Fifth Sunday of Creation Time: 2010

Fifth Sunday of Creation Time

Service of Worship for October 10, 2010: Thanksgiving Sunday

by Michel Gadoury

The Gathering

Scripture: Deuteronomy 26:9

“[A]nd he brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Call to Worship

(Project a picture of a snowflake, representing God’s creation/fractals from chaos theory..)

Eternity is now.
Give God glory!

Cosmos, creation, you and I:
The many are one.
Give God glory!

The earth is our Promised Land.
Give God glory!

Creation is yielding her abundance.
We marvel and gather to give thanks!
To God be the glory!

Opening Prayer

God of abundance,
we hallow your creation
and you warm our pilgrim hearts.
Giver of all,
we are truly grateful to you.
We have come to worship you
joyfully and abundantly!
May it be so! Amen.

Hymn of Praise

“Ev’ry Day Is a Day of Thanksgiving” (More Voices 185)
“Sing Praise to God, Who Reigns Above” (Voices United 216)
“For the Fruit of All Creation” (VU 227)

Children’s Moment: “The Three Sisters”

(Project a picture of squash growing on vine.)

·         We all know what corn is and what beans are, right? Do you like them?

·         Do you know what squash is? (Point out picture of squash and marvel at how it grows.)

·         Our Indigenous people knew how to plant these vegetables.

·         They called them “the three sisters,” and here is why.

·         Before Europeans came to their land, the Indigenous people learned to plant all three seeds in one hole.

·         The corn stalk grew tall and strong so the beans could wind all around it as they grew.

·         The beans gave nitrogen to the soil as they grew, and that helped the squash and corn grow.

·         The squash grew big, big leaves that kept the soil cool and moist.

·         And corn, beans, and squash last a long, long time without being in a refrigerator, so they fed the Indigenous people into the winter when nothing else grew.

·         So corn, beans, and squash help one another to grow, and they help feed the people as part of God’s good creation.

·         When the Europeans came, the Indigenous people taught them how to grow the three sisters and so helped feed the Europeans too.

Prayer of Confession

Generous God,
we know that creation belongs to you
and that we are all one with you, with each other, and with creation.
Forgive us for all that blinds us to your abundance:
        stony hearts,
        words spoken in haste,
        hands grasping with greed.
(a moment for silent confession)
Forgive us, we pray, in Jesus’ name
so that we may live the peace of Christ with all.
Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

Let us remember we are, all of us,
both immigrants and refugees.
When God leads us into a new land,
God is already there,
forgiving us and yearning for us to love all.
We are forgiven: thanks be to God!

Response to the Assurance of Pardon

“All Creatures of Our God and King,” verse 5 (VU 217)

 


The Listening

Scripture Readings

Deuteronomy 26:1–11
Psalm 100
Philippians 4:4–9
John 6:25–35

Sermon: “Great and Promised Lands”

(Project a picture of the painting “The First Thanksgiving” or the video “Thanksgiving through Native Eyes.” See Suggestions for Visual Display at the end of this service.)

Deuteronomy 26:1

“When you have come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, and you possess it, and settle in it…”

·         In the 15th century, Europeans began to settle in the “new” continent.

·         This Promising Land was both beautiful and bountiful!

·         The first settlers, however, did not know how to live in and with it.

·         Indigenous peoples came to their rescue.

·         However, the settlers knowingly and fearsomely turned against the Indigenous people, slaughtering them and pushing them off their land.

·         As if that was not enough, the settlers’ diseases decimated 95 percent of the Indigenous population.

·         Compare this with the story of the Israelites occupying Canaan.

·         Whose land is it? How might we show our gratitude for it today?

Deuteronomy 26:11

“Then you, together with the Levites and the aliens who reside among you, shall celebrate with all the bounty that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house.”

·         In the 20th century, we apologized to the Indigenous populations.

·         We apologized for our ignorance and abuses and now strive to work out right relationships with them.

·         In The United Church of Canada, Indigenous members are living in a period of discernment, seeking how they can be part of our denomination. Non-Indigenous United Church peoples must wait patiently for their decisions.

·         How might we see this period as part of “all the good things” we have here in Canada?

·         What does it mean to rejoice in these “good things”?

·         How strong is our sense that God has given us these “things”?

John 6:33

“For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

·         Little by little we realize that our Promised Land is not only our city/town and our country but the entire planet and all its peoples: We are all one interconnected and small yet important part of God’s wonderful cosmos

·         We can think of the earth as Christ’s body feeding the world.

·         We are a part of Christ’s body and depend on him for our very life.

·         Yet the earth is being depleted on our altar of the economy.

·         We can no longer claim that we do not know what we are doing.

·         We need to work for justice and harmony for all.

·         How truly thankful are we?

·         How might or do we express that thankfulness?

Hymn of Faith

“Draw the Circle Wide” (MV 145)
“Into the Unshaped Silence” (VU 305)
“God, Who Touches Earth with Beauty” (VU 310)
“Come, You Thankful People, Come” (VU 516)

Prayer of Thanksgiving and Supplication

Thank you, generous God, for
        countless stars at night
        the warmth of campfires
        the feel of good earth in our hands
        the rush of water in a river and the trickle of the tiny stream
        robins chirping to each other at sunset
        the silent thumping of a rabbit across the church lawn
        the colours of fall trees, thanksgiving harvests, and our festive dinner table
        the hope of a cure for cancer and cleaner air
        our safety as we fall asleep at night and the joy of abundant living by day
        the love of family near and far away
        the companionship of our closest friends
        the faithful lives of those who have gone before us
        the challenges of being church in our time and place
        all those who work for justice and peace here and around our world.
(a moment for personal thanksgiving)

May we be truly thankful.
Help us to set aside ignorance, to grow in wisdom,
and to share our abundance with everyone.
Help us to dismantle our walls of indifference
and to open our ears to other cultures in our midst.
Help us to care abundantly for creation as Christ’s own body,
and to rejoice in your diversity, seen in all of life.
(a moment for personal supplication)

The Lord’s Prayer

Hymn of Departure

“Into the Unshaped Silence” (VU 305)
“O Praise the Gracious Power” (VU 397)

Commissioning for Mission

God’s energetic love connects us
with everyone and with all creation.
We will care!
God’s generous gifts come to us
this Thanksgiving Sunday and always.
We will be grateful!

Benediction

May the blessing of
God, the Creator,
Christ, the Bread of Life,
and the Holy Spirit, the Giver of all,
remain with you this day and always.
Amen

Suggestions for Visual Display

If you have access to Facebook you can download photos for this service from www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2036156&id=1247823918&saved#!/album.php?aid=2036156&id=1247823918.

Children’s Moment: squash for “the three sisters”

Call to Worship: snowflake, symbolizing God’s creation and chaos theory/fractals

Sermon Suggestions:

              “Thanksgiving through Native Eyes,” www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCt1w0VfBIM&NR=1, 3 min. 50 sec.

        or

              “The First Thanksgiving,” painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_First_Thanksgiving_Jean_Louis_Gerome_Ferris.png

Commissioning for Mission: spider web, symbolizing cosmic interconnection

Michel Gadoury est un nouveau membre de l’Église Unie. Ses intérêts sont l’Écologie, les nouvelles technologies et le français.

 

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