Watch this Service

The Presbyterian Church at Woodbury

October 9, 2022
18th Sunday after Pentecost
10:00 am



O Lord our God: We sing and shout your praises – for you have delivered us from the bondage of ignorance, sin, and guilt…for you have shown us mercy, truth, and righteousness… O Lord our God: We join the whole world in singing your praises –sweep over the earth with a tsunami of worship and praise…sweep over our souls with a spirit of joy and delight…O Lord our God: In joyous anticipation we await the coming of King Jesus, who comes to judge the living and the dead with truth and righteousness. Come quickly, King Jesus. Amen.


“O God, Thou Holy God”               Johannes Brahms                          


From the small to the great, and from the great to the small, sing to God, for God has done marvelous things.
Let the electrons circle their nuclei, Let the earth spin on its axis,
Let the moons orbit the planets, Let the planets orbit the Sun,
Let the Sun spiral in its galaxy, Let the galaxies revolve around their Creator,
Together for joy!
From the small to the great, and from the great to the small, sing to God, for God has done marvelous things.

*HYMN No. 619 “Praise My Soul, the God of Heaven”

1 Praise, my soul, the God of heaven;
glad of heart your carols raise;
ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
who, like me, should sing God’s praise?
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise the Maker all your days!

2 Praise God for the grace and favor
shown our forebears in distress;
God is still the same forever,
slow to chide, and swift to bless.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Sing our Maker’s faithfulness!

3 Like a loving parent caring,
God knows well our feeble frame,
gladly all our burdens bearing,
still to countless years the same.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
All within me, praise God’s name!

4 Angels, teach us adoration;
you behold God face to face.
Sun and moon and all creation,
dwellers all in time and space:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise with us the God of grace!


Beautiful music, every note perfect, joining together in graceful harmony – this is what we imagine our lives to be. Yet our love is flat, our anger often sharp. Let us confess how we struggle to keep the measured beat of God’s life-giving melody in our lives, even as we pray together saying,


Joy-giving God, we know who we are: people who hear the harmony of your grace and love in our souls but sing off-key so often. We want to learn new songs, but those haunting tunes of our past mistakes run through our heads. We long to make a joyful noise to you, but the hurts inflicted on us, and the pain we have caused others, silence our voices.  Sing to us, Conductor of Grace: sing of your forgiveness, your hope, your love for us. Strike a chord of humility in our hearts so our eyes could see all you have done for us; and in seeing, we might believe how much you love us; and in believing, we would echo that new song of hope and life composed through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  Amen.

Silence is observed


Listen to the melody of the good news: Christ is risen, bringing joy into the world. The One who was dead now lives, and wraps us in the delight of life forever with our God.
Now, our dirges have turned to joy; our requiem has been rearranged as a hymn of hope; our laments are lost in a cantata of praise. Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! Amen.

*RESPONSE No. 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                 “The Light of Glory”                       Joseph Martin                    



Gracious and Loving God — we sing your praise this day and bless your Name for you have done marvelous things.  You have made known your victory and revealed your saving love in the sight of all nations.  You have lifted up the lowly and given them honor – you remember all your promises and love us with a love that is strong and true.  We pray to you this day, O God, that you would confirm in us once again the wonders of your love. Touch us with your Holy Spirit and lead us to open our hearts and minds to your living Word that we might love that which you love and do that which you do—to your everlasting praise and glory.  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.
The Lord has made known his victory;
he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
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.

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

Let the sea roar and all that fills it,
the world and those who live in it.
Let the floods clap their hands;
let the hills sing together for joy
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.


I learned something new this week: I learned that it was customary for the Hebrews to celebrate God’s mighty acts by writing a new song. For example, when God led the children of Israel through the Red Sea and set them free, once and for all, from the mighty Pharaoh, Moses wrote a song to commemorate the occasion. He said,

“I will sing to Yahweh, for he has triumphed gloriously.
The horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.
Yah is my strength and song.
He has become my salvation…”
(Exodus 15:1-18)

When God answered Hannah’s prayer for a son, she sang,

“My heart exults in Yahweh!
My horn is exalted in Yahweh.
My mouth is enlarged over my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation…”
(1 Samuel 2:1-8)

And, once David had prevailed over the Gibeonites, the Philistines, and all the other enemies of Israel, he sang,

“Yahweh is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer,
even mine; God, my rock, in him I will take refuge…
I will call on Yahweh, who is worthy to be praised:
So shall I be saved from my enemies.”
(2 Samuel 22:1-4)


Whenever the Hebrews experienced the awesome power of God’s redeeming love, they sang a new song to mark the occasion. This is the backdrop of the Psalter reading for today. It’s a song of praise commemorating the end of the Babylonian exile:

“Sing to Yahweh a new song,
for he has done marvelous things!
His right hand, and his holy arm, have worked salvation for him…
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.”
(Psalms 98:1-3)

The Israelites had lived in captivity for seventy years, and now they were free to return to the land of Judea. Can you imagine a greater moment for celebration? No wonder the psalmist went on to say,

“Make a joyful noise to Yahweh, all the earth!
Burst out and sing for joy, yes, sing praises! Sing praises to Yahweh…
with the harp, with the harp and the voice of melody.
With trumpets and sound of the ram’s horn,
make a joyful noise before the King, Yahweh.”

Well, this morning, I’d like to remind us that we are invited to “Sing to Yahweh a new song,” with the hope that it’ll enable us to recognize God’s mighty acts in our world today and inspire us to sing a new song to the Lord each and every day.

