A Service of Thanksgiving

This order of prayer is intended for use at the family table at Thanksgiving.  The Leader (L) should be the head of the household.  The Congregation (C) are all those gathered at the table.  The order may be abbreviated or adapted, based on the specific needs of the household.  The hymn may be sung or read.

Leader: O Lord, open my lips,
C: And my mouth will declare Your praise.

L: Make haste, O God, to deliver me;
C: Make haste to help me, O Lord.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.  Amen.

Psalm 67 (recited together)
May God  be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to  shine upon us,
that  your way may be known on earth,
your  saving power among all nations. 
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you! 
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you! 
The earth has  yielded its increase;
God, our God, shall bless us. 
God shall bless us;
let all the ends of the earth fear him! 

Reading and Devotion

Deuteronomy 8:1-10
Philippians 4:6-20
Luke 17:11-19

On the way to Jerusalem  he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee.  And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”  When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed.  Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice;  and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was  a Samaritan.  Then Jesus answered, “Were not  ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11-19)

What a great gift is health restored!  Think of when you recovered from an illness or surgery.  What a great gift for those ten leprous men – no longer contagious, unclean, isolated from community, family, and friends.  Ten lepers sought mercy from Jesus on the road between Samaria and Galilee; all ten received mercy from the Merciful One.  He sends them to the priests to verify their cleansing.  All were cleansed, healed by the One whose wounds heal the world.

One stopped and turned back to praise God at the feet of Jesus.  One recognized that he lived by mercy and not by merit, that this Jesus was the Source of his healing.  One stopped to give thanks to the Giver of the gift.  He was a Samaritan.

Samaritans were despised.  Jesus picks up on that and underscores it.  “Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”  The “outsider” turns out to be an “insider,” a child of God, a son of the kingdom.  The Samaritan is faith-full, full of faith in Jesus that stops him in his tracks, spins him around on the road, and sends him sprawling at Jesus’ feet in gratitude to God for what He has done.

It takes no faith to be healed, or to receive any other gifts of the 1st article – clothing, shoes, food, drink, house, home, spouse, children, land, animals, cars, toys, you name it.  All these come purely out of God’s fatherly divine goodness, without any merit or worthiness in us.  It is all mercy and not by merit or even by faith.

It takes faith to thank God for His gifts, to bow at the feet of Jesus and praise Him.  That is our duty as priests to God, to thank and praise, serve and obey God for all His goodness and mercy to us and to the world.  On this national day of thanksgiving, we pause on our road and turn to God through His Son Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit who works faith in our hearts to render our thanks and praise.  That’s what faith does.  

It is truly good, right, and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to You, holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

SUGGESTED HYMNS

We Praise You, O God, our Redeemer, Creator (LSB  #785)
Praise and Thanksgiving, Father, We Offer (LSB #789)
Sing to the Lord of Harvest (LSB #893)
For the Fruits of His Creation (LSB #894)
Now Thank We All Our God (LSB #895)
Feed Thy Children, God Most Holy  (LSB #774)

L:  O Lord, C:  have mercy.
L:  O Christ, C:  have mercy.
L:  O Lord, C:  have mercy.

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;
give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever.  Amen.

Litany of Thanksgiving

L: Holy and most gracious Father in heaven, your mercies shower down upon us each and every day, without any merit or worthiness on our part; and so we pause this evening to render thanks and praise to You for the vast abundance of your gifts:  

For Your holy Church and holy ministry, for the preaching of the good news of Jesus Christ for the salvation of the world, for the regenerating and renewing washing of Holy Baptism, for the Supper of our Savior’s body and blood, for His absolving words of forgiveness, 
C:  We give you thanks, O Lord.

L:  For the Holy Spirit and your holy Word, for steadfast faith in Jesus Christ, for the full pardon for our sins, for the freedom of life in the kingdom of Your Son, for for the promised inheritance of eternal life,
C:  We give you thanks, O Lord.

L:  For the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ; for His incarnation, His perfect obedience under the Law, His suffering and death, His resurrection and ascension to the right hand of Majesty, and for His gracious reign over all things for our blessing,
C:  We give you thanks, O Lord.

L:  For the wondrous gifts of creation, for the beauty of earth and sky, mountains and sea, for rain and sunshine in their season, for the plentiful harvest of the land, for farmers who tend the soil; for seed to the sower, bread on our tables, wine that gladdens the heart, for meat and grain, and all lavish richness of your banquet table,
C:  We give you thanks, O Lord.

L: For government and all in authority; for the freedoms of worship and speech and assembly, for free commerce and industry, 
C:  We give you thanks, O Lord.

L:  For home and family, for parents and children, for the company of friends and family, for congregation and community, and for all with whom we share the joys and sorrows of this life,
C:  We give you thanks, O Lord.

L:  For artists and musicians, writers, poets and craftsmen, for the beauty of text and tune, color and light, and for all who adorn our lives with laughter and beauty,
C:  We give you thanks, O Lord.

L:  For those who defend us from danger and care for our bodies; for policemen, firemen, and soldiers, for doctors and dentists, nurses and hygienists, emergency workers. for those who care for the poor, the dying, the aging, the homeless, the hurting and the helpless,
C:  We give you thanks, O Lord.

L:  For teachers and schools and all places of learning, for laborers and mechanics, for those who build and those who plan, for scientists and researchers, for engineers and craftsmen,
C:  We give you thanks, O Lord.

L:  For every good and perfect which comes down from above, which You daily and richly provide us purely out of fatherly goodness and mercy,
C:  We give you thanks, O Lord.

L:  Thanksgiving, honor, glory be to You, O Father, through your Son Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit, now and forever.  Amen.

L:  Almighty God, Your mercies are new every morning, and You graciously provide for all our needs of body and soul.  Grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may acknowledge Your goodness, give thanks for Your benefits, and serve You in willing obedience all our days; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

L:  Let us bless the Lord.
C: Thanks be to God.

L: The Lord bless us, defend us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life.
C: Amen.

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