The Presbyterian Church at Woodbury
May 15, 2022
Fifth Sunday of Easter
Almighty, all-merciful God, through Christ Jesus you have taught us to love one another, to love our neighbors as ourselves, and even to love our enemies. In times of violence and fear, let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, so that we may not be overcome with evil but overcome evil with good. Help us to see each person in light of the love and grace you have shown us in Christ. Put away the nightmares of terror and awaken us to the dawning of your new creation. Establish among us a future where peace reigns, justice is done with mercy, and all are reconciled. We ask these things in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
PRELUDE “Partita on ‘Italian Hymn’” Anthony Giamanco
CALL TO WORSHIP
Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and women alike, old and young together!
Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted;
his glory is above earth and heaven.
*HYMN No. 714 “God of the Fertile Fields”
1 God of the fertile fields,
shaper of earth that yields
our daily bread:
forth from your bounteous hand
come gifts your love has planned,
that all in every land
be clothed and fed.
2 We would be stewards true,
holding in trust from you
all that you give;
help us in love to share,
teach us like you to care
for people everywhere,
that all may live.
3 As grows the hidden seed
to fruit that serves our need,
so your reign grows.
Let all our toil be used,
no gift of yours abused,
no humble task refused
your love bestows.
4 God of the countryside,
dear to the Christ who died
to make us one:
we pledge our lives anew
in faithful love to you.
Guide all we say and do.
Your will be done.
*CALL TO RECONCILIATION
The chaos of our world confuses us and leads us astray. Let us return to the clarity God can provide through our prayer of confession.
*PRAYER FOR CONFESSION
Eternal God, we dissociate from parts of your creation and falsely separate into clean and unclean. You call us to love one another and make more space at the table of belonging. Forgive our exclusion and judgment. Cleanse us of the sin that distorts your truth. Amen.
Silence is observed
*ASSURANCE OF PARDON
We are a part of God’s transformed creation. God is among us making all things new. Claim this grace. Know God’s forgiveness. Rise with Christ to a life made new. 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.
*PASSING OF THE PEACE OF CHRIST
Since God has forgiven us in Christ, let us forgive one another. The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
And also with you.
ANTHEM Benedictus” Michael Scott
THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM for Jacob and Hanna Piontek
On behalf of the session, I present _________________________, the children of __________ and __________, to receive the sacrament of Baptism.
MEANING OF BAPTISM
__________ and __________, you stand here now, a mother and a father into whose keeping God has dared to entrust a human soul, who is precious to you, but infinitely more precious to Him.
When your little child was born __________ came not into a cold and unregarding world, but into your home, where warmth and love awaited __________, and where many things had been thought out and prepared in advance of __________ coming. This sacrament means that in a far deeper sense preparation even more wonderful than yours have been made for your very child by the very hand of God.
It means that God’s love, in addition to yours, has waited down the centuries for this particular child, and will gladly spend itself in __________behalf.
You come now, having previously declared your own faith in Christ as Lord and Savior, to receive your child from God’s very hand, and to hear Him say to you: “This is your child, yes! But in a deeper sense, this child is mine, entrust for a time to your keeping.”
And the answer you make to God now is that, though you have great dreams for this little __________ and are prepared to deny yourselves for year in order that __________ may have __________ chance, yet what you really choose above all else for the little child is that all __________ days __________ may know Jesus Christ, and may love and serve Him.
In presenting your child for baptism, do you confess your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior; and do you promise, in dependence on the grace of God, to bring up your child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? WE DO.
Do you, the members of this congregation, in the name of the whole Church of Christ, undertake with these parents, the Christian nurture of this child, so that in due time __________ may confess faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? WE DO.
Will you endeavor by your examples and fellowship to strengthen their family ties with the household of God? WE WILL.
PRAYER OVER THE WATER
Most merciful and loving Father, we thank you for the church of your dear Son, the ministry of you Word, and the sacraments of grace. We praise you that you have given us such gracious promises concerning our children, and that in mercy you call them to you, marking them with this sacrament as a singular token and pledge of your love. Set apart this water from a common to a sacred use, and grant that what we now do on earth may be confirmed in heaven.
As in humble faith, we present this child to you, we ask you to receive __________, to endue __________ with your Holy Spirit, and to keep __________ ever as your own; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
__________, child of the covenant, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
WALK DOWN THE AISLE
Our Father, when we give you our children, we give ourselves, since they are bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. When we give them to you, we keep them forever. When we offer them your bondage, it is perfect freedom. When we bid them love you best, they also love us the more.
Bless this father, we pray. May he continue to make his life the window through which his child shall better see and understand you as heavenly Father.
Bless this mother, O God, may she without pageantry mold this clay quietly into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Not just for __________ and __________, but for all parents in our midst.