In some ways, the old Hebrew custom is already familiar to us. We commission a symphony or some other work of art to commemorate special occasions. It more or less comes naturally.  Last year, we had ______________________________ write an anthem to celebrate our Tricentennial.

It also doesn’t have to be a national celebration. It can be something as simple as a friend writing a poem for a loved one.  This is the spirit of Psalm 98: “Sing to Yahweh a new song.” Sing praise to God for all the many ways God is blessing your life.

Well, it’s easy to see God’s power and might in landmark events such as the Exodus, Memorial Day, the dedication of a building, the inauguration of a new era. Yet, if you look closely, God is at work all around us, every day, giving us all the more reason to sing and celebrate.  Miracles happen every day. Just go to the graduation exercises at Woodbury or West Deptford. You’re likely to see a lot of miracles walking across the stage! God is at work all around us, if we only have eyes to see. Scripture says,

Once you’re aware of what God is doing in the world today reconciling us to himself; once you’re aware of what God is up to in your own life, transforming you into the man or woman God created you to be; once you become aware of the power of God’s redeeming love, you, too, will want to sing,

“I’ll shout it from the mountaintop,
I want my world to know,
the Lord of love has come to me,
I want to pass it on.”

“Sing to Yahweh a new song.” It sounds simple enough, and it is. We can and should sing the old, familiar songs, of course, like The Doxology and so many others. But in times like these, we have to sing them in new ways, just as our ancestors did. We have found new ways of singing, “new songs” to sing, new forms of praise and thanks and delight – new ways of being the church, of being God’s people, “together for joy” (Ps 98:8).

We have been singing “new songs” during the last two years:  online worship, new ways to serve our community and return to more in- person ministries.  This is who we are, and who we’ll continue to be and become as we move towards a new calendar year.

Now more than ever, we need to reach out and lift each other up. Now more than ever, we need to find new ways to be “together for joy.” Now more than ever, we need to be the church! The church was made for times such as these: not times of ease and tranquility, but times of difficulty and struggle. Not a stroll along a sunlit ridgeline, but a pilgrimage through the valley of the shadow of death. And not a whimper or a whisper of silence, but a new song sung out loud, in harmony with all creation, as the seas roar and hills sing together for joy!

I am excited about seeing bible studies, new scout units, 12 step groups and our boards back in the building plus the return of the community dinner in the fellowship hall.  All of these ministries are forms of joyful praise and thanksgiving.  It is my prayer that we might sing loudly from the corner of broad and centre!!

And this is why all of us, as a community, ask each other to share our treasure and invest in our mission as a church. Now more than ever, your generosity can and will make an enormous difference. In a time of difficulty and despair for so many, we are a community of light and hope. In a time of injustice and struggle, we are a community of love and justice. In a time of silence and isolation, we are and can be a community of gathering, a community of song, of new songs and new ways of singing, new ways of being God’s church for God’s world, together for joy. Thanks be to God!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Liturgy and Commentaries provided by Philip McLarty, James Howell, Walter Brueggemann, Scott Hoezee, S.A.L.T. ministries, Nancy deClassie’-Walford, Rolf Jacobson, Walter C. Bouzard, 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. 635 “Sing Praise and Bless the Lord”
2x – English
2x – Latin

Sing, praise, and bless the Lord.
Sing, praise, and bless the Lord.
Peoples! Nations! Alleluia!
Sing, praise, and bless the Lord.
Sing, praise, and bless the Lord.
Peoples! Nations! Alleluia!

Laudate Dominum,
laudate Dominum,
omnes gentes, alleluia!
Laudate Dominum,
laudate Dominum,
omnes gentes, alleluia!


Lord God, to whom we give our praise and thanks, we know you do not leave those suffering disaster alone and bereft. We remember the places struggling to survive disasters:  those suffering, injured and dying in the war in Ukraine; those in Puerto Rico, Cuba and Florida, and others who have suffered  the devastating destruction of hurricanes; those still suffering the after-effects of the flooding in Pakistan; those in Jackson, Mississippi, and everywhere at home and abroad  who do not have safe drinking water; those suffering and dying in the heat waves which continue to hit  across the northern hemisphere;

[Here you may add those suffering other disasters which you or your congregation wish to name.]

Do not forsake them but speak into these circumstances of suffering your word of hope, word of comfort, and word of life.  Lord, we seek and pray for your shalom, peace and prosperity for all the earth.

We remember the leaders of our state and communities, grant them a spirit of courage, and faithfulness, that they may work for the shalom of all those they serve. We remember first responders and all those bringing aid, support, and comfort to places of destruction and crisis, grant them your strength, and be present in their work. Lord, we seek and pray for your shalom, peace and prosperity for all the earth.

We remember those who suffer in body and mind: those discouraged or in pain, those oppressed or in need, those waiting and keeping watch, calling on you for healing for themselves or their loved ones. Lord, we seek and pray for your shalom, peace and prosperity for all the earth.

We remember all the saints who have gone before us, our loved ones who have died, and we trust will live with you. Make us also your workers unashamed of your truth. Lord, we seek and pray for your shalom, peace and prosperity for all the earth. And 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.




Luke tells us, “Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’s feet and thanked him.” So let us also return and give thanks, presenting a portion of what we have received from the generous hand of the Lord for God’s own work.



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. 370 “This is My Father’s World”

1 This is my Father’s world,
and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings
the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world;
I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas,
his hand the wonders wrought.

2 This is my Father’s world.
O, let me ne’er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world.
The battle is not done:
Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
and earth and heaven be one.


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,