A Thanksgiving Service—Celebrating Many Streams of Gratitude!
Order of a Participatory Service of Readings, Singing, Prayers & Brief Meditation—November 25, 2021 11:00 am
INTROIT: Cherokee Morning Song
UNISON CALL TO WORSHIP- taken from the spiritual vision of Oglala Lakota mystic—Black Elk
Grandparent, Great Mystery, once more behold us on earth and lean to hear our feeble voices. You lived first, and you are older than all need, older than all prayer. All things belong to you—the two-leggeds, the four-leggeds, the wings of the air and all green things that live. Day in and day out, forever, you are the life of things. Therefore, we are sending a voice, Great Mystery, our Grandparent, forgetting nothing you have made, the stars of the universe and the grasses of the earth. The Great Spirit is everywhere; The Great Spirit hears whatever is in our minds and our hearts. And it is not necessary to speak to The Great Spirit in a loud voice. The power of a thing or an act is in the meaning and the understanding. You have set the powers of the four directions to cross each other. The good road and the road of difficulties you have made to cross; and where they cross, the place is holy.
–adapted from the words of Black Elk, an Olglala Lakota
HYMN: Over My Head Sing the Faith#2148
CONFESSION AND COMMITMENT (the words of Chief Oren Lyons (Haudenosaunee/Iroquois), from his address to the United Nations at the outset of the Year of Indigenous Peoples, December 10, 1992)
We are instructed to make every decision on behalf of the seventh generation to come. We are instructed to give thanks for All That Sustains Us. We are instructed to be generous and to share equally with our brothers and sisters so that all may be content. We are instructed to respect and love our Elders, to serve them in their declining years, to cherish one another. We are instructed to love our children, indeed, to love ALL children. Even though you and I are in different boats, you in your boat and we in our canoe, we share the same River of Life. What befalls me, befalls you. And downstream, in this River of Life, our children will pay for our selfishness, for our greed, and for our lack of vision. We can still alter our course. It is NOT too late. We still have options. We need the courage to change our values to the regeneration of our families, the life that surrounds us. We must join hands with the rest of Creation and speak of Common Sense, Responsibility, Brotherhood, and PEACE. On behalf of the Indigenous People of the Great Turtle Island, I give my appreciation and thanks. Dah ney’ to. Now I am finished. We love I hi do’ hah (I-hee-DOE-hah!) our Mother Earth.
HYMN: Halle, Halle, Hallelujah GTG#591
Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Thanksgiving Address.
Pastor—The Iroquois Thanksgiving Address is a prayer of gratitude dating back more than 1,000 years. It is still spoken at many Iroquois ceremonial, social and governmental gatherings, and is often recited by traditional Haudenosaunee at the start and end of each day. Ohenton Karihwatehkwen means “The Words That Come Before All Else.”
People—Today we have gathered and we see that the cycles of life continue. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living things. So now, we bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and thanks to each other as people. Now our minds are one.
Pastor—We are all thankful to our Mother, the Earth, for she gives us all we need for life.
People—She supports our feet as we walk about upon her. It gives us joy that she continues to care for us as she has from the beginning of time. To our mother, we send greetings and thanks. Now our minds are one.
Pastor—We now turn our thoughts to the Trees.
People—The Earth has many families of Trees who have their own instructions and uses. Some provide us with shelter and shade, others with fruit, beauty and other useful things. Many people of the world use a Tree as a symbol of peace and strength. With one mind, we greet and thank the Tree life. Now our minds are one.
Pastor—We are all thankful to the powers we know as the Four Winds. We hear their voices in the moving air as they refresh us and purify the air we breathe.
People—They help us to bring the change of seasons. From the four directions they come, bringing us messages and giving us strength. With one mind, we send our greetings and thanks to the Four Winds. Now our minds are one.
Response—Pastor—We listen to a section of the Iroquois Friendship Song sung by Dennis Yerry. While Dennis is singing, feel free to remain seated and move your upper body from side to side or stand and move sideways, back and forth, with your feet.
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 100, 111, 146 (rewritten as prayers directly to an inclusive God)
HYMN: Now Thank We All Our God GTG#643
A Brief Thanksgiving Meditation
HYMN: Amazing Grace (stanzas 1-5 + Cherokee) GTG#649
CHORAL ANTHEM: Appalachian Grace—Hannibal, Hannibal, and Raney
PRAYER: Matthew Prayer, Lord’s Prayer, Come Bring Your Burdens to God GTG851
OFFERTORY SOLO: I Will Be Earth-Carly Graefe; Neal Long, tenor
PRAYER OF DEDICATION— Shawnee Traveling Song
Leader: I am walking upon the earth; the earth is my mother.
People: Wherever I walk, I am home.
Leader: I am walking with the people who love me; their love surrounds me.
People: Wherever I walk, I am loved.
Leader: I am walking on the circle of Creator; Creator above, Creator below.
People: Wherever I walk, I am with Creator.
Leader: I am walking upon the earth with people who love me on the circle of Creator.
People: I am always home.
Leader: I am always loved.
People: I am with Creator
HYMN: Bring Forth the Kingdom of God STF#2190
BLESSING (from Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address):
Pastor—We put our minds together to give thanks to our oldest Grandmother, the Moon, who lights the night-time sky.
People—She is the leader of woman all over the world, and she governs the movement of the ocean tides. By her changing face we measure time, and it is the Moon who watches over the arrival of children here on Earth. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to our Grandmother, the Moon. Now our minds are one.
Pastor—We gather our minds to greet and thank the enlightened Teachers who have come to help throughout the ages.
People—When we forget how to live in harmony, they remind us of the way we were instructed to live as people. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to these caring teachers. Now our minds are one.
Pastor—Now we turn our thoughts to the Creator, or Great Spirit, and send greetings and thanks for all the gifts of Creation.
People—Everything we need to live a good life is here on this Mother Earth. For all the love that is still around us, we gather our minds together as one and send our choicest words of greetings and thanks to the Creator. Now our minds are one.
POSTLUDE: Now Thank we All Our God—Justin Heinrich Knecht (1752-1817)
Calling all bakers and helpers!
Our CHRISTMAS COOKIE SALE returns on Saturday, December 18, from 10-2!
This year, for safety reasons, we are offering our cookies pre-boxed, in 1-pound assortments. We’ll offer a standard assortment of delicious Christmas goodies; people with specific dietary issues can reserve a gluten-free, nut-free, and/or vegan box online in advance.
We will also offer baked holiday breads, jams/jellies, and Riva’s beautiful holiday aprons (fabulous gifts!)
We have such excellent bakers and cookie decorators in this congregation, and I really appreciate your help! If you can contribute home made goodies by Friday, December 17, or can help out for an hour on Saturday the 18th, please let Emily (email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ll be boxing up goodies on that Friday (12/17) afternoon/evening and also Saturday morning starting at 8:30, and we could use masked volunteers to help with the boxing up and the door delivery (front and back doors).