Special -- Thanksgiviing Day
Always With a Song of Thanksgiving
Service Prayers for Thanksgiving Day
26:1-11 Psalm 100 Philippians 4:4-9 John 6:25-35
Reflection on the Passages
The Deuteronomy and
Psalm passages issue a strong call to come before God with thanksgiving. They
encourage us to remember God’s promises and our need to give thanks in a way
that is joyful and uplifting.
The Philippians passage
tells us that we have access to God through prayer and supplication. God’s
peace may be found through acts of living that are life-giving. Finally, the
gospel of John speaks of our foundation as Christians - Jesus is the source of
spiritual nourishment. On this Thanksgiving Day we are to keep before us the
fact that Jesus satisfies our hunger and our thirst.
The first images that
come to mind in creating a service for Thanksgiving Day may be traditional ones
of a table filled with a variety of wonderful foods and the people gathered as
families, friends and strangers who might express thanksgiving to God for
recognized blessings. We may want to take a step deeper and reflect on the
first Thanksgiving with Native Americans:
what might the perspective of Native Americans be toward this national
day of thanksgiving?
Native Americans’ highly
developed combination of community systems and understanding of the natural
world made the first Thanksgiving possible.
In 1620 the Wampanoag and the English encountered each other. Theirs
were very different cultures that were helping one another. The Wampanoag
placed a high value on social relationships- community life. They had an
intimate understanding of the environment that allowed them to produce the
harvest they celebrated with the English at the first Thanksgiving. It was
common among Native Americans to give daily thanks for nature’s gifts.
Among the six nations of the Haudenosaunee (New York State
and parts of the southeastern Canada)
there is a Thanksgiving Address. It is sometimes referred to as “the words that
come before all else.” The words express thanks for people, Mother Earth, the
moon, stars, sun, water, air winds, animals and more.
The prayers that follow attempt to combine the images
and feeling tones offered in the scriptures and those from reading about Native
Americans and their perspective on Thanksgiving Day.
For more information on Native American perspectives on
Call to Worship
This place of worship
has been prepared for us
to come with songs of
thanksgiving before our God.
Bring your gifts to the
altar and share your stories of blessings!
God has provided so much—even this beautiful
So let’s raise our voices and celebrate!
O God of steadfast love
we entered this space today
to worship you in gladness.
We come into your presence
Singing your praises.
You are our creator; we are your people.
Be with us, O God, as we celebrate all of
We give thanks for the sun, water, air and
that nourish your earth
which provides the bounty we enjoy.
Bless us as we bless your name.
Prayer of Confession
Day provides an opportunity for us
to take stock of God’s blessings,
and to reflect on our response to those
you have made an intricate and diverse world,
and set us to cultivate it reverently and
us when we forget our connection with all of creation.
Our Creator, you have made a world of
and intend for us to share so that all may
have their “daily bread”.
us when we lose the sense of hospitality and community.
Our Creator, you have sent us Jesus, the
“Bread of Life”
to satisfy our spiritual hunger and thirst.
us when we do not respond to his justice and mercy.
Every day and all day let us celebrate your
us when we fail to turn to you in prayer.
Everyday and all day let us shape our very
by focusing our minds on what is beautiful
and worthy of praise.
us when we forget that you make all things possible.
Assurance of Pardon
We have offered to God the concerns of our
hearts and minds.
We trust that God not only hears our prayers
but in God’s almighty wisdom and awareness
of our needs
does answer our prayers.
We are a forgiven people.
be to God! Amen.
Call to Offering
The scriptures tell us
to make a joyful noise;
to come into God’s
presence with singing and
give thanks and bless
This we can do!
can thank God for the bounty we have received and
we can return to God a
portion of our blessing.
We need only to be
joyful in our thanksgiving.
With thanksgiving and
we have returned to you
of the blessings you
have given to us.
Bless us and our gifts
for your purposes.
Today, in our prayers around tables,
may we discover what is
call it a blessing.
we recognize the way in which
our lives are
intertwined with the lives of others
and with all of God’s
we be bold to praise God with our thanksgiving.
Go in peace.
A Prayer for Thanksgiving Day
On this day, O God, we
in all kinds of communities,
or even in solitude.
Our desire in this
moment is to come before you
our prayers of thanksgiving.
For some of us the
words we offer
will flow easily from
For others trying to
name our blessing may prove difficult.
Thanksgiving this year may
be very different from previous years:
a new table at which to sit,
new persons sitting with us,
or a dear one absent,
worries crowding out our sense of blessing.
These realities may
reshape our prayers from years past.
To seek joy may lead
Whatever our reality, O
We ask that you help us
not so much on material
abundance or scarcity)
rather on how we are living our lives.
Help us recognize
all the ways you are
present in our live this year.
Help us gather the
strength we need for today
and for all of our
Grant us the satisfaction
of intimacy with Jesus,
your great gift to us,
through whom you offer
Living Water, Bread of
more than we can ask or
Help us to extend our prayers of thanksgiving to you
into tomorrow with
We are loved and
blessed and thankful. Amen.
Always with a Song of Thanksgiving: Service
Prayers for Thanksgiving Day was written by Henrietta Stith Andrews, a
retired UCC Pastor who served as Associate Conference Minister in Michigan. Rev. Andrews
is a certified Spiritual Director and presently residing in Southfield, Michigan.
Copyright 2010 Local Church
Ministries, Congregational Vitality and Discipleship Ministry Team, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland,
44115-1100. Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this
material for use in services of worship or church education. All publishing rights reserved.