A liturgy of gratitude for God’s good gifts

It is the start of our Rhona season – also known as Thanksgiving – a time in which we deliberately count the blessings in our lives and respond to God’s generosity with our own gifts of time, money, and talents. The liturgy below focuses specifically on the blessings of life and health, and gratitude as a spiritual posture through which we can become more aware of these gifts and expressive of our thankfulness. Congregational responses are indicated in italics and the hymn/song suggestions are in red.

***

Welcoming the Light:
Blessed be You, Giver of all good things,
Bringer of Light and Love,
and Life eternal,
for giving us this new day,
to be like no other,
this unique moment
like none before.

MHB 34 “Immortal, invisible”

Praising the Gift-giver:
Our Alpha and Omega,
Beginning and End,
and holder of every moment in between –
whether joyous or tinged with sadness;
Your generosity ripples throughout the Universe,
Your gifts like stars across the blackening sky –
too numerous to count though we can name a few.

Praise be to You, for giving of Yourself
in word and work as You shape the world around us.
Praise be to You, for giving of Yourself
in the humility and hope of Immanuel, God-with us.
Praise be to You, for giving of Yourself
in the delightful surprises that await us this day.
Praise be to You, for giving of Yourself
in the breath of Spirit with and within us.

Shine, Jesus, shine

Recalling our blessedness:
1 Corinthians 9:6 “Remember this: The farmer who plants a few seeds will have a very small harvest. But the farmer who plants because he has received God’s blessings will receive a harvest of God’s blessings in return.”

A time of testimony to God’s blessings separated by a simple chorus such as “Thank you Jesus/Siyabonga”

Praying for gratitude*:
Gift-giving God, fill us with gratitude this day:
Gratitude of heart that I might see the gifts of another.
Gratitude of mouth that I might sing their praises.
Gratitude of spirit that I might recognise the blessings You have brought me.
Gratitude of humour as I perceive the playfulness of Your giving.
Gratitude of eyes that I might deeply draw on the wonders of Your created world and know my part in its family.
Gratitude of open hands for all that You will place in them this day.
Gratitude of memory for my story which you have covered with tenderness and mercy.
Gratitude of feet for every step I take this day is a gift.

One or two more repetitions of “Thank you Jesus/Siyabonga”

Receiving God’s Word:
Luke 17:11-19 (The Message):

It happened that as he made his way toward Jerusalem, he crossed over the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance but raised their voices, calling out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

Taking a good look at them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”

They went, and while still on their way, became clean. One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank him enough—and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus said, “Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?” Then he said to him, “Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you.”

Sermon title “Attitudes of Gratitude”:

  1. The greatest enemy of gratitude is entitlement.
  2. True gratitude always finds expression.
  3. Gratitude is a gift for transformation.

Receiving God’s grace:
Come to the table of mercy

What abundance lies before us!
What generosity!
Gifts of the earth that remind us of how deeply we are cherished,
and how costly was the price of God’s love for us.

As we break this bread we remember how Christ took a loaf and tore it,
just as his body was broken that we might be whole.
God of grace, we are grateful for this gift.

As we share this cup we remember how Christ blessed and poured it,
just as his blood was poured out for the forgiveness of our sins.
God of grace, we are grateful for this gift.

And so as we take, and eat, and drink, and remember,
may our lives be open to the healing and the saving works of Your grace,
And by the power of Your Spirit with and within
may we become instruments of Your generosity.
Amen.

Communion is shared.

Responding in faith:
MHB 400 “Take my life”

O God for whom and to whom we are eternally grateful,
accept these gifts
as symbols of our love
and tokens of our thankfulness
for our life and health and many other blessings.

As our lives have been touched by Your good gifts,
May others be touched by ours.
In Jesus name, we pray.
Amen.

Sharing the blessings:
Hymns&Psalms 776: Make me a channel of Your peace

May the generosity of God
continue to delight and surprise you;
to find you in the unlooked for places,
and to transform your way of looking:

May you see the gift of a hand held out hopefully;
God’s invitation in the eyes of a stranger;
and your own abundance in the place of scarcity and want.
Amen.

* Prayer of gratitude taken from Tess Ward’s “Celtic Wheel of the Year

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