Watch this Service

The Presbyterian Church at Woodbury

October 16, 2022
19th Sunday after Pentecost
10:00 am



Holy and mysterious Lover of the world, let this day be a worthy celebration of our Lord’s resurrection love. By the Easter good news, encourage us to put away our worries, and to discard our fears, that with minds open to your Spirit we may better love you and more adequately worship your holy name.  Through Christ Jesus, our living brother and Lord. Amen! 

PRELUDE               “Prayer”                    Robert Schumann              


Holy Triune God, From everlasting to everlasting, you are Lord. Let the whole earth shout with joy before the Lord;
We lift up our voices with joy and singing: Great is our Lord, the King!
Your judgments are true, and all of creation awaits your rightful rule;
We lift up our voices with joy and singing: Great is our Lord, the King!
In righteousness will you judge the world and all the peoples, with equity;
We lift up our voices with joy and singing: Great is our Lord, the King!
Who is like our God, King over all the earth?
We lift up our voices with joy and singing: Great is our Lord, the King!
This is our God, the Holy One. Come before him with thanksgiving and offer him the sacrifice of praise.

*HYMN No. 712 “As Those of Old Their Firstfruits Brought”

1 As those of old their firstfruits brought
of vineyard, flock, and field
to God, the giver of all good,
the source of bounteous yield,
so we today our firstfruits bring,
the wealth of this good land:
of farm and market, shop and home,
of mind and heart and hand.

2 A world in need now summons us
to labor, love, and give,
to make our life an offering
that all may truly live.
The church of Christ is calling us
to make the dream come true:
a world redeemed by Christ-like love,
all life in Christ made new.

3 In gratitude and humble trust
we bring our best today,
to serve your cause and share your love
with all along life’s way.
O God who gave yourself to us
in Jesus Christ your Son,
help us to give ourselves each day
until life’s work is done.


Let us draw near to God with sincerity of heart and full assurance of faith, our guilty hearts sprinkled clean, our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us confess our sins before God and one another.


Lord God, Almighty, Savior, Redeemer, we come knowing that we are a sinful people. We do not love you as we ought. We love ourselves more than even our closest neighbor. We have failed to live as your followers. Yet we approach your throne confidently, knowing that you are a God who remembers his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel. We are not dismayed but are filled with hope because we are a people already redeemed—when we are sorry for our sins and desire to follow your ways you declare us to be your children; we belong to you. And so we stand as your witnesses and declare to the world with confidence that you are the Lord of all the earth. Amen.

Silence is observed


Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.   Friends hear a believe the good news – in Jesus Christ, we are forgiven!

*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. The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
And also, with you.

ANTHEM                 “By Your Word, O God”                 David Schelat         



God of Love, do not let us grow weary of living our lives according to the example of your child, Jesus. Loving one another is a great challenge and a high calling. We do not want to fail our friend and brother. Pour out upon us your Spirit who reminds us that we bear Jesus’ love and life within our very being—a powerful gift for our world. Out of this gift, may we bear the fruit of love. Amen. 


O sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things.
His right hand and his holy arm
have gotten him victory.
2 The Lord has made known his victory;
he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
3 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the victory of our God.

4 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
5 Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody.
6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn
make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.

7 Let the sea roar and all that fills it,
the world and those who live in it.
8 Let the floods clap their hands;
let the hills sing together for joy
9 at the presence of the Lord, for he is coming
to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness
and the peoples with equity.


4 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
5 Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody.
6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn
make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.

Make a joyful noise! Break forth into joyous song! Make a Joyful noise before the King!  These terms refer to the shouts of joy that citizens give when they hear of military victory. It’s the image of celebration erupting as soldiers return from war. Allow your mind and heart to exult in praise to the God who so marvelously saved you!  As we recognize this wonderful gift do we celebrate it fully?  Do we let other things and noise distract us?

James Lipton, host of “inside the actor’s studio” always ended his interviews with ten questions:

  • What is your favorite word?
  • What is your least favorite word?
  • What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?
  • What turns you off?
  • What is your favorite curse word?
  • What sound or noise do you love?
  • What sound or noise do you hate?
  • What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
  • What profession would you not like to do?
  • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

The question about “heaven and what would you like to hear God say” always felt job-related to me, but I loved to hear the answer about “what sound or noise do you love”?  And I would have to say that my favorite sound is the squeal of a small child! Have you outgrown the squeals?

Toddlers get so overwhelmed by joy they can only squeal. Their eyes enlarge as a puppy or stuffed animal comes into view. Their mouths open wide so they can taste the marvelous object of their delight. They can’t help but to eeeek with excitement. Toddlers instinctively know how to make a joyful noise.

