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Thanksgiving Day B
November 22, 2012
While it is most appropriate to celebrate this day on the appointed day of the calendar, in some congregations it has become tradition to use it on the Sunday prior to or following the holiday. While it disconnects the lectionary flow toward the conclusion of the season, it would be more appropriate to celebrate Thanksgiving on the Sunday prior to the holiday, as the Feast of Christ the King falls on the Sunday afterward. In any case, it should be important for the Church to demonstrate a clear understanding of thanksgiving to God for God’s generosity in the whole creation, and not focus with intensity on the U.S.A. as though it was the full expression of God’s bounty.
Scripture (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):
Click on Scripture Lessons below for study links and resources:
Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal
Hymns: 276, 58, 713-719, 690, 695-697
Communion Hymn: 386, 396, 420
More hymn suggestions, as well as helpful references for use of the arts in worship, are available from the United Church of Christ website.
Dealing with the Psalm of the Day:
Since Chalice Hymnal does not provide a complete Psalter, there will be occasions when suggestions may be made for alternate Psalm use (or hymn equivalent). Sorry, no suggestions here. A portion is included in Call to Worship below.
Call to Worship (adapted by the editor from Psalm 126)
L: The LORD has done great things for us, and we rejoice.
P: May all who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.
L: Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.
P: Praise the Lord!
Greeting/Call to Prayer
We gather to give thanks for all the blessings and hope of life. We praise God; we rejoice and give thanks. We join our voices in praise and Thanksgiving.
With thankful hearts for the bounties of our lives we come, O God, to offer our prayers and praise. As we gather this week keep us mindful of all the blessings in our lives and those we share our lives with. Be with us in worship as we lift our voices in praise of you, through Christ our Lord.
Prayer of Thanksgiving (adapted by the editor)
L: The Lord be with you.
P: And also with you.
L: Let us pray.
Almighty God, we give thanks to you. By your appointment the seasons come and go. You bring forth bread from the earth and create the fruit of the vine. You have made us in your image and given us charge as stewards of your earth. It has yielded its treasure, and from your hand we have received blessing upon blessing.
We give you thanks for the beauty and wonder of earth and sky and sea; for our daily food and drink, our homes and families and friends; we thank you for minds to think and hearts to love and hands to serve; for health and strength to work and leisure to rest and play. We thank you for the brave and courageous ones, who are patient in suffering and faithful in adversity, and for all valiant seekers after truth, liberty, justice and peace. We thank you most of all for your son Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, for our sake he became poor. When hungry and tempted, he refused to make bread for himself, so that he could be the bread of life for others. When multitudes were hungry, he fed them. He broke bread with the outcast, but drove the greedy out of the temple. We give you thanks that in due season, he offered himself up for us that we might have life in covenant with you. And in that spirit, we offer to you ourselves. Make us one with Christ and one with each other in service to the world, to the glory of your holy name.
Praise to you, o God of grace, in the name of Christ [who teaches us still the life of prayer, even as he taught his disciples: Our Father…]
Almighty God, we give you thanks for this life and all its blessings, for joys great and simple, for gifts and powers more than we deserve, for love at the heart of your purpose and surpassing wisdom in all your works, for light in the world brought once in Jesus Christ and shining ever through his Spirit. We pray, through Jesus Christ our Lord, for that light to dawn upon us daily, that we may always have a grateful heart, and a will to love and serve you to the end of our days. Lord, hear our prayer and praises: Alleluia, we bless you, O God. (Prayers from the Book of Common Order, Church of Scotland, on oremus.org)
Intercessions (adapted by the editor)
Gracious God, who supplies us with every blessing in abundance, lift up our hearts in gratitude and thanksgiving. Open us to remember the gifts we seldom notice, the bounty we take for granted, the rich possibilities you provide. For bread without scarcity, for water that is pure, for houses to live in and friends to enjoy, we give you humble thanks.
We lift to you all those whose lives are linked with our own. We remember (_______and) all those whom we name to you in silence.
Touch their lives with your grace and your peace, that they would know your love in these days of illness and unknowing and struggle.
In the days ahead, may we be more aware of the bounty for which we need to be grateful and of all the little things that make us who we are which we often overlook or ignore. Help us to be more mindful every day of your goodness and love.
For beauty and bounty, for healing and hope, for the gospel of our salvation, we lift our voices in praise to you, Creator God, in Christ’s name. Amen.
Our tender and compassionate God asks us to pray for all people. Let us offer our prayers for the world in need, trusting in God’s great love.
Gracious God, we pray for the church around the world. As the broken bread, though once scattered as grain on the hillsides become one loaf, so may your church be one in spirit throughout the earth, and one in witness to your saving love;
Gracious God, lead our leaders, especially in this time of our churches’ changing ministries. Grant them your wisdom, that by their deeds they may encourage the faithful and witness to the world and its people;
Eternal ruler of the universe, we pray for those who govern every land, and for the people committed to their charge. Look with grace upon the president of our country, and the legislators who guide our lives. Turn the hearts of leaders and peoples to you, that governments may seek the good of humanity and of all who suffer;
God, you suffer with those who suffer. We pray for those who are denied what they need to live and those whose dreams have been shattered by war and disaster. We pray especially for those who suffer in the season of plenty. Reach out and bring healing through the hands of your faithful people;
Holy Comforter, healing Spirit, grant your peace to those who are sick and those who grieve, and especially those of our own church families who are suffering today. Radiate through their lives with the light of your presence, that renewed healing and strength may be theirs.
We pray, dear Lord, for those whose actions offend us most and for those whom we have learned to fear and despise. Through your great love, make tender all hearts hardened by hatred, bigotry and suspicion; and work your justice among us.
God of hope and new life, help us to see the joy and abundant life you intend for us. Forgive our shortsightedness and often miserly attitudes toward the created world which you have entrusted to our care. Give us your peace–peace which is not so much an absence of trouble, as an awareness of your guiding presence and bounteous gifts in all that we do; for these our prayers we bring to you in the name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.
You may also want to visit Worship Connection at MinistryMatters.com, which offers numerous helps, including electronic versions of print resources for worship and preaching planning.