This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

A Thanksgiving liturgy for 2014

American Thanksgiving is this week. People are zipping across the country to spend the day together with family and friends. This is the holiday that I have most relished adopting since I have lived in the U.S., but I find that in the frenzy of activity it is easy to forget it meant to be a celebration of praise and thanksgiving to God for the abundance with which we are blessed.

Last year I decided to add an extra week to Advent, focusing on thankfulness and gratitude. I have decided to do the same this year which meant I began my personal Advent reflections Sunday, focusing on gratitude and thankfulness. For me, there is no better place to start than with responsive prayer. I thought that some of you might appreciate this liturgy we used at our community meal on Tuesday and will use next week, reading at least parts of it each day to focus me on what I am grateful for. We will also use it Thanksgiving Day as part of our celebrations.

A Thanksgiving Liturgy

IMG_0122_4God eternal and righteous One,
Who created the heavens and the earth,
we gather to give you thanks.
For breath that fills us with your life,
For love that softens our hearts,
For beauty revealed at every turn.

Christ redeeming and forgiving One,
Who is always faithful and merciful.
We gather to give you thanks,
For renewal, transforming our lives,
For peace calming the chaos of our souls,
For hope restoring our faith.

Spirit sustaining, and compassionate One,
Who calls us into relationship with the living God,
We give you thanks,
For caring when our hearts are aching,
For friends supportive in times of need,
For generosity lavish and overflowing.

God who created the earth and the heavens,
Eternal, Redeeming and Sustaining One,
We gather to give you thanks,
We come with hearts full of gratitude,
For all things good,
We give you thanks for You.

(Pause to express gratitude for your own areas of thanksgiving.)

For the universe immense and unknown,
For the earth on which we live,
For humankind made in your image.
Thanks and praise to God our creator.
For the way you entered human history as one of us
For the sacrifice you made for all of us,
For dying that we might live.
Thanks and praise to Christ our redeemer,
For the wonder of your indwelling presence,
For the comfort of your guidance and direction,
For drawing us together as one body.
Thanks and praise to the Holy Spirit our sustainer.
Through your will we are made whole,
Through your love we are renewed.
Through your abiding presence we become one community.
Thanks and praise to God, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer through all eternity.

Read: Psalm 105 1-8, Col. 3:15-17

The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Read: Luke 22: 17-19

The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us pray together now in the words Jesus taught us. [Say the Lord’s Prayer.]

Gracious and generous God we give you thanks,
For the gift of life for we are made in your image,
We think of all those in whom your divine image is still distorted.
We pray for your mercy and love to rest upon them.
God in your mercy be with them.
Caring and providing God we give you thanks,
For our homes that shelter and protect us,
We think of those without shelter and water and protection today.
We pray for your generous provision to be poured out upon them.
God in your mercy be with them.
Abundant and giving God we give you thanks,
For our food that nourishes and strengthens us,
We think of those without adequate food and nourishment today.
We pray that you will feed them with the bread of life.
God in your mercy be with them.
Loving and compassionate God we give you thanks,
For our friends and family who love and comfort us in times of need,
We think of those who are alone and feel abandoned.
God comfort and surround them that they may sense your presence.
God in your mercy be with them.

(Pause to offer your own prayers.)

Gracious and generous God,
We remember all the gifts you have given us,
We remember how lavishly you have provided.
We remember how lovingly you have cared,
We remember especially that greatest gift of all,
Jesus Christ our Savior,
And we give you thanks.

Christine Sine is executive director of Mustard Seed Associates, a small organization founded by her and her husband, Tom Sine, to assist churches and Christian organizations to engage the challenges of the 21st century. She writes at God Space, where this post originally appeared.

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