Parents and grandparents receive joy witnessing their delight, but unfortunately, we’re also quick to shush them. It must be very confusing. Instead of finding a proper place and time to make a joyful noise, most of us simply abandon the practice altogether.

I agree, it would be awkward if we all started squealing like toddlers in church, or out in public. And I’m not suggesting anyone needs to do this at home either. But consider the sensation that caused you to react like that and make it part of how you approach God in song, prayer, preaching and reading the bible.

I want to invite you to seek more joy in your spiritual life in 2022 and into 2023. Learn from the children here! Aren’t you glad to see and hear them each week? To such belongs the Kingdom of God! Friends, don’t be so quick to shush them.

At the same time as we hear the joy of a child’s squeal, we can give thanks for skilled musicians playing the lyre and trumpet – again people making a joyful noise!! We see instruction to sing with the “sound of melody.” This psalm doesn’t encourage dissonance, but harmoniousness as we sing to the King who is worthy. However, our pursuit of excellence should never hinder our joy.

So, why drag out a psalm that summons us to “Make a joyful noise” when the world is tormented with darkness and – to point out the obvious irony – scientists cautioned us to refrain from singing during the pandemic!

For one reason, the Bible is peppered with declarations of joy. In addition to the 98th Psalm, we are encouraged to make a “joyful noise” in Psalms 66, 95 and 100. Consider Psalm 5: “Let all who take refuge in [God] rejoice; let them ever sing for joy.” Psalm 30 sounds practically giddy: “[God] You have turned my suffering into dancing…and clothed me with joy!” More than 50 of the 150 psalms include the word joy, joyful or rejoice. You will also discover these words scattered throughout many of the other books of the Hebrew Scriptures.

Skim the New Testament and you will discover that joy is one of the favorite words of the gospels of Luke and John, and it is a recurring theme in the letters of Paul. When he writes to the church in Rome, he says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace.” And when Paul speaks to the Galatians about the characteristics that God’s Spirit arouses in believers, the first virtue Paul mentions is love; the second is joy.

Many assume that joy is the result of one’s current situation; when work or retirement is satisfying, and when the children and grandchildren are making us proud. We are definitely joyful when life is relatively problem-free, and the skies are sunny. However, it is clear from the scriptures, that joy is not simply tied to a favorable situation. Joy can pulse through our bodies even in the midst of trouble and sorrow.

Take John 15, as another example of proclaiming joy. Jesus says, “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.” Do you know the context in which he spoke these words?

Was it after he had performed a miracle? Was it when he swatted a temptation aside or when a record-breaking crowd came out to hear him or when he instructed the disciples to throw their net in another spot and they hauled in a spectacular catch? Hardly. Jesus spoke of joy at the Last Supper, shortly before he was betrayed and handed over to his enemies.

The disciples are on the verge of losing the one who has opened incredible new vistas and given them a true purpose for living. Their teacher, guide and counselor is about to be manhandled by Roman soldiers. Would it not be more appropriate to hand each disciple a box of tissues?

When we picture the setting of their final meal with all its tension and fear and despair, talk of joy seems like lunacy. However, Jesus could speak of joy because his bond with God and his bond with his disciples was so deep and true and beautiful. Jesus wanted his followers to understand that bonds of love cannot be broken, even by death.

Joy exudes from a deep place within us. It is a component of our character and a feeling of well-being regardless of what is currently happening. If we had to keep joy at bay until all is well, we would be a somber and miserable bunch, wouldn’t we?

Back in April 2020, 31-year-old Elliot Dallen wrote, “Terminal cancer means I won’t see the other side of lockdown.” Just a few days ago, he wrote “Five months on, I’m still here, but much has changed…Over the past couple of months, my energy levels have dropped, and I have started doing less. I look drastically different. I have lost a lot of weight. A 20-minute coughing fit is now part of my morning routine.”

He talked about how sheltering in place alone was making him miserable, but then his sister moved in with him and he said that changed everything. For more than a year, Elliot had pinned his hopes on being part of a drug trial. He had hoped some new experimental drug might be the ticket he needed. Eventually he came to accept the inevitable. There would be no miracle drug to cure him. That forced him to reflect on what is genuinely important.

Number one is gratitude. He said, “During my worst moments – the shock of being diagnosed with cancer, the mental lows and debilitating symptoms of chemotherapy – it was difficult to picture any future moments of joy.

