Praise and Thanksgiving: Lifting Up the Reasons for Our Gratitude.
CALL TO WORSHIP
This is a day of Thanksgiving. Our God has been very good to us. It is a day for harvest celebration.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!
"When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you."
"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name."
Hymn: "Let All Things Now Living"
(PH 554, PsH 453, TH 125).
WORDS OF RECONCILIATION
To whom else, Lord, can we go?
In you we live and move and have our being.
We believe that although we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, we are justified by the gift of grace through the redemption that is ours in Christ Jesus.
Since we believe this, we can celebrate with joy and thanksgiving!
Hymn: "We Praise You, O God"
(PsH 237, RL 62, TH 97).
Centerpiece: A Loaf of Bread
LITURGY OF THANKSGIVING
We take our food for granted, but most of the world cannot. For many, life is a daily struggle for enough to eat and millions of people—including little children—go to bed hungry every night.
"The children beg for bread, but no one gives it to them."
We also take our plentiful water for granted. Most of the world cannot turn on a faucet and have pure drinking water.
"O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water."
Prayer: Because we are fed our daily bread by your most gracious hand, help us to share our bread with those who are starving and hungry. Help us also, Father, to remember that all people need the Bread of Life and the Living Water. In Christ's name, Amen.
Hymn: "We Plow the Fields and Scatter"
(PH 560, PsH 456, RL 17, TH 714).
Centerpiece: A Family Portrait
Our family is one of God's best gifts to us—our parents and children as well as the family of God, our brothers and sisters in Christ.
How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in unity!
But not everyone has a family. Some have never had a family or have lost family members. Many are alone. What can we do for these people?
We can be their family, share in their hurts, wrap them in our love, assure them of your promises. We can visit the orphans and widows in their affliction (James 1:27) and show them your mercy.
Prayer: Father, thank you for our family and the home where we live together. Thank you for the promise that one day we'll all live together with all believers in your home. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Hymn: "Now Thank We All Our God"
(PH 555, PsH 454, RL 61, TH 98).
Centerpiece: Fall Flowers and Fruit
Thanksgiving is one of the happiest family celebrations of the whole year. It's a day of bountiful meals, lovingly prepared, and warm gatherings of family and friends.
It is a celebration of gratitude to God for the beauty of his world and the harvest he has blessed us with.
And what is God's purpose in giving us all of this?
To show us love and to call us to thankfulness.
What is our responsibility in this?
Not to be arrogant nor to put our hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put our hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.... To do good, to be rich in deeds, and to be generous and willing to share, thus laying up treasure for ourselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that we may take hold of the life that is truly life.
(1 Timothy 6:17-19)
Prayer: Lord, you have given us so much. Give us one thing more—thankful hearts. Amen.
Hymn: "Come, You Thankful People, Come"
(PH 551, PsH 527, RL 18, TH 715)
ACT OF THANKSGIVING
Centerpiece: An Open Bible
We are thankful for freedom—especially for the freedom to worship publicly, to possess the Bible and to read it, and to share our faith in Jesus Christ with others.
"You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
"If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."
Prayer: Thank you, God, for the freedom we enjoy in our country. We pray for Christians who cannot worship openly, who have few Bibles and are forbidden to give their own children Christian instruction. We ask you to give them courage and endurance in the face of persecution. In Christ's name, Amen.
Hymn: "Praise and Thanksgiving"
Thanksgiving Prayer [based on Ps. 136]
Hymn: "Sing to the Lord of Harvest"
Centerpiece: A White Candle
The candle symbolizes Christ, the greatest of all gifts that we celebrate on Thanksgiving. Soon it will be Christmas, and we will celebrate this coming of God made flesh.
"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light."
Christ is the light of the world.
Let us renew our dedication to taking the light of the world into all the world.
Hymn: "Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven"
(PH 478, PsH 475, RL 144, TH 76-7)
Doxology: "Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow"
(PH 591-3, PsH 637, RL 556, TH 731-3)
Moment of Meditation
This service was submitted by Ronald Klimp, pastor of Prosper Christian Reformed Church in Falmouth, Michigan. It is an adaptation of a service created by a lay member of Portage Christian Reformed Church, Portage, Michigan.
As you move from section to section of the service, a member of the congregation should bring up the centerpiece symbol for that section and lead the congregation through that portion of the litany.
All hymn suggestions are from The Presbyterian Hymnal (PH), Psalter Hymnal (PsH), Rejoice in the Lord (RL), and Trinity Hymnal (TH).