Trinity United Church
Thanksgiving (Proper 23)
Oct 11, 2020
“Connection not Perfection”
Acknowledgement of Territory
We humbly acknowledge that even as we gather digitally, we gather and live and work on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish People, Trinity United Church rests on the unceded territory of the Kwikwitlem First Nations.
Prelude (CLICK HERE to see video)
Call to Worship
Even as we are dispersed, God makes us one in worship.
Let us bring our hearts together to worship. We pray…
Prayer of Approach
We Gather, remembering all God has done for us and to give our thanks.
Make us mindful of your presence, O God, in this time of worship that we might draw closer to each other and to you and leave this time, prepared to share your gifts with the world.
Hymn “Come, Let Us Sing!” VU 222
CLICK HERE to listen.
Prayer of Reconciliation and Words of Assurance
Holy One, you lead us out of slavery and set us free;
You guide us to safety and make us secure;
You provide for us in the wilderness with bread from heaven and water from the rocks;
You give us a law and a land where we can flourish and know the abundance of your love.
Then we are tempted to forget that all we have, is gifted to us from you;
We fool ourselves into believing that what we have, what we have accomplished, what we have made, is done by our own hands, forgetting that you gave us the abilities to achieve.
We hoard up wealth and comfort for ourselves and neglect to share your providence with others.
We consider ourselves special recipients of your grace.
Call us back into the promise and remind us to be grateful, to recognize your largess as blessing and grace, and not as entitlement.
In the name of the one who comes in your name, we pray. Amen.
God’s love is steadfast and sure.
And though we wander astray, God constantly calls us back into loving relationship.
Be at peace, through Jesus Christ, we are made one with our God. Thanks be to God.
Telling our Ancient Story “Remember the Lord Your God”
The Lord your God: Praise God! Praise God!
Egypt/Slavery/wilderness: Boo! Hiss!
Multiplied: [shake your change/keys] Sign/Wonder: Ooo! Ahh!
For the Lord Your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barely, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. You shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that he has given you. Take care that you do not forget the Lord your God, by failing to keep his commandments, his ordinances, and his statutes, which I am commanding you today. When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have in multiplied, then do not exalt yourself, forgetting the Lord Your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, an arid wasteland with poisonous snakes and scorpions. The Lord your God showed you the sign of water flowing from flint rock, and made a wonder by feeding you manna in the wilderness, in the end to do you good. Do not say to yourself, "My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth." But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today. That is how God spoke of the Promised Land!
Hymn “Joyful, Joyful” VU 232
CLICK HERE to listen.
On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ When he saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ Then he said to him, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.’
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable, O God, our rock and our redeemer. Amen.
"Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?"
I find this passage about the 10 who were “made clean” and the Samaritan who “gave praise” very troubling for several reasons.
One problem I have with this passage is the association between health and cleanliness and ill health and dirtiness.
Sometimes we use the language of, "I'm clean." And what is meant is that the individual who is "clean" doesn't have a particular disease, or that they aren't using drugs.
What's the opposite of clean but dirty?
Does that mean that if you have a disease, or if you have addictions that you are a dirty person?
In our context, it is a hurtful and offensive metaphor.
Let me be clear, to be sick or to have addictions is not to be dirty.
So we will talk about the ten who received some kind of healing.
Another problem I find with this passage is that on a plain reading we might be tempted to think that Jesus is condemning the nine people who also received healing but who didn't return to him to give thanks. With this reading, we might be tempted to think that because we show up on a weekly basis to “give praise” to God we are somehow better than those folk who do not. Living with that kind of judgment in our souls does not make us healthy people.
Jesus points out that the one who returned to give thanks was a Samaritan. The one who did return and show gratitude was the least expected among Jesus' audience to return and show gratitude. And that is significant.
Despite the fact that we use this passage about the 10 who were healed and the Samaritan who gave praise every Thanksgiving, I believe this passage is less about thanksgiving and more about seeing "the least of these" (a Samaritan) as a model for how to follow Jesus.
