National Day of Thanksgiving

Service of Worship & Praise

Grace Lutheran Church

Lowell, Arkansas

a member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod


November 24, 2022


The Festival Service for our National Day of Thanksgiving




Welcome to our worship service this morning.   We are thankful to our Lord and to you that you are able to spend this time with us in His house.   As you hear and meditate on the Word of our God today, it is our prayer that the Holy Spirit will bless your heart, filling you with the sincere desire to express your faith in worship and praise to God in response to all that our gracious Lord has done for you.




Pre-service Prayer …..I enter Your house this morning, O Lord, to praise You for the many undeserved material and spiritual blessings which You have graciously given to me.   As I hear Your Word and sing Your praises, help me to remember and to give You humble and heartfelt thanks for my greatest of all treasures:    Your Son, my Savior, Jesus Christ.  In His name I pray.   Amen.




Pre-service prayer                                                                                                                  Pre-service music



We Offer our Praises to God


The Welcome and Invitation to Worship

at the Pastor’s invitation, the Congregation will rise for

The Invocation                      

We begin this worship service…..

In the name of the Father, by Whose word the world was formed

and by whose power all things are sustained.  And


Of the Son,

by Whose suffering and death we have been redeemed,

and by Whose resurrection we are assured of heaven.   And


Of the Holy Spirit,

Who – through the Means of Grace has both brought us to faith

and keeps us in the one true faith.  Amen.

The Psalm for the Festival                                                                      selected verses of Psalms 65 and 148

P:         Praise waits for You, O God, in Zion.   To You vows will be fulfilled.    O You Who hear our prayer, to You all mortals come.


C:         The record of my guilt overpowered me.   +   You atone for our rebellious acts.     +   How blessed is the one You choose and bring near.   +   He will dwell in your courtyards!


P:         In righteousness You answer us with awesome deeds, O God Who saves us.    He is trusted by all the farthest ends of the earth and the seas.


C:         You visit the earth and water it;   +   You make it very rich.     +  God’s stream is filled with water.   You provide grain for them just as You planned.    +    You drench the land’s furrows.   + You flatten its plowed ground.   +   You soften it with showers.   You bless its crops.   +    You crown the year with Your goodness.    +   The tracks made by Your carts overflow with riches.


P:         Praise the LORD.   Praise the LORD from the heavens.  Praise Him in the heights.   Let them praise the name of the LORD, because He commanded and they were created.    He caused them to stand forever and ever.    He gave a decree and it will not pass away.

C:         Praise the LORD from the earth, great sea creatures and all ocean depths,  + fire and hail, snow and fog,   +   storm winds that obey His words,   +   mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars,   +   wild animals and all cattle,  + crawling creatures and flying birds,   


P:         Kings of the earth and all peoples, officials and all judges on earth, young men and also young women, old people and young people.    Let them praise the name of the LORD, for His name alone is exalted;       

C:         His splendor is above the earth and the heavens.   +    He has raised up a horn for His people,   +   the praise of all His favored ones,  +   for the children of Israel, the people close to Him.  +   Praise the LORD.


after which the Congregation may be seated for

The Opening Hymn                                                                     Hymn 610   “Now Thank We All Our God”


1 Now thank we all our God   With hearts and hands and voices,

Who wondrous things has done,   In whom his world rejoices,

Who from our mother’s arms   Has blessed us on our way

With countless gifts of love   And still is ours today.


2 Oh, may this bounteous God    Through all our life be near us,

With ever-joyful hearts    And blessed peace to cheer us

And keep us in his grace    And guide us when perplexed

And free us from all ills    In this world and the next.


3 All praise and thanks to God   The Father now be given,

The Son, and him who reigns    With them in highest heaven,

The one eternal God,    Whom earth and heav’n adore!

For thus it was, is now,   And shall be evermore.



after which the Congregation will rise as


Hear Us and Forgive Us, Lord

Pastor           The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.

Congregation            And also with you.

Pastor           God invites us to come into His presence and worship Him with humble and penitent hearts.  Therefore, let us now turn to Him, acknowledging our sinfulness and seeking His forgiveness.

Congregation Holy and most merciful Father,     I confess that I am by nature sinful, and that I have disobeyed You in my thoughts, words, and actions;  Each day I turn away from Your Will. I have left undone those

things which You have asked me to do,    and I have done those things which You tell me not to do.    I do not love You or my neighbor the way I should.     Because of these,    and all of my other sins,    too numerous for me to recall,      I acknowledge that I deserve nothing less than Your punishment      both now and for eternity.     But I am truly sorry for the evil that I have thought, spoken, and done,     and trusting in the perfect life,   and innocent death of my Savior, Jesus Christ, I pray:    Lord, forgive me all my sins,      restore to me the joy of Your salvation,   and strengthen my weak faith through the promises of Your divine Word     that I may obtain Your promised grace.

