The Presbyterian Church at Woodbury

April 24, 2022
Second Sunday of Easter
9:30 am



Loving and merciful One, we thank you for the community in which you have placed us, for the brothers and sisters with whom we walk this pilgrim journey. Yet, we confess that we fail to love as you love. We push aside those whom we believe are the least in your Kingdom.  We fail to see your Kingdom in parables because we fail to see your Kingdom in each other. Form in us a new vision of community in which there is neither East nor West, neither South nor North.  We pray for the sake of your Kingdom that both is and is not yet. Amen.



We come, for God gathers us here, with that community called faith:
where the hungry are served first, where the thirsty drink life’s water.
We come, for God welcomes us here into that home called grace:
where the naked are clothed in robes of hope;
where the stranger is embraced as the long-lost prodigal.

We come, for God reunites us here,
sisters and brothers in that family called love:
where the imprisoned model justice,
where the sick are cradled in God’s peace.

*HYMN No. 234 “Come, You Faithful, Raise the Strain”

1 Come, you faithful, raise the strain 
of triumphant gladness!
God has brought forth Israel 
into joy from sadness,
loosed from Pharaoh’s bitter yoke 
Jacob’s sons and daughters;
led them with unmoistened foot
through the Red Sea waters.

2 ’Tis the spring of souls today: 
Christ has burst his prison,
and from three days’ sleep in death 
as a sun has risen.
All the winter of our sins,
long and dark, is flying 
from the Light, to whom we give
laud and praise undying.

3 Now the queen of seasons, bright 
with the day of splendor, 
with the royal feast of feasts
comes its joy to render;
comes to glad Jerusalem, 
who with true affection
welcomes in unwearied strains 
Jesus’ resurrection!

4 Neither could the gates of death, 
nor the tomb’s dark portal,
nor the watchers, nor the seal 
hold you as a mortal:
but today, among your own, 
you appear, bestowing
your deep peace, which evermore 
passes human knowing. 


They are the promises stretching back into the dim recesses of time, yet as new as this very moment.  When we lose our way, God searches for us until we are found. When we hurt others, God brings healing to all.  When we sin, God forgives us. Let us hold these promises close to our hearts, as we confess those things we try to hide.


We stock the food pantries, but brush aside those who hunger for friendship.  We give our hand-me-downs away, but overlook those whose hopes have been stripped away.  We glad-hand those just like us, but turn a deaf ear to our neighbors who ‘talk funny.’  Forgive us, Hope of the ages.  You persistently search for us in the side streets of the world, gathering us up and bringing us home, so we may be drenched in the waters of your bottomless pool of forgiveness, watched over by your Child, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. 

Silence is observed


God searches for the lost,
and finds us;
God invites the hungry to the table,
and feeds us;
God sends Jesus,
and frees us from death’s prison;
God forgives all who sin,
and heals us with mercy and grace.
Thanks be to God. Amen.

*RESPONSE No. 609, Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow.  Praise God, all creatures high and low. Alleluia, alleluia!  Praise God, in Jesus fully known: Creator, Word, and Spirit one. Alleluia, alleluia! Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!


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.



Gracious Spirit who is, was, and is to come, bless us with your wisdom as we gather around your Word. Help us to hear what you are saying to your Church this day. Amen 

SCRIPTURE Matthew 25:31-40

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,[a] you did it to me.’

SERMON                  “Family Promise”                Rosemarie Parker              

*AFFIRMATION OF FAITH                   The Apostles’ Creed

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. 231 “Christ has risen while earth slumbers”

1 Christ has risen while earth slumbers;
Christ has risen where hope died, 
as he said and as he promised, 
as we doubted and denied.
Let the moon embrace the blessing; 
let the sun sustain the cheer; 
let the world confirm the rumor: 
Christ is risen, God is here!

2 Christ has risen for the people 
whom he died to love and save; 
Christ has risen for the women 
bringing flowers to grace his grave. 
Christ has risen for disciples
huddled in an upstairs room. 
He whose word inspired creation 
can’t be silenced by the tomb.

