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February 12, 2023
Sixth Sunday after Epiphany
10:00 am

WELCOME and Presentation of the Colors


Almighty God, we pray for your blessing on the church in this place. Here may the faithful find salvation, and the careless be awakened. Here may the doubting find faith, and the anxious be encouraged. Here may the tempted find help, and the sorrowful comfort. Here may the weary find rest, and the strong be renewed. Here may the aged find consolation and the young be inspired. Through Christ our Lord. Amen



Cry out with joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness. Come into God’s presence with singing!
For the
Lord is a gracious God, whose mercy is everlasting; and whose faithfulness endures to all generations.
Come let us worship the

*HYMN No. 450 Be Thou My Vision

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art

Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,

Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;

I ever
with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;

Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;

Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:

Raise Thou me
heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:

Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,

High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’
s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,

Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.


If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But, if we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. In humility and faith, let us confess our sin to God.


Eternal God, our judge and redeemer, we confess that we have tried to hide from you, for we have done wrong. We have lived for ourselves, and apart from you. We have turned from our neighbors, and refused to bear the burdens of others. We have ignored the pain of the world, and passed by the hungry, the poor and the oppressed. In your great mercy forgive our sins and free us from selfishness, that we may choose your will and obey your commandments; through Jesus Christ our Savior.

Silence is observed


Hear the good news! Who is in a position to condemn? Only Christ, and Christ died for us, Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, Christ prays for us. Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. The old life has gone, a new life has begun. Know that you are forgiven and be at peace. Amen

*RESPONSE No. 581 “Glory Be To The Father”

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen, amen.


Since God has forgiven us in Christ, let us forgive one another. May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
And also with you


CHILDREN’S MESSAGE Kristen Franchetti


Lord, open our hearts and minds by the power of your holy spirit, that as the scriptures are read, and your word is proclaimed, we may hear with joy what you say to us today. Amen.

SCRIPTURE I Cor. 3: 19 Dawn Witherspoon

SERMON “Infants in Christ” Milt Fredericks

Today is an important day in America; but not perhaps for the reason many here would suspect, for it has nothing to do with football. Today we celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday he was born in 1809, 214 year ago in a cabin, the size of the little front office in the church. I sent a card this year, not to him, but to the caretaker of the Lincoln library in Springfield Illinois; expressing my thanks and appreciation for a public servant who embraced the concept of saving the union and not trying to destroy it.

It is hard to believe that when I was a young boy reading my first book about Lincoln, it was only 88 years since the civil war ended and now it is so far deeper in my past. There were so many lessons to have been learned from that time; as Shelby Foote once said, American history is defined by the civil war; our early history leads up to it and our latter history is a result of it. Some things were learned to be sure, but we sadly are still in need of much more learning. And yet amidst that sadness comes the possibility of an enriched hope to not only continue to strive to form a more perfect union, but to secure the blessings of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to all people. Perhaps, even some 247 years after declaring our independence, we are still in the infancy period of democracy.

And so it may be for us in our faith as well. Today we are using two scripture readings, the first from I Corinthians is one of the texts to coincide with this date on the liturgical calendar. The second is one found in chapter 5 of Adam Hamilton’s book, “The Walk,” which we are using for this particular study season. But, either by coincidence, or as I would believe, by the work of the Holy Spirit they seem to blend quite well.

It is interesting to point out, using the footnotes in my Bible, that Paul called the Corinthians infants in the Christian life, because they were not spiritually healthy and mature. In fact, they quarreled at times like children, allowing divisions to distract them and deterring them from following God‘s desires and not their own.

If we might step back again for a moment to the earlier comparison in the founding of our nation, one only need read about the turmoil surrounding the articles of confederation, the federalist papers and the first continental congress to see glaring examples of individuals clearly infants in that difficult process of moving from fighting for freedom to governing with freedom. With that comparison being made let us return to today’s scripture. 

The apostle Paul’s point here is that in these early days of the church, so many were too caught up in following men and not God. He pointed out that all of them, including himself, were mere men and were only to be servants. Yes, they and others had done the tasks, but these were tasks assigned by God and we are fellow workers in all of this, always giving glory to God.

This harkens back to the words of Jesus himself to the disciples, in what is called the great commission. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father, the son and the holy spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you and surely I am with you until the very end of the age:

These words close out the gospel of Matthew. These are the instructions to all to go, to share in the richness of God, to teach, to give testimony and to live a life of that testimony.

Again, we are drawn back to the parallels in our nation, as they can be found in the preamble to the constitution, the Gettysburg address, Dr. Kings I have a dream speech… All incredible writings with that indelible call to service and action. These lessons, of morality and civil governess must be taught, not just by what children learn in school but by what they witness at home. It is no different whether we are referencing a scholastic education or the lessons of the ten commandment and the sermon on the mount. What children witness and hear and feel are their first steps in learning.

We know that when children start to learn anything, they are excited, and often on their own use repetition to enhance that learning, and know also that it works. As they grow they learn more, their curiosity grows, they may cultivate and fertilize the seeds of their artistic, musical, linguistic or athletic talents to hone those skills. Hopefully they will be able to open their vision and their minds, to visit or witness a variety of cultures, viewpoints and environments as well. In short, they will continue to work on the essential practices of their hobbies, interests, and avocations. In conjunction with their scholastic practices.

This framework, is the subtitle of Adam Hamilton’s book, “The Walk The Five Essential Practices of the Christian Faith, and what are those five essential practices? They are worship and prayer, study, serving, giving and sharing. A wellconstructed game plan, so to speak easily laid out, not always so easy to do. But that is our commission as we move in our own lives from that simpler understanding of our faith as a child to a deeper more complex
knowledge, as we grow older and hopefully mature. But the tasks never change for there are new lives to touch every day.