And, O God, bless this little __________. Give __________ what __________ shall need most tomorrow; enough tears to keep __________ tender; enough hurts to keep __________ human; enough failure to keep __________ hands clenched to yours; and enough success to make __________ sure __________ walks with you. May __________ never be ashamed of you. May __________ never depart from you. And after a life of love and service to __________ Master, take __________ to be with yourself in your heavenly kingdom. Not just for __________, but for all the children in our midst, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
PLEASE JOIN ME IN THE UNISON PRAYER OF ILLUMINATION…
Guide us into your word, God our helper, that we might hear the message you intend for us today. Amen.
THE SCRIPTURE READING FOR TODAY IS Revelation 21:1-6.
LET US READ AND HEAR, GOD’S WORD TOGTHER:
21Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; 4he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” 5And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.
PAUSE – COUNT TO 10
THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD.
THANKS BE TO GOD
SERMON Ashley Griffith
Executive Director Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity
Since its inception in 1986, Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity (GCHFH) has continued its mission to provide quality housing to those in need. It has served Gloucester County’s more than 290,000 residents by providing low-income families with the opportunity to purchase safe, decent and affordable homes that improve the family’s quality of life and strengthens communities throughout the county.
On Sunday, May 15, we will have Habitat’s Executive Director, Ashley Griffiths join us during 9:30am worship to share about the current ministry. Ashley earned a B.A. in History from Temple University and is a proud AmeriCorps alumna, for which she credits teaching her the importance of leadership and turning talk into action to implement change In her spare time, Ashley enjoys the performing arts and can be seen on stage in plays and musicals throughout the Philadelphia/South Jersey area.
*AFFIRMATION OF FAITH Nicene Creed
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
*HYMN No. 250 “In the Bulb There Is a Flower”
1 In the bulb there is a flower;
in the seed, an apple tree;
in cocoons, a hidden promise:
butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter
there’s a spring that waits to be,
unrevealed until its season,
something God alone can see.
2 There’s a song in every silence,
seeking word and melody;
there’s a dawn in every darkness,
bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future;
what it holds, a mystery,
unrevealed until its season,
something God alone can see.
3 In our end is our beginning;
in our time, infinity;
in our doubt there is believing;
in our life, eternity.
In our death, a resurrection;
at the last, a victory,
unrevealed until its season,
something God alone can see.
PASTORAL PRAYER & THE LORD’S PRAYER
O God, our Alpha and Omega, you accompany us on our journey, you are with us from beginning to end. As we pause today to ponder your grace and the sustenance of your Spirit, we also petition you on behalf of the world and the world’s needs. In your mercy, Beloved God, hear the prayers of your people.
Holy One, you make your home among us mortals, you dwell with us and know our pain. We read of John’s vision in revelation and pray for the day when you will wipe the tears from our eyes, when mourning and death will be no more. Our souls cry out to you, Great God of Comfort, our fear stakes its claim in our hearts as wars rage and storms destroy and we argue over the best course to take in all the chaos and confusion. Calm these turbulent seas, God of all creation. Restore us to peace and calm.
You are at work among us, you who hear our pleas. You are making all things new. Your Word is trustworthy and true, yet we are impatient in our need. Redeem this world, we pray. Answer the groans of your creation. Hold evil at bay, dam the rising seas, and plant our feet on dry ground. May the rumbles of unrest be steadied by your strong and faithful hand.
In your mercy, Beloved God, hear the prayers of your people. We commit our lives to you.
Now, as the body of Christ, we pray as Christ taught us, “Our Father …”
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
The Flowers are given in the glory and honor of God by Thomas Moore in loving memory of his loving wife Arlene; by Joyce and Gary Mixner and family; by The Evans Family in loving memory of Douglas A. Evans Jr.; by Hazel Skinner in loving memory of her parents Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Weldie; and by Mr. and Mrs. Fred Schnarr and family in loving memory of Margaret E. Sallinger.
The Rosebuds are in honor of the baptism of Jacob and Hanna Piontek, children of Mike Piontek and Sarah Harris.
OFFERING OF TITHES & OFFERINGS
God dwells among us making all things new. Let us participate in this new creation by offering our gifts to God.
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.
* PRAYER OF DEDICATION
Grateful for your radical hospitality and steadfast love we present these gifts to you, God. Use them to further your will and transform our world into your new, redeemed creation. Amen.
*HYMN No. 264 “At the Name of Jesus”
1 At the name of Jesus
every knee shall bow,
every tongue confess him
King of glory now;
’tis the Father’s pleasure
we should call him Lord,
who from the beginning
was the mighty Word.
2 Humbled for a season
to receive a name
from the lips of sinners
unto whom he came,
faithfully he bore it
spotless to the last,
brought it back victorious,
when from death he passed;
3 Bore it up triumphant,
with its human light,
through all ranks of creatures,
to the central height,
to the throne of Godhead,
to the Father’s breast,
filled it with the glory
of that perfect rest.
4 Christians, this Lord Jesus
shall return again,
with his Father’s glory
o’er the earth to reign;
for all wreaths of empire
meet upon his brow,
and our hearts confess him
King of glory now.
Christ is risen!
Christ is risen, indeed!
Live into the hope of Christ’s resurrection! Honor the God who redeems and renews!
May the grace, hope, peace and love of God our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer be with you now and always.