The Presbyterian Church at Woodbury

Third Sunday after Epiphany
January 23, 2022
Worship Notes



God of all good gifts, we thank you and praise you. Your Spirit has touched our lives, bringing wisdom, ability, strength, courage, and passion. Enable us to use our gifts in service to you and to others. In all that we do, and in all that we are, may your name be glorified, that your kingdom will be with us and reside here on this earth. We pray this in the name of your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

PRELUDE                   “Sacred Invocation”              Edward Broughton


The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart, enlightening the eyes.
The ordinances of the Lord are to be more desired than gold.
They are sweeter than honey, the drippings of the honeycomb.
Let the words of our mouths and the meditations of all of our hearts be acceptable to you, O Lord, our rock and our redeemer.

*HYMN No. 641 “When in Our Music God is Glorified”

1 When in our music God is glorified,
and adoration leaves no room for pride,
it is as though the whole creation cried:

2 How often, making music, we have found
a new dimension in the world of sound,
as worship moved us to a more profound

3 So has the church, in liturgy and song,
in faith and love, through centuries of wrong,
borne witness to the truth in every tongue:

4 And did not Jesus sing a psalm that night
when utmost evil strove against the light?
Then let us sing, for whom he won the fight:

5 Let every instrument be tuned for praise!
Let all rejoice who have a voice to raise!
And may God give us faith to sing always:


In this season of Epiphany, we are reminded that our God is constantly revealing God’s self to us, that we may see and know our Creator. Let us honor and accept this gift by opening our whole hearts through confession.


Christ, you came to share good news with the poor and oppressed. You came to release the captives and grant sight to the blind. We, like the crowds that surrounded you at the beginning of your ministry, are fickle. We praise you when your words comfort us and deny your good news means that we need to sacrifice something. Forgive us, God, for our wayward and fleeting love. We are blind to the true implications of your gospel. Help us to see that we may join in your proclamation of good news. Amen.  



Who is in a position to condemn? Only Christ, and Christ died for us, Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, and Christ prays for us.  In Christ, you are forgiven; you are beloved; you are seen. Hold on to this truth.

*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.


Our peace comes from knowing how much God loves us in Jesus Christ. With God’s help, we try to love and forgive one another as Christ loves and forgives us.
“The peace of Christ be with you,”
“And also with you.”

ANTHEM                   “Lift Your Light”                    Mary McDonald



Creator God, your Word is a gift. It is our inheritance as the people of God. We give thanks, and we ask, Holy Spirit, that you move in this place. Open our hearts and eyes to hear what we need to hear, to know what we ought to do, and to follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.  

SCRIPTURE   1 Corinthians 12:12-31

12For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.13For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.14Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 21The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,23and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; 24whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, 25that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 26If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.

27Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. 29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.


Rev. Shannon J. Kershner’s mother taught fourth grade in a Waco, Texas public school until she happily retired after 30 years as an educator. During her teaching years, she always had plenty of stories to tell according to Shannon and one centered on the experience of a little girl in her class. This little fourth-grade girl had red hair, was fairly short in stature, and quite shy. Now this is going to sound warm to us here in New Jersey, but in central Texas, winter temperatures often hovered in the upper thirties or low forties. Remember, that is cold there. People complain and wear heavy coats. It was during one of these cold spells when the incident happened in Rev. Kershner’s mother’s classroom.

Every single day—even on the winter days—rain or shine, that little redheaded girl wore the same pair of pink stretch pants to school. Pink stretch pants stretched too taut, worn too thin, and full of too many holes. It was 30 degrees outside, and this little girl was still wearing that same pair of pants. I am sure she had hoped no one would notice.

However, it was difficult, if not impossible, not to notice. The teacher noticed it, as did some of the other students. Two boys in particular, boys dressed in nice coats with nice warm shoes, took a lot of interest in what that little red headed girl wore. They teased and teased—under their breath so my mother could not hear—but loud enough so the little redheaded girl and the students sitting around them could hear. After several days of this teasing, it finally became too much, and the little girl started to cry. The teacher saw her tears from across the room and was confused until she heard the girl exclaim,

“But I wash them every night.”

