As a bi-national denomination, we are fortunate to have two Thanksgiving seasons to celebrate! This blog is intended to fit right between the Canadian and American Thanksgiving dates . . . not too late for Canadians to still give thanks and not too early for Americans to plan ahead.
Worship Planners/Leaders/Preachers plan our Thanksgiving services to be events that allow God’s people to express their heartfelt thanks to God for the many things God has done for us. We pick songs of thanks, we plan prayers that include a myriad of reasons for thanks, we prepare visual art, make banners, cooperate with the Deacons for special offerings and find yet another text of thanksgiving to preach on.
Doing all that work . . . who has time for giving thanks? Oh, I don’t doubt that we are all thankful to God and our sacrifice of time and talents are all genuine offerings back to the Lord in thanks for what he has given us. What I’m wondering is . . .in the midst of the extra work of the current and coming season, how well do we show our thankfulness to the many people who help us do our jobs?
I sincerely hope that you serve a thankful congregation. I hope that the people of God who benefit from your thoughtful planning each week take the time to express their gratitude to you and other worship leaders/planners after a worship service. I hope some of them write notes or emails of thanks. I hope that the Elders spur you on with comments that convey their gratitude for the ways that you add to the spiritual growth of God’s people by your thoughtful worship planning and preaching.
But we who have the privilege and challenge of planning and leading worship know that we are not in this job alone. So this year, I hope something else. I hope that we who are the recipients of thanks are also the purveyors of thanks to the members of our congregation who give their time and talent to our worship services. And if you find yourself in a tight-lipped congregation where gratitude is doled out in teaspoons, can I encourage you to start the tradition of lavishing the thanks on others? Maybe your practice of gratitude will become contagious.
As Paul said, “I give God thanks for you.” Maybe in addition to thanking God for those who work among us, we might send a note or card to tell them that we thank them too.
Here’s the start of my list: Pianist, Organist, Choir Director, musicians, sound techs, banner makers, Children in Worship leaders, guy who got the rocks for the Joshua altar display . . .
Who am I forgetting? Who is on your list?