The Sunday before Thanksgiving Day November 20, 2022


A Thanksgiving Poem of Praise

Psalm 103; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Job 1:21; Philippians 4:4-7

Scripture Readings

Psalm 100


27, 570, 568, 36

Hymns from The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) unless otherwise noted

+ In the Name of Jesus Christ +

Text: Psalm 103; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Job 1:21; Philippians 4:4-7

Theme: “A Thanksgiving Poem of Praise”

Prayer of the Day: Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, whose mercies are new unto us every morning and who, though we have in no way deserved Your goodness, abundantly provides for all our needs of body and soul, give us, we pray, Your Holy Spirit that we may acknowledge Your merciful goodness toward us, give thanks for all Your benefits, and serve You in willing obedience. We pray this through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord and Savior, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Psalm 103 (selected verses—RESPONSIVE) (ESV)

P: Bless the LORD, O my soul,

C: and all that is within me, bless his holy name!

P: Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,

C: who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,

P: who redeems your life from the pit,

C: who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

P: who satisfies you with good things

C: so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

P The LORD is merciful and gracious,

C: slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

P: He does not deal with us according to our sins,

C: nor repay us according to our iniquities.

P: For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

C: so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;

P: as far as the east is from the west,

C: so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

P: Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion.

C Bless the LORD, O my soul!

We come today with thankful hearts, We come today with praise!
We come, O Lord, with grateful hearts, To You, our songs we raise!

We come before your altar, Lord, Displayed with food and flow’r,
We come to bring our off’rings, Lord, To You this worship hour.

We come to count our blessings, Lord, Remembering each one:
We start with Your forgiving grace, Sent to us in Your Son.

As far as east from west our sins Are cast away for sure,
Transgressions, guilt, iniquities, Can touch our souls no more.

You’ve washed our sins and all our shame, You nailed them to the cross.
For this we thank and praise Your name! Without You, we are lost.

You’ve healed our souls, and bodies too, May we never forget,
The greatest and the least of all Your gracious benefits.

You satisfy us with good things, Like eagles who fly higher,
Our youth renewed, our strength restored, Because of Your great power.

You’ve given more than we can ask, Or even we desire.
And yet, how often we forget, Or even worse, we tire…

…Of showing thanks and gratitude—Forgive us Lord, we pray!
Improve in us our attitudes, And change our hearts each day!

Instill in us new hearts of thanks, Renew our spirits, Lord.
Help us to show our gratefulness By actions and our words.

For food and drink, for house and home, For family and friends,
For life and breath, for rain and shine, Your mercy knows no ends!

In smiles, in hugs, in laughs, in cries Of joy from little ones;
In grass so green, and trees so big, In rain and in the sun,

In pets, in plants, in times of rest, In work, in play, in peace;
On holidays—or any days—Your blessings do not cease!

In turkey, stuffing, gravy, corn, In homemade pumpkin pie,
In mashed potatoes, butter rolls, We see gifts from on high.

Let’s not forget each one of these—Not even to the least—
As we sit down to say our thanks At our Thanksgiving feasts.

For all God’s benefits we thank And “Bless His holy name,”
And when we do, we join the choir, Of those who do the same:

Your works in heav’n and earth sing praise—Creation as a whole—
And all that is within me sings, “O Bless the LORD, my soul!”

Hymn #27: “O Bless the Lord, My Soul”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (EHV)

As we all make our list today Of things we thank God for,
Let us remember one key thing, For which we thank the Lord:

It’s Him! Without Him nothing’s good, Nothing has any worth.
He’s worth far more than anything, In heaven or on earth!

So while we thank God for all things, Down to the smallest one,
Let us never forget to thank God for His only Son!

He is the reason we “Rejoice Always…in everything,”
He is the One to Whom we pray, without ever ceasing.

So as we look at all the gifts You’ve given to each one,
Lord, Help us think of things above, Not just of earthly ones.

Your earthly gifts are great, O Lord, Each one a gift of love,
But may our greatest thanks be for Your treasures from above.

“For where our treasure is,” You said, “Our heart will be there too.”
“Where moth and rust do not destroy,” In heaven and with You!

You know us, Lord, how prone we are To love the gifts You give,
Instead of giving all our heart To You, and truly live!

So lift our eyes from plates of food To where our souls are fed.
Then we will thank You, Savior God, For more than daily bread.

It is Your will we give You thanks In every time and place.
The key? “In Christ!” God’s only Son, True joy is in His grace!

Hymn #570: “Praise, Oh, Praise, Our God and King”

Job 1:21 And [Job] said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.” (NKJV)

But what about those days and times When things don’t go our way?
When we don’t feel like giving thanks, When tears won’t keep at bay.

For here on earth, as we all know, There’s times of trial and pain.
There’s times when in our circumstance, It’s hard to praise Your name.

Maybe we’re sad, or maybe we Miss loved ones we’ve held dear.
Maybe we’re sick, or hurt, or worn Beyond what we can bear.

Maybe this life’s been just too much, Too much bad news to hear.
There’s COVID (still), and pain, and death—It seems like everywhere!

Can we still praise at times like this? Should we still thank the Lord?
When we can’t feel the love of God, Can we still trust His Word?

The answer’s “Yes!” and always, “Yes!” Just look at Job and Paul:
They both endured great trials, true, But God kept them through all!

Through all the trials Job went through, In sorrow and in pain,
He knew that in the end he’d see His Savior just the same!

So after loss of all he had And all he held so dear,
He knew that “My Redeemer lives,” He kept that promise near.

And even in Job’s earthly life, When all was said and done,
God gave much more than He had took From Job, His treasured son.

And so Job blessed and praised the Lord Through all the tears and pain,
“The LORD may give and take away, I’ll praise Him just the same!”

And look at the Apostle Paul, A man blessed beyond thought:
Though given many gifts from God, With pain his life was fraught.

Shipwrecked and stoned and left for dead In hunger, cold, and pain,
Plagued with a “thorn in his own flesh,” And jailed for Jesus’ name.

In fact, it was from prison he Wrote the next words we’ll read
Reminding us, “Rejoice always! And pray in times of need.”

“Bring all Your anxious thoughts to God, And bring them thankfully!
Do all of this in Jesus Christ, He’ll give your heart true peace!”

So as we hear these words again, Words heard at sermon’s end,
Remember why we can “Rejoice!” For Jesus calls you, “Friend!”

Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always! I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (EHV)

Hymn #568: “We Praise Thee, O God, Our Redeemer, Creator”

—Pastor Luke Bernthal

St. Stephen Lutheran Church
Mt. View and Hayward, CA

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