Pastor            Find comfort for your souls, then, in these words of our Lord:   “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just, and will purify us from all unrighteousness,  because we have One Who  speaks to the

 Father in our defense — Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.   We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”   And now, upon this, your voluntary confession,  I, because of my office as a called servant of God’s Word,  announce the grace of God to all of you.  And, in the place of, and according to the command of my Lord Jesus Christ,  I forgive you all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.   May the peace of God be with you.  Amen.

after which the Congregation may be seated


We Listen to the Word of our Lord


The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                     II Thessalonians 1:3

3 We are always obligated to thank God for you, brothers, as is fitting, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love that each and every one of you has for one another is increasing.

I Thank God for You…and You…and You



Old Testament Lesson                                                                                                    I Chronicles 29:10-20

10 David blessed the Lord in the presence of the entire assembly. He said:   Blessed are you, Lord, the God of Israel, our father, from eternity to eternity. 11 To you, O Lord, belong greatness, power, glory, victory, and majesty, because everything in the heavens and on the earth belongs to you. You, Lord, are exalted as head above everything. The kingdom belongs to you. 12 Riches and honor come from you. You are ruling over everything. In your hand are power and strength. It is in your power to make anyone great and strong. 13 Now, our God, we are thanking you and praising your glorious name.   14 Who am I? Who are my people that we are able to offer willingly like this? For everything comes from you. What we have given to you came from your hand. 15 We are aliens and temporary residents before you, as were all our fathers. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope of staying.     16 Lord, our God, all this abundance, which we have provided for building a house for you, for your holy name, is from your hand. This abundance belongs to you.

17 I know, my God, that you test the heart, and you take pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things. Now with joy I see your people, who are present here to bring the offering freely to you.  18 Lord, the God of our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, preserve forever this purpose and way of thinking in the heart of your people. Direct their heart to you.  19 To my son Solomon, give an undivided heart to keep your commandments, your testimonies, and your statutes, to do everything needed to build the citadel for which I have made preparations.     20 David said to the whole assembly, “Now bless the Lord your God.” So all the assembly blessed the Lord, the God of their fathers. They bowed and stretched out flat on the ground before the Lord and the king.

out of respect for the words of our Lord Jesus,  the Congregation will rise for the reading of

The Thanksgiving Gospel Lesson                                                                                             Luke 17:11-19

11 On another occasion, as Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, he was passing along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 When he entered a certain village, ten men with leprosy met him. Standing at a distance, 13 they called out loudly, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”   14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” As they went away they were cleansed.   15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice. 16 He fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, thanking him. And he was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus responded, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Get up and go your way. Your faith has saved you.”

after which the Congregation will be seated


The Sermon Hymn                                                                 Hymn 234  “Praise to the Lord, The Almighty”



1 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,   the King of creation!

O my soul, praise him,    for he is your health and salvation!

Let all who hear Now to his temple draw near,    Joining in glad adoration!


2 Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things    is wondrously reigning

And, as on wings of an eagle,    uplifting, sustaining.

Have you not seen All that is needful has been   Sent by his gracious ordaining? 


3 Praise to the Lord, who has fearfully,    wondrously, made you,

Health has bestowed and, when heedlessly    falling, has stayed you.

What need or grief Ever has failed of relief?    Wings of his mercy did shade you.


4 Praise to the Lord, who will prosper    your work and defend you;

Surely his goodness and mercy    shall daily attend you.

Ponder anew What the Almighty can do   As with his love he befriends you.


5 Praise to the Lord! Oh, let all  that is in me adore him!

All that has life and breath, come now   with praises before him!

Let the Amen Sound from his people again;   Gladly forever adore him!



following which the Congregation will rise for

Pre-Sermon Greeting Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us

with every spiritual blessing in Christ.   May the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer!  Amen.

The Thanksgiving Meditation                                                                                   based on Luke 17:11-19

Faith That Expresses Itself in Thankfulness


The Post-Sermon Benediction

May the Lord our God be with us as He was with our fathers;  may He never leave us or forsake us.  May He turn our hearts to Him, to walk in all His ways.