Those words broke the educator’s heart, and she quickly intervened, putting an end to that conversation.

Later that day, when everyone else went on to an elective, the teacher held the two boys back for a discussion. She kept her righteous anger under control, even though bullying pushed her buttons. This educator had little patience for that kind of meanness. She began by saying something to those boys she probably should not have said as a public-school teacher. But those two particular boys, knowing her husband was a minister, always talked to the teacher about God and about the churches they attended. Since they had shared those things with her in the past, the teacher decided to ask them about it.

“You two boys go to church, right?”
“Do you really think this is how God wants you to act?”
“Do you really think she wants to wear the same pair of pants to school every single day?”

The boys then wrote a letter of apology to the little redheaded girl. And after school, the teacher went to Walmart and purchased three new outfits along with a coat, to replace those pink pants.

The ancient city of Corinth is described as a hustling, bustling place. People constantly moved in and moved out. Elizabeth Goodrich described Corinth at the time of Paul’s arrival this way: it was a place of religious pluralism and rival cults; there were a great variety of personal lifestyles and confusion about standards of sexual activity; family relationships were breaking down; drug abuse, particularly alcohol abuse, was rampant; there was a fascination with bizarre forms of behavior One of the biggest issues in Corinth, however, was one that is frequently talked about on the campaign trail here in America: the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor and that the poorer residents of the city were being exploited by the wealthier ones.

It was during this time of cultural shifts that the Apostle Paul traveled to Corinth to form a church. Even though he left after about one-and-a-half years to start other churches in other places, he kept in close contact with that young church in Corinth. This letter we call 1 Corinthians is a compilation of some of that contact.

I encourage you to read the whole letter sometime, because as we do, we quickly realize Paul’s young church experienced some spiritual crises. For example, the wealthier members of the Corinthian church were quickly falling back into old urban behavioral patterns and treating the poorer members with disdain. That was bad enough, but when Paul found out what was happening at the Lord’s Supper in particular, what we call Communion, he became more livid than that teacher did with those two boys.

In those days, the celebration of the Lord’s Supper was just one part of a whole entire meal. The meal began with the breaking of the bread and ended with the passing of the cup. It was meant to be a time of community, a time of building up the body, a time of sharing and hospitality for all.

However, the values of urban Corinth had begun to seep into this young church’s practice. Paul heard that the wealthier members who arrived on time for the meal were filling their plates high with much of the food and drinking much of the wine. By the time the poorer members of the church arrived, running late due to shift schedules and 5:00, little was left and the time to break the bread and pass the cup had already passed! At other times, the meal was conducted in typical Roman practice: the wealthy patron served finer food and wine to those from his social rank and less fine food and wine to those of lower rank.  Both practices mirrored the outside culture, and both practices humiliated the poorer church members.

I am sure that, just like the school teacher mentioned earlier, Paul wanted to ring the necks of the church bullies. But Paul decided that instead of writing the letter in all-caps to indicate his righteous anger, he would try a different tack. He chose to offer them an image in the hope they might see for themselves who they were called to be as a church. Homiletics professor Charlie Cousar, used to say “You have to show them; don’t just tell them.” That is what Paul did: “For just as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.”

With those words, Paul offered them an image of who they were to be as church. Actually, he offered them the image of who they were as church. We have to notice that Paul did not say, “Now, you are to be like one body. You are to be like Christ.” No. Paul wrote, “You are one body. And that body belongs to Christ.” Paul desired for that church to know that their actions were considered Christ’s actions. Their gifts and ministries were considered Christ’s gifts and ministries. In their baptism, they had been brought into the body of Christ, into that realm of blessing and challenge, and being Christ’s body was the sole basis of their existence.

Furthermore, Paul reminded this young church that they were not only all parts of the same body, but all of those parts, all of them, mattered to the body. All the parts were crucial. No one got to just opt out of the community. There is no such thing as a private Christian. To be a Christian is to be a part of the body of Christ. And to belong to the body of Christ means to participate in the body of Christ.