These five essential practices of the Christian faith are great guidelines for us as we continue to evolve as practitioners of the greatest message ever delivered and the greatest commission ever given. These practices call for attention to detail, for patience, for diligence and for a strong faith that God is with us always = even in the darkest of valleys a faith and a firm believing in the overwhelming light of hope to guide our way and we shall pray with our voices in song, Lord, the light of your love is shining.

Let us now examine a little more closely hope, for it is deserving much more than the casual definition of something you would like to see happen. Hope is much stronger, it is a deeper commitment, it is, in many ways the primary guiding force in our beliefs. It is not wishy, washy, simplistic or trivial – for  real hope has strength and that kind of strength is what we need now.

In our church, in our national church and in the world church we seem to be in a time of doubt, confusion and in some dare I say fear, about the future of not only the Presbyterian church, but the Christian church as well. You hear the references to us living in a post Christian era, that the faith has aged, run its course and is no longer relevant or applicable to this modern time. Not exactly the backdrop you might choose as a parent or Sunday school teacher to motivate you in making a disciple of children.

My 60 and over group just finished a book by Brian McLaren, former English professor, pastor and theologian. Called, “Do I stay a Christian- a Guide for the Doubters, the Disappointed and the Disillusioned”. It is a very challenging book, presented in 28 chapters with reason on staying a Christian, divided into 3 sections yes, no and how?

I must admit the first 80 pages had me reeling. I was ready to throw in the towel, but thankfully didn’t as everything seemed to come full circle. Yes there are reasons for doubt and maybe fear, but the story is more complex than we first imagine, and this is where hope comes in.

For the purpose of my message today I will refer to chapter 14 in the yes section. Why I should stay a Christian, entitled because it would be a shame to leave a religion in its infancy.

Now some of you might be thinking, infancy, what are you talking about? Our religion is roughly 2000 years old, we have had divisions, and schisms and reformations and crusades and on and on. We’ve been around a long time.

Have we? Not in the eyes of God. A very well know prayer often used at funerals tells us eternal God, we acknowledge the uncertainty of our life on earth. We are given a mere handful of days and our span of life seems nothing in your sight. To capsulate the comparison, think of it this way, our universe, as of most recent knowledge is at least 14 billion years old and our planet, one of almost countless stars collected space debris and dust about 5 billion years ago. 1.5 billion years ago, single cell organisms and plants came forth and what we call animals start showing up 800 million years ago diversifying for the next 250 million years. Until the second almost mass extinction event occurs some 60 million years ago and from that around 200,000 years ago our ancestors appear. While told in a different way it is the story of creation. It is the witness to the power and majesty of God. The days may not have been 24
hours, but all we have, all we see all we are, all we can be is no accident or coincidence.

So, our 2,000 year history is a click on the clock of time; but please do not dismiss this history and this faith as irrelevant or insignificant. We need to look at it this way, in the light of time, we are young. As far as in the existence of homo erectus, we are 1% or in other words, if we, as a faith, have a life expectancy of 80, we are 10 months old right now. Certainly we are infants in that regard and not only do we not have to become extinct, we have the  opportunity to continue to evolve as Ilia Deleo writes in her book, making all things new we need to see our religions as sources of energy than can mature and guide us forward, that something big and beautiful and alive is evolving in the universe and it is so much bigger than any or all of us.

This book challenged my faith and made it stronger by far. I reexamined my thinking, my praying, my listening and I began to feel a renewed optimism. And I feel the same for our church and the church at large. Challenges will be met and we shall view them as opportunities. Now, as parents, and Sunday school teachers and church leaders let us build upon this lesson of hope for the future.

We don’t know everything now, but learning is forever, when I was a child I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror, but then we shall see face to face and shall fully know. It is the love of Christ which shall sustain our faith and renew our hope. Thanks be to God.


I believe in God, the father almighty, maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only son our Lord; who was conceived by the holy ghost, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried. He descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the father almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the holy ghost, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting, amen

*HYMN No. 192 “Shine Jesus Shine”

Lord, the light of your love is shining
In the midst of the darkness, shining
Jesus, Light of the world shine upon us
Set us free by the truth you now bring us
Shine on me, Shine on me.

Shine, Jesus, shine

Fill this land with the Father’s glory
Blaze, Spirit, blaze
Set our hearts on fire
Flow, river, flow
Flood the nations with grace and mercy
Send forth your word

Lord, and let there be light.
Lord, I come to your awesome presence
From the shadows into your radiance
By the blood i may enter your brightness
Search me, try me, Consume all my darkness
Shine on me, shine on me.

Shine, Jesus, shine
Fill this land with the Father’s glory
Blaze, Spirit, blaze
Set our hearts on fire
Flow, river, flow
Flood the nations with grace and mercy
Send forth your word
Lord, and let there be light.





*RESPONSE No. 609 “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow”

Praise God, from whom all blessing flow, Praise God, all creatures here below. Alleluia, Alleluia Praise God in Jesus fully known; Creator, Word, and Spirit one. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.



*HYMN No. 315 “In the Midst of New Dimensions”
In the midst of new dimensions, in the face of changing ways. Who will lead the pilgrim peoples wandering in their separate ways?
[Refrain] God of rainbow, fiery pillar, leading where the eagles soar, We your people, ours the journey now and ever, now and ever, now and ever more.
Through the flood of starving people, warring factions and despair, Who will lift the olive branches? Who will light the flame of care?
As we stand a world divided by our own self-seeking schemes, Grant that we, your global village might envision wider dreams
We are man and we are woman, all persuasions, old and young, Each a gift in your creation, each a love song to be sung.
Should the threats of dire predictions cause us to withdraw in pain, May your blazing phoenix spirit, resurrect the church again.