Earlier this week, at our monthly staff worship service, we participated in an exercise gleaned from the website Interactive Alternative Worship.
First we considered, as many of will do this week, what each of us were currently thankful for. Then, after hearing one of the Bible readings for Thanksgiving Day, we were asked to think of ourselves not only as people of gratitude, but also as people of hope. Specifically, we were invited to wonder about what we hope to be thankful for a year from now.
After taking a few moments to consider this, we each wrote down our “hopeful thanks”—or maybe our “thankful hopes”—on paper plates, as a further reminder that God graciously, abundantly, hopefully provides us all with daily bread and that we have known and will know God's provision in the past, present, and future.
We shared these things for which we hope to be thankful in a year: for our own health and that of our family, friends, and community; for new beginnings and continued happiness; for job satisfaction and children reaching their goals; for new life and renewed spirit in our congregation. We gathered these plates on our communion table—surrounding the plate of bread and the cup of wine that we shared in Christ’s name. We gave thanks for hope, even as we hoped to give thanks yet again. Both our hopes and our thanksgivings were gathered into God.
As you consider all you have to be thankful for this year, as you consider the things for which you hope to be thankful in the year to come, I invite you to pray with me:
“Holy One, we bring you our prayers, our gratitude, our fears, our hopes for this next year. Feed us with your grace, that we may know and see you in every time and place. Make yourself known to us past, present, and future in the breaking of the bread. In Jesus’ name we pray, we give thanks, we hope. Amen.”
Pastor Peter Hanson
Originally published on Nov. 26, 2014 in Christ the King's weekly e-newsletter. Subscribe.