Paul used humor to make his point: “If the ear would say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be?” I wonder if Paul wanted to make sure no one would say, “Because I cannot give much money to the church this year, I do not belong to the body.” Or “Because I am old and can no longer hear or move very well, I do not belong to the body.” Or “Because I am single or don’t have kids, I do not have a place in the body.” Or “Because I am experiencing homelessness or barely making it week to week, I do not belong to the body.” Wrong, Paul declared. Every single one of you is a part of the body of Christ. Without you, the body cannot and will not function the way God intends for the body to function.

But Paul was not done. He took his instruction to a higher level. Not only could you not opt out of being a part of the body, but you could not push anyone else out of the body either. You could not say, “Because you wear those same pink pants to school every single day, you cannot be a part of this body.” Or “Because you live in Camden or in Ptiman you cannot be a part of this body.” Or “Because you and I do not agree on gun control or on the Black Lives Matter movement, you cannot be a part of this body.” Wrong, Paul again declared. Without all of you, the body cannot and will not function the way God intends for the body to function.

But he still wasn’t done. Paul took the instruction to an even higher level: “As it is,” Paul declared, “God is the one who arranged the members in the body in the first place, each one of them, as God chose.” Paul wanted them to hear they did not just happen to show up at that house church in Corinth. God called them there together.

None of us just happened to show up here in this congregation at the corner of Broad & Centre. Regardless if this is your first time here or you’ve been here forever, Paul tells us God called all of us here this morning to be together.

God is the one who has arranged for all of us to be Christ’s body together—wealthy people and less-wealthy people and barely-making-it people; straight people and gay people and somewhere on the spectrum people; black people and white people and all-shades-of-skin-color people, able-bodied people and disable-bodied people, new to town people and “I’ve been a part of this church since Dick Craven was the preacher” people, liberal people and conservative people and middle-of-the road people—God arranged for all of us to be Christ’s body together. If one of us suffers—“But I wash them everyday”—then we all suffer together. When one of us is honored, we all rejoice together.

God has done all this on purpose, Paul declared, so there might be no dissension in the body, so that all would have the same care for one another, no matter what. Isn’t that interesting. Instead of fearing a great diversity of people or only wanting to be around folks who are likeminded, Paul indicates God wants it messy and complicated and as diverse as it can be so that all might learn to love each other without competition and without fear.

With that, Paul continued his written sermon by discussing the power of each member having different gifts and different callings within the same body. I imagine that by this point of the letter, those wealthy Corinthian members were wishing he would have just yelled and gotten it over with, while the poorer members were trying to figure out how on earth they would forgive their well-heeled brothers and sisters for making them feel so rotten but knowing they needed to figure that out in order to live as the healthy, functioning body of Christ, working the way God intended.

“You two boys go to church, right?”
“Do you really think this is how God wants you to act?”
“Do you really think she wants to wear the same pair of pants to school every single day?”

The boys then wrote a letter of apology to the little redheaded girl. And after school, the teacher went to Walmart and purchased three new outfits along with a coat, to replace those pink pants.

Regretfully, we don’t know how the story of the teacher and the two boys ended. Did the boys act differently after that day? Did the little girl keep wearing those pants? Did the teacher find a way to smuggle the new clothes to the little girl in a way that protected the girl’s pride and did not embarrass her parents? I also wonder about the church in Corinth. After hearing Paul’s written sermon, did the wealthier members wait for the poorer members before they started the meal? Did the poorer members find a way to forgive those who had humiliated them? Did they all learn how to be Christ’s body together?

“Now, you all are the body of Christ, and individually members of it. And God has arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as God chose.” Messy. Complicated. Diverse. Gift. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Liturgy & Commentary provided by Shannon J. Kershner, Karoline Lewis, James Boyce, Stan Mast, Yung Suk Kim, Brian Peterson, Charlie Cousar, Rose Schrott Taylor, Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan.

