating the use of Native elements in worship, to ensure they are being used in a proper context.]
An Eagle Emblem sits at the front of the sanctuary, at the very front of the altar. This gives color and meaning to the ceremony.
OPENING HYMN: "I Love to Tell the Story" (No. 156, United Methodist Hymnal)
The processional shall consist of both Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and Eagle Scouts. The processional will begin at the back, with the congregation seated. The flags will be presented first—the Boy Scout flag, the U.S. flag and the Christian flag. The Christian flag will be in front with the other two flanking both sides behind it. As the procession moves up the aisle, the U.S. and Boy Scout flag will cross over, back and forth as they move up the aisle until reaching the front of the church, where they will be placed in appropriate holders. The Boy Scout flag will be placed more toward the altar, closer to where the ceremony is to take place.
The U.S. flag and Christian flag will be carried by Cub Scouts, but a Boy Scout will carry the Boy Scout flag. Immediately following the three flag-bearers will be Eagle Scouts, followed by the rest of the Boy Scouts, then the Cub Scouts. They will proceed to the altar through the commands of the Scoutmaster.
DECORATIONS: The altar will be adorned with blue and gold flowers and ribbons.
The Eagles will proceed to sit up along the outer edges of the altar and the others will sit dispersed throughout the sanctuary. All will be dressed in uniform and at some point in the service, they will all be asked to stand.
The pastor(s) will follow the scouts and proceed to their normal positions. One Boy Scout and one Cub will sit on opposite sides of the pastor.
A Boy Scout will perform the CALL TO WORSHIP:
Pastor: To you, O Lord, we lift up our souls; in you we trust, O God.
People: Show us your ways, O Lord, teach us your paths.
Pastor: Guide us in your truth and teach us, for you are God our Savior, and our hope is in you all day long.
People: Walk with us today, protect us during our rest and wake with us tomorrow.
Pastor: Remember our oath of Baptism as we listen to the oath of the Scouts.
ALL SCOUTS: On my honor I will do my best…mentally awake, and morally straight.
Almighty God, creator of us all; grant us the patience to wait and listen to your voice. Help us not to seek the answers in the silence of prayer, but rather let your thoughts, God, travel to us and through us as we dare to ascend your mountain of law, your holy hill of truth.
O God, how thankful we are that you have come into our lives through the Holy Spirit. You know, Lord, that we're not perfect, that we want to improve. Show us where we can.
We pray today for God's children - all the children of the world. May they find peace and love in their families and schools and learn the love of Jesus Christ for each and every one of them through our lives as we interact with them on a daily basis. We also pray for our young people, who are seeking a cause which is worthy of their life's commitment and a leader who is deserving of their devotion. We know that our youth must deal with a host of options. So, we pray that they may choose Jesus Christ.
We pray you will be with our Scouts as they continue to follow the Scout Law and work toward being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND INTRODUCTIONS:
A pastor will introduce the Eagle Scouts individually, acknowledge those in the congregation who are Eagle Scouts and give a brief account of the scouting program at the church. At this time, anyone who was ever a scout or involved in scouting is asked to stand.
PERFORMANCE OF THE RAVEN DANCERS(OPTIONAL)
Two Boy Scouts will give the responsive reading with the congregation participating.
The Scout will introduce the Scout Law and ask the congregation to stand and say the first stanza:
Congregation: "The Scout law is a guiding light to millions of boys and young adults throughout the world today, but the principles of the law have been brought to us from ancient days." (Exodus 20:16)
Scout: A Scout is trustworthy.
Congregation: He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. (Luke 16:10)
Scout: A Scout is loyal
Congregation: You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Leviticus 19:18)
Scout: A Scout is helpful
Congregation: Love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. (Psalm 133)
Scout: A Scout is friendly
Congregation: Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 6:1-3)
Scout: A Scout is courteous
Congregation: A righteous man has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel. (Proverbs 12:10)
Scout: A Scout is kind
Congregation: Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee and thou mayest live long on the earth. (Ephesians 6:1-3)
Scout: A Scout is obedient
Congregation: A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of hear the spirit is broken. The mind of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly. All the days of the afflicted are evil, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast.