                                                                                                                            (Luther’s “Explanation” to the

Our Confession of Faith                                                                                First Article of the Apostles’ Creed)

I believe that God made me and every creature,  +   and that He gave me my body and soul,  +   eyes and ears and all my members,  +    my mind and all my abilities.  +   And I believe that God still preserves me    +    by richly and daily providing clothing and shoes,  +   food and drink,  +   house and home,   +    wife and children,   +    land, cattle, and all I own,   +  and all that I need to keep my body and life,   +    and by defending me against all danger   +  and guarding and protecting me from all evil.   +   All this God does only because He is my good and merciful Father in heaven,  +   and not because I have earned or deserved it.  +   For all this I ought to thank and praise,   +   to serve and obey Him.   +    This is most certainly true.   Amen.



We Offer Our Gifts to the Lord

Our Offerings of Love to our Lord


Offerings will be received this morning through offering plates passed among those who have gathered here for worship.

   However, for those viewing this service online,  we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:     

1) You can mail a check (no cash) to the church address:    (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745)

2) You can also donate on our website:

the Congregation will rise as the offerings are brought to the altar

We Bring Our Prayers Before the Lord God

P:         We thank and praise You, Gracious Lord, for the gift of YOUR WORD, through which we have found peace, comfort, assurance, and eternal hope.  Guide us through Your Holy Spirit that we might treasure it always, use it daily, and spread faithfully.

C:         Hymn 279                                                                        ………….O Word of God, Incarnate   verse 1


Oh Word of God, Incarnate,  O Wisdom from on high,

Oh Truth unchanged, unchanging,   O Light of our dark sky –

We praise Thee for the radiance   That from the hallowed page,

A lantern to our footsteps,  Shines on from age to age.

P:         We thank and praise You, Gracious Lord, for sustaining us through Your gifts of LIFE and HEALTH and for the abundance of EARTHLY POSSESSIONS, with which You have generously provided us.  Please teach and guide us to use our lives and all else that You have entrusted to us, to serve You willingly and faithfully throughout our days.

C:         Hymn 612                                                            ……………”Praise To God, Immortal Praise”   verse 3


Peace, prosperity and health,    Private bliss and public wealth,

Knowledge with its glad’ning streams,     True religion’s holier beams –

Lord for these our souls shall raise      Grateful vows and solemn praise.

P:         We thank and praise You, Gracious Lord, for the gifts of FAITH and SALVATION, through which You have made us Your children and heirs of life everlasting.  Help us, today and every day, to grow stronger in our faith.  And help us always to be mindful that we have been saved, not by our merits or worth, but by Your free grace alone, through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Savior

C:         Hymn 340                                                                 …………….”Oh, For A Thousand Tongues To Sing

                                                                                                                                                      verses 1 and 5


Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing   My great Redeemer’s praise,

The glories of my God and King, The triumphs of His grace:


Look unto Him, ye nations; own  Your God, ye fallen race.

Look and be saved through faith alone,  Be justified by grace.

P:         We thank and praise You, Gracious Lord, for the countless blessings which You have also showered upon us in this NATION and among its CITIZENS.  Particularly, we thank You for blessings of freedom and peace, and for the privilege of being able to publicly worship and serve You.

C:         Hymn 619                                                                             ……………….”God Bless Our Native Land


God bless our native land!  Firm may she ever stand      Thro’ storm and night

When the wild tempests rave,   Ruler of wind and wave,

Do Thou our country save,      By Thy great might.


For her our prayers shall rise    To God above the skies        On Him we wait

Thou who art ever nigh Guarding with watchful eye 

To Thee aloud we cry God save the state!

P:         And lest we forget our spiritual forebearers who contended for and handed down to us the faith we share today we thank and praise You, Gracious Lord for preserving them in the true faith and for the ETERNAL VICTORY You have given both to those fellow Christian pilgrims and to our own loved ones, who now live with You in heavenly glory.


C:         Hymn 551                                                         ……”For All The Saints Who From Their Labors Rest

                                                                                                                                                       verses 1 and 4


For all the saints who from their labors rest,

Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,

Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest.  Alleluia!   Alleluia!  


O blest communion, fellowship divine, 

We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;

Yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine.  Alleluia!  Alleluia!


P:         For ALL these and countless other BLESSINGS OF BODY AND SOUL, which are new to us each morning, we thank and praise You, our Almighty and everlasting Lord.  Once more then, we rise and unite our hearts and voices in approaching Your throne of grace to sing:

the Congregation NOW RISES to sing


C:         Hymn 609                                                          ……”We Praise You O God, Our Redeemer – Creator”

                                                                                                                                                                 verse 3

With voices united our praises we offer    To You, Great Jehovah, glad anthems we raise.

Your strong arm will guide us;   our God is beside us.   To You, our great Redeemer, fore’er be praise!