*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. 613 “O Lord, Our Lord”

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.
O Lord, we praise your name.
O Lord, we magnify your name:
Prince of Peace, mighty God;
O Lord God Almighty.

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.
O Lord, we praise your name.
O Lord, we magnify your name:
Prince of Peace, mighty God;
O Lord God Almighty.


Almighty God, whether it is through a cold winter sunray, the flavor of an orange, the hug of a friend, or the Bible, you are constantly revealing yourself to us in the expected and unexpected, ordinary and extraordinary. We are humbled with gratitude, that you might want to know us and that you might invite us to know you. We give you thanks. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Compassionate God, we pray for the nations. We pray for the tensions between Russia and Ukraine. We pray for the people of Afghanistan. We pray for Kazakhstan. Where there is violence, we pray for peace. Where there is injustice, we pray for justice. We pray for the leaders of our nation, including: ________________________________].

Bless them with wisdom that comes from you and trusted advisors. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of unity, we pray for the church universal. In our diversity, may we continue to be the one body of Christ. May we focus on what binds us. May we lift each other up. May we take the beginning of your public ministry seriously and to care for the poor and oppressed. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Creator, we pray for the earth we live on. It cries out from years of abuse. We pray for those in these United States and all over the world who are recovering from tornados, fires, and other natural disasters. Shake us from our slumber. Empower us to be good caretakers of all that you’ve entrusted to us, including land, sea, and creatures. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Healing God, we pray for those in our lives who are sick – with illnesses, with loneliness, with anger, with fear. We pray for them by name: ________________________ …

There is so much we do not know about prayer. But we do know that you hear us. Bless these people with comfort, with people who embody your love. May they know peace. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray all these things in and through Christ our Savior who taught us to pray saying, “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.



In response to our confession and pardon, to the Word being spoken, to the reminder of our communal faith, let us offer God some gifts from our lives. For it is written, “Freely you have received, freely give.”



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. 


Almighty God, we offer these gifts to you. May you multiply them for your glory that they me a blessing to others. We pray a special blessing on all whom these monetary gifts touch. May they know your love. Amen.  

*HYMN No. 748 “Go with Us, Lord”

Go with us, Lord, and guide the way
through this and every coming day,
that in your Spirit strong and true
our lives may be our gift to you.

Go with us, Lord, and guide the way
through this and every coming day,
that in your Spirit strong and true
our lives may be our gift to you.


As we walk through this season of Epiphany, go from here knowing that God is with you and seeks to reveal God’s goodness to you in both small and incredible ways. May our Lord bless you with the eyes to see the ways God loves you this week, for you are incredibly loved. Amen.

The Presbyterian Church at Woodbury
67 S. Broad Street
Woodbury, NJ 08096


Sunday, January 239:30 am
11:00 am
Christian Education
Monday, January 247:00 pmDeacons' Meeting
Tuesday, January 256;30 pm
7:00 pm
Cub Scout Meeting
Chess Club
Wednesday, January 269:30 am
7:00 pm
Staff Meeting
Al-anon Meetings
Sunday, January 309:30 am
10:30 am
11:00 am
Christian Education

of the Presbyterian Church at Woodbury will be held on

Sunday, January 30, 2022, at 10:30 am

The purpose of the Meeting is to receive the 2021 Annual Reports and approve the Terms of Call for the Pastor. All members are reminded to be present for this important meeting of the church.


Church School classes for children and youth will resume in February. Classes will be: February 6, February 13, February 20, and February 27.


Joann Brodrick, Joe and Kathy Federici, Dick Hill, Joyce Edwards, Charlotte Nelson, Janet Muhm, Judy Fetty, and Sally Hanna-Schafer. A reminder to keep our military personnel in your prayers, including Jonathan Gabler, Nathan Wadding, Cameron Wadding, Jarrod Fetty, and Wesley Tatham.


On Saturday, January 29, the funeral service for Al Edwards will take place in the sanctuary at 11:00am.  There will be a family visitation beginning at 10:00am.  Continued prayers for Al’s family as they mourn his death.