Even so, at those times I found comfort in remembering what I have: an amazing family, the friends I’ve made and times I’ve shared with them, the privilege of the life I’ve had.”2

Number two,” Elliot said, “is that a life lived well, is long enough…The human body is a wonderful thing. You only appreciate this when it starts to fail you…Most people assume they will live to an old age. I have come to see growing old as a privilege. Nobody should lament getting one year older, another grey hair or a wrinkle. Instead, [rejoice] that you have made it. And if you feel like you haven’t made the most of your last year, try to use your next one better.”3

Third lesson learned, “it’s important to let yourself be vulnerable and connect with others. We live in a society that prizes independence…but having to allow myself to be vulnerable and accept help has given me the best two years of my life.”

We are created to connect with others and to form loving bonds. Without someone to love and someone who loves us, life is lonely, and obstacles are a great deal more difficult to overcome. Because we have freedom to make decisions, we can make a mess of things. We can knowingly help to spread a deadly virus, build walls that divide and discriminate, and set our world ablaze. We can choose to withdraw from the world and surrender its direction to those whose motives lead to destruction. But our Creator has given us freedom to choose a different path, a better one.

That leads us to one other thing Elliot said: “Do something for others.” We spend our early years looking inward and attempting to gratify our personal desires. Hopefully, before it is too late, we discover that giving ourselves for the common good is where we find purpose and joy – especially as followers of Jesus Christ.

We can find purpose and joy in serving the Lord!  We can find purpose in joy in breaking forth into joyous song!!  We can find purpose and joy in offering our gifts to continue God’s ministry!

Liturgy and Commentaries provided by Frank Mansell, Gregory Knox, Jones, Jeffrey T. Howard, Walter Brueggemann, Scott Hoezee, S.A.L.T. ministries, and Stan Mast


I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, from whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

*HYMN No. 688 “Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart”

1 Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
wean it from earth, through all its pulses move;
stoop to my weakness, mighty as thou art,
and make me love thee as I ought to love.

2 I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies,
no sudden rending of the veil of clay,
no angel visitant, no opening skies;
but take the dimness of my soul away.

3 Hast thou not bid us love thee, God and King;
all, all thine own, soul, heart, and strength, and mind?
I see thy cross; there teach my heart to cling.
O let me seek thee, and O let me find!

4 Teach me to feel that thou art always nigh.
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear,
to check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh.
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.

5 Teach me to love thee as thine angels love,
one holy passion filling all my frame;
the baptism of the heaven-descended Dove,
my heart an altar, and thy love the flame.



On behalf of the session,
I present _________________________,
the children of __________ and __________,
to receive the sacrament 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.


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.



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.


The flowers are given in the glory and honor of God by Charlotte Nelson and Family in memory of Hank Nelson; and by Tooie’s Kids, Grandkids and Great Grandkids on Tooie’s 98th Birthday.

STEWARDSHIP STORY              Mary Mottola


We began our worship today with a psalm about the new songs that God inspires us to sing. Throughout the Gospel, we hear Jesus teaching his disciples a new song: a love song about Jesus’ love for his disciples and for the world. Jesus hoped we would all join in singing and living out this new song of love. Today in giving to others, let us join in this song so that the whole world may hear the beautiful and welcoming melody of God’s love.



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. 


God of marvelous things, Let the clink of the coins in these plates be as the clapping of the floods for you, O God. Let the clicks of the online pledges resound as the waves of the sea and everything in it. Let the quiet rustle of bills and checks and pledge cards be as soft as the wind drifting over the mountains who are singing together for joy. Let the fervent prayers, the lofty hopes, the quiet determination of these people and these gifts be our song, our hymn of praise to you, you who are doing such marvelous things! And may the power of your Holy Spirit turn this unfinished work, this earnest but not-quite-sufficient music, into a great symphony of praise until you come again.  We pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

*HYMN No. 702 “Christ Be Beside Me”

1 Christ be beside me;
Christ be before me;
Christ be behind me,
King of my heart.
Christ be within me;
Christ be below me;
Christ be above me,
never to part.

2 Christ on my right hand,
Christ on my left hand,
Christ all around me,
shield in the strife.
Christ in my sleeping,
Christ in my sitting,
Christ in my rising,
Light of my life.

3 Christ be in all hearts
thinking about me;
Christ be on all tongues
telling of me.
Christ be the vision
in eyes that see me;
in ears that hear me
Christ ever be. 


The ocean roars.
The floods clap the shores.
The wind sings over the hills.

God is love and grace,
and God pours love and grace into the world.
And with God’s help, we are about to do the same.

Go now, good people,
to roar, clap, and sing,
and to give everything you’ve got,
together for joy,
in the name of the Creator,
the Sustainer, and the Redeemer,