Thanksgiving Sunday Yr. C

October 1st, 2013


Call to Worship #1:

L: Come, let us celebrate the wondrous gifts that God has given us.
P: Throughout all our lives, God has blessed us with love and hope.
L: Praise be to God who provides for us.
P: May our hearts be truly grateful, and may we show our gratitude by the ways in which we live and care for others.
L: Hallelujah!

Call to Worship #2:

L: The time of gathering is here.
P: We have come from far and wide to offer our praise to God for God’s many blessings to us.
L: Open your hearts to God’s compassionate words of love.
P: Help us, O Lord, to receive your gifts in gratitude and to live lives of helpful service to others.
L: In Christ’s Name, we pray.

Call to Worship #3:

[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2061, “Praise Our God Above,” have a soloist or small ensemble sing the verses as directed.]
L: Praise be to God who has given us the seasons of the year.
P: In these times we are witnesses to God’s creative power and the miracle of growth in all creation. Soloist/ensemble: singing verse 1 of “Praise Our God Above”
L: God surrounds us with love and mercy.
P: Even though we sometimes stray from God, we are still forgiven and redeemed."
L: In the presence of God, we are made confident and strong.
P: In the presence of God, we are loved and made whole.

Soloist/ensemble: singing verse 2 of “Praise Our God Above”
L: Open our hearts today, O Lord, to hear your words of redeeming love.
P: Open our lives today, O Lord, to help us become your disciples. AMEN.

Call to Worship #4:

L: In the midst of difficulty, the Lord sets a table of rejoicing for us.
P: Though the world seems focused on turmoil, yet will we praise God!
L: Our lives should be witnesses to God’s goodness and power.
P: Our hearts should encompass compassion and service to God’s people.
L: Help us to be your workers and witnesses in today’s world, O Lord.
P: Enable us to be faithful and strong for you. AMEN.


Opening Prayer

Lord of bounty and blessing, we come to you this day in gratitude for all that we have been given. We are grateful for the blessings and for the opportunities to be of service to others in your holy Name. Bless each of us here, that we may become truly blessings to others. For we ask this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Bounteous God, you have lavished your finest gifts on each one of us. We thank you for the many ways in which you have blessed our lives--with love, hope, friends, our church, and so many other things that we cherish. Help us be a blessing for others--that they may come to know you and rejoice in your love. Give us hearts of courage and confidence to step out into the world in service, bringing hope where there is doubt, peace where there is strife, love where there is discord. These things we pray in Jesus’ Name, AMEN.

Prayer of Confession

Patient Lord, we are rushing headlong into the holiday season, forgetting that the word “holiday” is actually comprised of two words: “holy and day.” Forgive us when we treat the “holiday” as a task and a burden, when we load ourselves down with tasks that do not enhance this day. Help us move past the busyness of the day into the attitude of gratitude we should display for all the many wonders and blessings you have poured on us. Forgive us when we grumble and gripe about the work and do not relish the delight in having family and friends together. Remind us that there are those for whom this day holds little delight and hope. Help us reach out to them with love, listening to their hearts and trying to meet their needs. Cause us to be people of Passion about the love you have given to us and about the joy of serving you by helping others. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. AMEN.

Words of Assurance

Though hosts encamp around you, uttering messages of fear and dread, place your trust and hope in God who lavishly provides for you and who calls you beloved. Rejoice, for God is with you. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer

God of infinite patience and power, how it must try your patience to watch us hurl ourselves into a season of greed and grumbling. Your blessings, your bounty, have been poured out to us that we may be strengthened to be your people in service to others. Yet we persist in attaching ourselves to the great “gimmies” of our world--“gimmie toys, gimmie wealth, gimmie power.” Today we have gathered here with an opportunity to step out of the race to possess, to praise you and thank you for the wonderful ways in which you have blessed our lives. We spend a lot of time looking for the big blessings, when all around us are the delightful blessings of everyday living--family, home, friends, the ability to enjoy laughter and share tears. There are so many ways in which you have touched our lives with your love. Help us develop for all of our lives an attitude of gratitude, never failing to thank you each day for your love and your blessings. Help us reach out to one another and to all those in need with this compassionate love. For we ask this in Jesus’ Name, AMEN.


[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2051, “I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry,” offer this dramatic reading as instructed.]

Reader 1:

I don’t feel God’s presence. My parents never talked very much about God and we seemed to be all right. Yet there is an emptiness within me. When I hear others talking about the belief that God has been with them all their lives, I long to have that same feeling. I believe that there is something more than just going through the motions of existence.

Soloist: singing verse 1 and 2 of “I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry”

Reader 2:

As a child I believed that God was everywhere, but now that I have grown up, I have my doubts. I look at the world and wonder where God is. Why are things the way they are? How come God just doesn’t come down and fix up all the mess we have made? Where was God during my teenage years when I was struggling to find out who I was and what I was supposed to do?

Soloist: singing verse 3 and 4 of “I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry”

Reader 3:

Life is moving on too rapidly. It seems that there just isn’t enough time to do all the things I want to do. The burdens and responsibilities are weighing me down. Now age is rushing up on me--it’s not creeping, that’s for sure. I fear the times of inability or the moments in which I am no longer able to do all that I once was able to do. Where will you be, O God, during these times?

Soloist: singing verses 5 and 6 of “I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry”

Worship Leader:

Throughout all of our lives we have wondered where God is. We have cried to the heavens in our distresses and shouted to God in our joys. We are people of instant gratification; we want to know how everything will turn out in our lives, so that we can be better prepared. This demonstrates our lack of trust in God who has always, from the moment of our creation and into eternity, been with us. Where is God? Just look around. God is everywhere--forever--with love, forgiveness, hope, peace, and joy. May God’s blessings be always in your life. AMEN.

Soloist: singing verse 7 of “I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry”


Beloved of God, place your whole trust in God’s absolute abundant love. Feel the powerful presence of God in your life and know that God’s blessings are with you. Go in peace, and may God’s peace always be with you. AMEN.


The traditional color may be the color of your choice, although Green is often used. I recommend autumnal colors. This holiday service has so many possibilities for worship displays. One display may be the placing of food gifts to be brought to a shelter or a food pantry. Another display may be the placing of autumn leaves, pumpkins, and such reminding us of the bounty of the harvest. Another display may be pictures of the congregation involved in the many opportunities for worship, learning, and service throughout the church. Each congregation may want to choose their focus for this service. Having said this, the following information may be helpful in setting the “stage” for the worship display.

SURFACE: Depending upon the focus you choose, you may want to place a tall central riser on the center back of the worship table. It is on this riser that you would place a brass cross or some other significant cross. Other risers may be placed on the worship center and in front of the worship center.

FABRIC: Generally speaking green is the color that continues in this season until Christ the King Sunday; however, I favor using a base of burlap or some other neutral rather rough fabric, on which may be placed colorful fabrics. Make sure that the fabrics do not compete with the artifacts to be placed on them. The purpose of the fabric is to enhance the design not dominate it. The fabric should cover the entire worship center, including any risers in front of the center.

CANDLES: I would use two large white pillar candles on either side of the cross. Depending on the focus you choose, you may want to place some votive candles around. A word of caution: don’t place candles near any dried arrangements or vegetation; it is very easy for things to catch on fire.

FLOWERS/FOLIAGE: These will be determined by the focus you choose.

ROCKS/WOOD: These will be determined by the focus you choose. I probably would not include rocks or wood in this display.

OTHER: Baskets, boxes, photographs, veggies--all these depend on the focus you choose.

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