Monday, November 24, 2014

Worship Notes for Thanksgiving Eve, 2014

Monday after the Last Sunday of the Church Year
November 24, 2014

The Lord be with you

This coming Thursday is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Properly speaking, this is a national holiday. That being said, giving thanks to the Lord for his many blessings is always appropriate and it is a real blessing that we have the tradition in the USA of setting aside the fourth Thursday in November to do so. We, like most churches in our country, will take advantage of this by offering a special worship opportunity.

As Thanksgiving Day is often filled with family activities, we will have our Thanksgiving service on Wednesday, November 26. Our service will begin at 7:00 pm.

With Feasts and Festivals in the Church Year, it is traditional to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. However Thanksgiving Day is not a Church Year festival but a National Holiday. Therefore our Thanksgiving service will not offer the Lord’s Supper. We will be using the service of Evening Prayer for our liturgy (LSB page 243).

While the lectionary does not assign a specific day for a thanksgiving service, it does recognize that believers will want to have such services. It therefore offers scripture lessons for just such a service, and we will be using them. They are: Psalm 100; Deuteronomy 8:1-10; Philippians 4:6-20 and Luke 17:11-19. The sermon will be titled “Thanks for What?” The text will be Deuteronomy 8:10.

Our opening hymn will be “We Praise You, O God” (LSB 785). Our sermon hymn will be “Now Thank We All Our God” (LSB 895). Our closing hymn will be “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” (LSB 790). We will also use a few of the verses from “We Give Thee But Thine Own” (LSB 781) for our offertory.

Below is a video of a Lutheran congregation singing “We Praise You, O God” in a 2011 Thanksgiving Day service.

A Bible study based on this hymn will also be posted.

Below is a summary of the scripture lessons provided by the LC-MS, followed by the actual readings.

We Praise God for Sustaining Life in and through His Word
The nation resounds with thanksgiving for the earth’s bountiful harvest, crops of wheat and grains, all beneath the canopy of God’s almighty care. But “man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord (Deut. 8:3). The Church is the vessel through which the Word of God penetrates the world with its Law and Gospel. It is this divine Word that proclaims Jesus as the sole source of life, health and wholeness. It is Jesus who heals lepers with His Word: “Go and show yourselves to the priests” (Luke 17:11–19). Of the 10 cleansed, only one expresses thanksgiving back to Jesus. But true gratitude proceeds from a heart sustained by faith. Jesus bids this one Samaritan to “rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” So also, we are sent from the Divine Service, bolstered in our faith by baptismal and Eucharist blessing to be thankful in our circumstances of plenty and hunger, abundance and need (Phil. 4:6–20).

Deuteronomy 8:1-10
8:1            “The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers. 2And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. 3And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. 5Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you. 6So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him. 7For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, 8a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, 9a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.

Philippians 4:6-20
6[D]o not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8           Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
10          I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
14          Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. 15And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. 16Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. 17Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. 18I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Luke 17:11-19
11             On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

A Quick Note:

  • The first Choir practice for our seasonal choir will follow the Thanksgiving Eve service. All who have a song in their hearts are encouraged to join.
Well, I pray we will see you in worship.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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