Scout: A Scout is cheerful
Congregation: Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer or ruler, she prepares her food in summer, and gathers her sustenance in harvest. (Proverbs 6:6-8)
Scout: A Scout is thrifty
Congregation: Be strong and of good courage, do not fear or be in dread of them: for it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Scout: A Scout is brave
Congregation: Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord, and vindication from the God of his salvation. (Psalm 24:3-5)
Scout: A Scout is clean
Congregation: And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. (Mark 12:30)
All Scouts Together: A Scout is reverent, he is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties and respects the convictions of others in matters of custom and religion.
(Information gathered from "A Scout is Reverent" — Scout Sunday Observance — a suggested format, published by the Boy Scouts of America.
SONG: "Standing on the Promises" (No. 374, UMH)
CHILDREN'S SERMON: "What is in your backpack?" (to be given by an older scout)
Have a Scout bring a backpack in front of the congregation and invite the children to come forward.
"I wonder what kind of things are in this backpack?" Let the children wonder about this for a short while.
"As you know, a Scout is always prepared. When a Scout goes into the wilderness, he should have certain things…"
Bring out some food and discuss the importance of food (keep the body physically strong, see oath)
"I wonder if you have ever seen food in this place?" Some of the children may be able to connect the food of the backpack to the food that is brought to us in communion.
Bring out some water and discuss the importance of having water.
"I wonder if you have ever seen water in this place?" Here the blood of Christ may be brought up as well as the waters of Baptism.
Bring out a tent, or some kind of representation of a tent.
"I wonder if you have ever been protected by shelter in the middle of a storm?" Jesus is the rock on which we built this house. (You could bring up Matthew 7:24-26, but there are many house metaphors in the New Testament.)
Bring out some matches and a candle and light the candle.
"I wonder what we could do with this candle?" Heating, cooking, giving light are all responses that may come up. "How has Jesus shown us his light?"
Bring out a compass.
"I wonder what this does? Have you ever been lost? I wonder how you can find God?"
"Remember that God is always with us. Any time you want, you can always talk to him." (Send the children back to their seats.
SOLO BY BOY SCOUT: "All Creatures of our God and King" (No. 62, UMH)
CHOIR SINGS: "All Glory, Laud and Honor" (No. 280, UMH)
SCRIPTURE READING: "The Good Samaritan" (Luke 10:25-37). Done by a Cub Scout
SERMON: "The Greatest Scoutmaster of All"
* Tell a personal story about being involved with the scouting program.
* Bring in extensive scriptures from Isaiah to expound on the servanthood of a scout.
* Explain how God is the greatest Scoutmaster of all and parallel the human scoutmaster with God. Go into detail about the kindness, leadership, forgiveness, understanding, guidance, and loyalty of a scoutmaster.
* Go into detail about how a scoutmaster give his time, his heart and his mind to scouting.
* Use passages from Luke to accent the goodness of a scout.
* Tell the story of a scout and his relationship to God.
* Commend all the scouts for what they do in the presence of God.
* Mention the parents for supporting their scouts in the presence of God.
SONG: "Jesus Loves Me, this I know" (No. 191, UMH)
BENEDICTION: (Performed by a Cub Scout)
May the Greatest Scoutmaster of all scouts be with you and may the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord shine his eyes upon you, be kind and gracious unto you, and may the Lord look on you with favor and give you peace.
As he walks up the aisle, the pastor is flanked by the Boy Scouts, carrying the Boy Scout and U.S. flags. The Christian flag is left at the altar. They conclude the ceremony by posting the flags at the back of the sanctuary.
FELLOWSHIP HALL (Optional):
Decorate the hall with blue and gold ribbons and have tables with descriptions of the requirements of each Eagle Scout badge. The tables will also display pictures of the badges and discuss the final projects and steps a scout has to take in order to become an Eagle.
Coffee and cookies provided by the scout organization.
--Karen W. Schneider is pursuing a Master of Divinity Degree from Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colo. She is director of membership development and spiritual/pastoral care at Grace Church in Denver. Both of her sons were Boy Scouts, and she and her husband were involved in scouting for more than 15 years.