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Service of Thanksgiving

This Service of Thanksgiving was submitted by Rev. Donald Jansma, pastor of the Reformed Church of Palos Heights, Illinois. Parts of it were borrowed from the Hunger Packet distributed by the R. C.A. in 1985.

*Everyone who is able, please stand.

The Approach to God

Organ Prelude: "Now Thank We All Our God"
E. Hovland and G. Kauffman

Introit: "Father, We Thank Thee"

Call to Worship

Leader: Our help is in the name of our God, who made heaven and earth.
People: Amen.
Leader: Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving. Make music upon the harp. How good it is to celebrate God's presence and sing praise throughout each day!
People: How good it is to sing praise and give honor to our God!
Leader: Our God rebuilds the people of earth. The wandering ones are gathered together, the brokenhearted are healed, the hungry are fed, the prisoners are freed, the blind are given sight, the lonely are befriended.
People: How good it is to sing praise and give honor to our God!
Leader: All of nature sings aloud God's goodness—clouds, rain, grass, creatures great and small. Our God creates and sustains our world with his ever-growing, never-ending love.
People: How good it is to sing praise and give honor to our God! (Psalm 147)
Leader: Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Christ Jesus our Lord.
People: Amen.








*Hymn of Praise: "Come, Ye Thankful People, Come"

*Invocation

Prayer of Confession

Leader: Loving God, we gather today rich in blessing, somehow believing that we merit the wealth and comforts that we enjoy. Forgive us, our God, for comfortably closing our eyes to the faces of the poor that stare blankly in our direction.
People: Lord, have mercy on us.
Leader: With bellies full of grain and meat, we offer token gestures to the hungry in our world and we feel we have done enough. Forgive us, God, for keeping a distance between "us" and "them," for closing our ears to the cries of the hungry.<
People: Christ, have mercy on us.
Leader: With hands tightly clasping our treasures on earth, we cannot reach out to our oppressed brothers and sisters around this world. Forgive us for clinging to our own possessions rather than to you. Unite us with hearts of thanksgiving that we may work to insure freedom and justice for all.
People: Lord, have mercy on us.




Assurance of Forgiveness

Leader: Hear what our God has to say to all people:
"The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those… who repent of their sins." (Isaiah 59:20)

The Law of God
Leader: "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:12-13)

*Response of Gratitude and Praise: Gloria Patri

The Word of God

Children's Message

*Hymn: "All Things Bright and Beautiful"

Scripture Lesson: 1 Thessalonians 5:14—28; Luke 17:11-19

Message

Prayer for Blessing on the Word

The Response to God

Prayers of the People

Leader: Let us give thanks to God our Creator for all the blessings we share this day. For all of those who have gone before, people strong and brave, willing to put their lives on the line for the causes they believe in, we give you thanks.
People: Grant us, our God, the courage to step out in faith for that which is true and right.
Leader: For freedom of speech and of the press, for the avenues open to express ourselves, and for opportunities to effect change, we give you thanks.
People: We pray for those who are voiceless victims of unjust governments.
Leader: For fertile soil, abundant rain, and seasons of refreshment, we give you thanks.
People: We pray for those whose land is parched and whose wells are dry.
Leader: For our families, friends, and the church, who provide us with food and drink for our journey, we give you thanks.
People: We pray for those who are hungry and tired, hopeless and wandering, finding no place to rest.
Leader: For strong bodies and minds, for opportunities that encourage us to grow and become more the servants of thanksgiving you call us to be, we give you thanks.
People: We pray for the sick, for the stagnant who are unwilling to dream or change.
Leader: Help us, O God, to be responsible stewards of your blessings, people who care for the earth and ail its people. Keep us connected with all humanity, even though miles and cultures tend to separate us. May we always respond to your call with a true spirit of thanksgiving.









The Lord's Prayer
(Note: In place of or in addition to the Prayers of the People, place paper, envelopes, and pencils in the pews, asking everyone to write a letter of thanksgiving to God.)

*Confession of Faith

Offertory: "We Gather Together"
W. Held

*Doxology

*Prayer of Dedication

*Hymn: "Now Thank We All Our God"

*Benediction

*Silent Prayer of Commitment
(with organ response)

Organ Postlude: "Now Thank We All Our God"
W. Held