The "least of these," in this case a "foreigner," someone one "unclean," is praised by Jesus for his behaviour.
I wonder, in our world, who are the models of humility, gratitude, and obedience?
In the story we heard today, Jesus gave instructions, "Go and show yourselves to the priests."
We do not know what the other nine did.
Are the other nine to be condemned if they actually did what Jesus told them to do?
Some people feel the need to make a big show of saying grace when they are in a restaurant. But you know, I would much rather you show your gratitude by being kind and generous to your servers. There's no reason you couldn't do both. But if its one or the other, I'd rather you be kind and generous to your server. Especially these days!
Our gratitude is to be shown by living the way God calls us to live.
Yes, we give God thanks and praise, but if our prayers do not extend to our actions, our prayers are meaningless.
I know that lately, I don't eat out in restaurants very often and when I do I am SO grateful, perhaps more grateful than I was when I got to do it all the time.
Abstinence has made my heart grow fonder.
I know that the enforced abstinence that we've been experiencing these last 8 months has made me SO grateful for some simple things:
When I do see people face to face;
four people always feels like a party!
When David and I made music in the sanctuary again - so simple, but so good;
When I do hear people's voices on the phone,
or I do see people's faces on a screen;
When I take my mask off and I can breathe normally again;
I am not currently taking any of those things for granted! And I'm grateful for that. I believe we are better Christians, and healthier people, when we live from our gratitude.
May we be careful with our words.
May we be grateful for simple things.
May we live our gratitude forward
in how we treat other people. Amen.
The Great Thanksgiving
O God, We Remember
We remember in the beginning, you created everything that is: the smallest grain of sand, the largest ocean, the most distant star and the air we breathe. You made us and placed us in the midst of that creation. You looked at it and saw that it was good. O God, We remember!
We remember that you made a promise to Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Rachel; you made a promise to all the children of Israel, to all those who would seek to follow your way in the world. You gave us a law and scripture to know how you want us to live in the world. O God, we remember!
Sometimes we forget to follow the way you lead. We hurt ourselves and each other. We get lost, we get scared, we get confused. So you sent us prophets, wise men and women to call us back to following you. O God, We remember!
We remember that you sent your child, Jesus into the world to remind us who we are and whose we are. O God, we remember!
I invite you to hold the bread in your hands. Imagine God’s love flowing into that bread like a light from above, filling the bread with love, affirmation, and power to get things done: We remember that on the night before he died, Jesus sat at table with his friends. He took a loaf of bread, gave thanks for it, broke it, shared it with his friends and said, “Take, eat, this is the bread of new life, broken for you. Whenever you do this, remember me.” O God, We remember!
I invite you to hold the juice in your hands and once again, imagine God’s loving flowing into that juice/wine like a light from above, filling the juice/wine with love, affirmation, and power to get things done. We remember on that same night he took a cup of wine, gave thanks for it, shared it with his friends and said, “Share this cup, this is God’s promise poured out for you. Whenever you do this, remember me.” O God, We remember!
Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again. Loving God, Send your Spirit among us. Fill us, these gifts and what we do with your presence so we might be nourished in this meal to follow your call. Amen. All Glory is your, One God, now and forever, amen.
The Disciples’ Prayer “Our Father, who art in heaven…”
The Bread of New Life, broken for you.
The Cup of Promise, poured out for you.
Creator God, make us grateful for all we have received: for the presence of your Son, Jesus Christ in this feast; for a community within which we can live and grow as people of faith; for ministries and ways of sharing the gifts you have given us. May we now and always be a people who seek justice for the oppressed, comfort for the lonely and new life for the grieving. May we be a people of eternal thanksgiving, praise and celebration for your great creation and our participation in it. Thanks be to you, O God. Amen.
Hymn “Praise the Lord with the Sound of Trumpet” VU 245
CLICK HERE to listen.
Commissioning and Benediction
As we return to our everyday lives,
Let us continue to celebrate and live true thanksgiving.
And may the grace of Christ attend us,
The love of God surround us,
And the Holy Spirit Keep us. Amen.