The Lord’s Prayer   

Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name;  Thy kingdom come;  Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;  Give us this day our daily bread;  And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us;  And lead us not into temptation;  But deliver us from evil;  For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever.  Amen.



We Leave With The Lord’s Blessing


The Benediction 


The Lord bless you and keep you. 

The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.

 The Lord look with favor upon you and give you His peace.   Amen.”

Silent prayer, Announcements, Post-service Music

+ + +  Thank You  + + +

….for being a part of our worshiping assembly on this Thanksgiving morning.   We invite you to join those around you at the conclusion of  today’s service, for a special Thanksgiving Day fellowship dinner,

to be held in our gymnasium/fellowship hall.

Above all,  it is our prayer that the Lord has enriched and strengthened your faith as you meditated upon His Word and offered Him your praises this morning.    And, finally, we do hope that you will return again, soon, to join us in worshiping and praising our gracious and glorious God!   May the comfort of God’s love and His forgiveness through Jesus Christ be with you throughout this day and this week.


The National Day of Thanksgiving – A Brief History

    Thanksgiving Day is America’s most typical, most distinctive national holiday.  Other nations have holidays that are like our Fourth of July “Independence Day” celebration;  many nations celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Day;  and many observe the birthdays of national heros.  Only a very few, however, (one of which is our neighbor to the north, Canada) have days of national thanksgiving to God.

    The idea of giving thanks is neither new nor peculiarly American.  The ancient Hebrew Feast of Tabernacles (Succoth) is a thanksgiving and harvest festival.   The ancient Greeks had a harvest festival, which they called the feast of Demeter, as did the ancient Romans.  But the immediate forerunner of our country’s National Day of Thanksgiving was the old English “Harvest Home” celebration.  Each autumn it was built around a public worship service of thanksgiving to God for the harvest He had provided.  Following the worship service, the assembly would share in a public feast.

    It was customary for the earliest colonists, upon their arrival in America to immediately conduct worship services in order to render thanks to God for their safe arrival.  However, the Thanksgiving that we, by tradition, celebrate today has its origin in the Pilgrim’s famous “Thanksgiving Day” celebration.  It happened in the fall of 1621.   The Pilgrims had come to Plymouth from England, in search of a place where they could practice their religion in freedom (a right which many of us take for granted today).  When they had landed on the cold Massachusetts shore in November 1620, many of them were exhausted and physically sick from their long voyage.   Nevertheless, with winter coming on, they immediately began to cut down trees and drag them by hand (since they had no horses) to their encampment.    There they hastily fashioned houses for themselves and a blockhouse, or wooden fort, for the protection of their community.   The winter that followed was intensely cold and difficult in a way they had never before experienced.  Many early colonists, among them Governor William Bradford’s wife, perished from exposure, illness, or malnutrition.   

    By the grace of God, there had been no threat to the Pilgrims that winter from the Indians.  They had made a treaty with the great chief Massasoit, establishing a peace between Pilgrim and Indian that was to endure for nearly fifty years.   Still they had to live with the very real threat of starvation that year, since they had brought with them from England barely enough food to last them through that first winter, spring and summer.   With winter’s disaster still fresh in their minds, the Pilgrims were highly motivated to plant their corn carefully that spring, just as the Indians had taught them.   They also made sure to pray to God for an abundant harvest.   The life and death struggle of their first winter had taught the Pilgrims the importance of being grateful for whatever food the land would yield to them.  It should come as no surprise to us, then, that when they gathered in a bountiful corn harvest that fall, our Pilgrim “forefathers” choose to publicly thank God for the harvest and their deliverance from hunger and starvation.  They invited their Indian friends to come and help them celebrate, which Massasoit did.  He also brought  ninety men with him, and provided five deer to add to the feast.  Un-known to most people today, that first “Thanksgiving Day” was not a day-long celebration;  it lasted three days!

    Tiny Plymouth Colony was not yet free of the danger of starvation, however;  two years later this ever- looming threat came perilously close to reality.   1623 brought with it a summer-long drought of staggering proportions.  Week after week that summer, the Pilgrims watched their corn wither and waste away for lack of water.   At last Governor Bradford set aside a day of prayer for a rain that might save their lives.  One entire day they prayed;  early the next morning it began to rain, and it rained for nearly two weeks!  Their crop was saved.  Never again after that were they in any real danger of starvation.  The governor proclaimed a day of thanksgiving for the lifesaving rain.

