We all need a refresh right now, and nothing re-energizes our faith and lifts our spirits like gratitude. We have created a way so all of us can turn the "interruption" of this year's Thanksgiving Worship Service into an invitation — an invitation to refresh our faith at home.
On this page we've created a kind of build-your-own worship experience. There are 4 movements:
In each section, there are at least two activities. You can choose to do one or all. Plus, you can either lead your household (or yourself!) on your own or let the videos guide you. (A big shout out to all the Bethany folks who are helping us worship this holiday!)
This means you can spend as little as 15 minutes recalibrating your heart — though we believe the more you put into it, the more you'll get out of it. Regardless, please don't miss this opportunity to worship our generous God!
And if you are a child at heart (or you have one who's easily distracted), please download one or more coloring pages here. They can be added to your Wall of Thanksgiving! (Details below.)
While God is always present to us, unfortunately we are not always present to God. So worship begins with preparation. We put away distractions. We focus our attention. We signal to our hearts that it's time to hear from and respond to God.
The first thing we do in worship is to get present. We push aside the hurry of the day. We breathe. We allow our spirits, minds and bodies to settle. We remember that God is with us in this moment.
"Be still and know that I am God."
To Press Pause:
1. Light a candle as a reminder of God’s presence.
2. Take a couple of deep breaths and allow a moment of silence to quiet our bodies and minds and be really present to this moment. We remember: God is always with us.
3. Pray something like this:
"Lord, you have brought us to this time and this place.
Holy Spirit, guide us as we worship and learn what you would have us learn. Amen."
Worship in Song
For many of us, music draws our hearts into God's presence better than anything else. And it focuses our mind on what we're here to do: Give Thanks! Allow the video at right to encourage your heart.
I will be fully satisfied
as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips
my mouth will praise you.
Hearing the Word
Worship is a conversation. So with our hearts prepared, we hear the Word of God, as well as a reflection to help us understand this Word today. And we tune into the quiet work of the Spirit, who will teach us, prompt us, and nudge us to respond.
God's Word to us today is the story of Hannah, a young woman who moves through grief to gratitude. Read her story from 1 Samuel 1 or listen to an adapted version of the story here.
How sweet are your words
to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
I wonder... what was stirred up in you as you experienced this story?
Share with your family or in a journal.
Hear a Reflection
Pastor Steve shares a short reflection on what it means to be grateful in the waiting — for Hannah and for us.
All Scripture is inspired by God and
is useful to teach us what is true...
1 Timothy 3:16
I wonder... what was stirred up in you as you heard this reflection?
I wonder... what you thought about this statement:
It's not the happy people who are thankful, it's the thankful people who are happy.
What small step might you take towards living a more thankful life?
Share with your family or in a journal.
Responding to the Word
God's Word always calls for a response from us. We practice a creative act of gratitude, lift up our voices in thankful song, and/or respond with gifts as an act of appreciation for all God has provided for us.
Create a Gratitude Wall
We have so much to be thankful for! Take time to create a wall of gratitude, as described in the video below. (If you don't have Post-It notes, cut out small pieces of paper and secure them with sticky-tack or tape.)
Build up your wall by including the categories provided below.
Consider what things you are thankful for in the following categories:
Ways daily needs are met
Wonders of creation
Institutions, organizations, ministries
Ways you are grateful even in the midst of suffering or difficulty
SET THE MOOD: As you work on your wall,
play the videos at right or listen to the Spotify Thanksgiving playlist below.
SHARE A PHOTO: When you are done with your Gratitude Wall, please take a photo (or a video) and share it with us! You can text the photo to Pastor Jon or email it to him.
We'll be sure to share your work with others on Bethany's Facebook page!
Sing with Gratitude
Let one or more of these songs guide your reflection on all that we have to be thankful for. Get a piece of paper and pen, and as you listen, jot down all you have to be grateful for. Include ideas from the songs, as well adding your own reasons for being thankful.
Pray Your Gratitude
Review your wall of gratitude or read through your list and offer a prayer to God thanking him for all the many blessings of life. If could be something like this:
Gracious God, I am so very thankful for all these blessings. In particular, I am thankful for _________ today. Amen.
We give not to pay our dues or to support a particular ministry. We give because it's good for us. We give as a response to God's generosity. We give because our hearts are full. We give as an act of trust.
What can you give today? Is it a gift or talent you share with others (and to God)? Is it an act of service? Is it a monetary gift? Say a prayer as you tell God your intentions.
To give your tithes and offerings at Bethany, click the giving link below.
Worship doesn't end when the service is over — we are sent to live a life of worship. And because we go to do God's work (loving and serving others), we go with a blessing and with a final song of praise on our lips.
Think about what specific blessing you need right now or maybe in the next day. With that in mind, hold your hands out and read this blessing or hear it on the video, receiving it in faith.
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you
and be gracious to you.
May the Lord turn his face toward you
and grant you his peace.
Sing the Doxology
Close this time of Thanksgiving Worship by singing the doxology, a practice that ends every worship service at Bethany.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise him, all creatures here below.
Praise him above, ye heavenly hosts.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.