3 Christ has risen and for ever 
lives to challenge and to change 
all whose lives are messed or mangled, 
all who find religion strange. 
Christ is risen, Christ is present 
making us what he has been:
evidence of transformation 
in which God is known and seen.



Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed! We join our voices with the chorus of creation, praising our God of resurrection glory! The trajectory of death has been disrupted. God’s promise of a world made new, redeemed by Christ’s passion, is worthy of trumpets, tambourines, and dance! We celebrate you, Savior God. We adore you. We approach you in prayer full of gratitude and praise.

Even though the lilies that adorn our sanctuaries are still fresh and our lives know happiness and joy, we continue to grieve the state of our world, the illness that lays so many low, the violence of war and the troubled spirits of those oppressed. Hear our prayers for peace, Redeeming God. Heal the rifts that break us apart. Humble the tyrants hell-bent on war. Empower the diplomats with non- violent strategies. Protect the people of Ukraine and other places of conflict.

Encourage us, God of grace, in our witness. May we not fear or avoid your call to shine and sing. Give us the courage to face our painful truths so we can participate in necessary and faithful change. Grant us the wisdom to learn from our past so we can help build towards your glorious future. Guide us in all we say and do, Inspiring God, so we can bear witness to the hope you offer and the path Christ has paved.

As the Body of Christ, hear us now as 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.



If our offering enables us to feed the hungry, give a drink of clean water to the thirsty, welcome a stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned, then Christ himself will bless that offering. Hear him say, “Come, blessed ones of my Father, and inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, for as you did it for one of the least of my brothers and sisters, you did it for me.”



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.


May these gifts bring light to those who walk in darkness, hope to those who live in despair, and justice to those who are oppressed. Grant to each giver a sense of participation in the most important opportunity of all time: to share your love with the world. To this end we dedicate our offerings and ourselves. Amen. 

*HYMN No. 244 “This Joyful Eastertide”

This joyful Eastertide, 
away with care and sorrow! 
My Love, the Crucified, 
hath sprung to life this morrow. 
Had Christ, that once was slain, 
ne’er burst his three-day prison, 
our faith had been in vain; 
but now is Christ arisen, 
arisen, arisen, arisen.

Death’s flood hath lost its chill, 
since Jesus crossed the river: 
Lover of souls, from ill 
my passing soul deliver, 
Had Christ, that once was slain, 
ne’er burst his three-day prison, 
our faith had been in vain; 
but now is Christ arisen, 
arisen, arisen, arisen.

My flesh in hope shall rest, 
and for a season slumber, 
till trump from east to west 
shall wake the dead in number. 
Had Christ, that once was slain, 
ne’er burst his three-day prison, 
our faith had been in vain; 
but now is Christ arisen, 
arisen, arisen, arisen.


We will go now into God’s world:
to bring healing to the sick and hope to the despairing.
We will go now to serve Jesus’ sisters and brothers:
to offer a hand to those who have fallen, 
to put a warm coat around those who shiver in the cold.
We will go now to share the Spirit with everyone we meet:
to be a companion to those in prisons as well as those bound by injustice,
to bring the cup of grace to every parched soul.

Family Promise of Southwest New Jersey
Rosemarie Parker

Rosemarie Parker headshot

Family Promise of Southwest New Jersey is an affiliate of a nationwide organization whose mission is to help homeless working families achieve sustainable independence through a community-based response. Our vision is a nation in which every family has a home, a livelihood, and the chance to build a better future.  Our affiliate was founded in 2003 and welcomed our first family in December of 2005. Family Promise connects the resources of over 500 volunteers throughout our community and partners with a variety of other nonprofit and social service organizations to assist families in reaching their goals of permanent housing.  We are delighted to welcome Rosemarie Parker, Chief Executive Officer today to share about this on-going ministry supported by our congregation