    The first Thanksgiving Day celebrated by the United States as a nation came shortly after another great crisis in American history.  George Washington proclaimed it for November 26, 1789.   The United States of America had just passed through the double crisis of its War for Independence from England and the struggle for union among thirteen independent and sometimes semi-hostile states.  Times had been very hard immediately after the war.  The central government was poorly organized and virtually powerless.  To make matters worse, the young states were constantly quarreling with each another.  Nevertheless, those thirteen former colonies committed themselves to rewrite their rather loose Articles of Confederation into a more binding Constitution.  The purpose was to build a long-overdue, stable central government.  By late November of 1789 all thirteen states had ratified the Constitution of the United States of American.  Order, prosperity, and hope had finally arrived!

    It was with a profound awareness of the divine guidance that had been afforded to the framers of the Constitution, and with a deep feeling of gratitude for His deliverance from great national danger that President Washington proclaimed a day of national thanksgiving to God.  Washington recommended that the citizens present their thanks to the Lord for everything He had done for their new nation.   They offered their thanks for the overall guidance that God had graciously provided during the formative Colonial period, and for the military and economic aid they had received from other nations during the struggle for independence.  In addition they remembered, with gratitude, the peace and prosperity that had come to their new nation since the war’s end.  Of course they also gave thanks for their new Constitution that guaranteed to all the blessings of peace, order, and civil and religious liberty.

              Throughout the United States, the custom of observing an annual day of thanksgiving continued after 1789, but the practice was not uniform nationally, since the date for celebration varied from state to state.  Mrs. Sarah Josephina Hale helped change that.  In 1846 she was the editor of the most important women’s magazine of the time, Godey’s Lady’s Book.   Mrs. Hale took it upon herself to start a one-woman campaign for the annual observance of a national Day of Thanksgiving.  Because of her relentless efforts, state after state officially adopted the last Thursday in November as its annual day of Thanksgiving.  By 1858 there were only six states that did not observe the custom.

    The Civil War severely tested whether the nation established in 1789 would survive or divide itself again into independent states.  Early in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln called for a day of national thanksgiving.  It would be celebrated in the churches, thanking God for victories given to the Northern armies in the Mississippi Valley, and for the avoidance of foreign intervention.  The next year, on July 15, just after the tide of the Confederate invasion had been turned back at Gettysburg, Lincoln made another announcement.  He proclaimed August 6 a special day of thanksgiving for the salvation of the Union, and for the newborn hope that the cause of national unity would eventually win against the forces of disunity.   Then, just a few weeks later, Lincoln again called upon the entire nation to render thanks to God, this time for all the blessings of that year, 1863.  Peace had been maintained with other nations, crops were good, and the tide of war had definitely turned in favor of the Northern armies.  For all these things, but most of all for the preservation of the Union, Lincoln called upon the people to be thankful.

    This second proclamation of Lincoln set aside the last Thursday in November as the national Thanksgiving Day in 1863.  The next year, 1864, as the war was drawing to a close, the last Thursday in November was designated again.  In 1865, President Andrew Johnson continued the precedent.  From that time on, the last Thursday in November was annually set aside as a day of thanksgiving, first by the President and then by governors of the states.  In December 1941, Congress, by a joint resolution decided that the official National Day of Thanksgiving should always be on the fourth Thursday in November.  It has remained so to this day.

    As a Christian congregation we have gathered together in the house of our God today in order to offer our personal and collective expressions of gratitude for the year’s food harvest, for the physical  blessings we have received, as well as for the religious liberty we continue to enjoy as citizens of the United States of America. 


    However, we especially thank our Lord for the spiritual blessings that He so generously and freely showers upon us all, particularly the gifts of forgiven sins and the guarantee of everlasting life through faith in God’s Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.



Food Pantry Appeal and Angel Tree Reminders   In the coming weeks we will be asking you to consider expressing your generosity in two ways:       1) by helping to restock our food pantry (a flyer will be coming indicating what items we especially need);   and…..  2) through our “Angel Tree,” which will be placed in our lobby next Sunday and throughout Advent.   Through it you can provide Christmas gifts that will support our benevolence efforts, remember fellow members who are spending Christmas alone, and help families and individuals in need.

We’ll Decorate Church for Christmas THIS Saturday, November 26th ….And we could use your help putting up the Christmas trees and other decorations in the chapel and throughout the church.   We’ll start at  9:00 a.m. (come whenever you can, and for as long as you can) and we’ll go until we finish decorating. 

Midweek Advent Worship Services Ahead  – As part of our congregational preparation for the celebration of our Savior’s birth, we’ll hold 3 special, midweek worship services in the coming weeks. .   The Advent season anticipates the coming of Christ as the Savior from sin.  Its purpose is to encourage us to penitently prepare for the celebration of His birth.   This year’s services will be on the Wednesday evenings (7:00 p.m.) of November 30, December 7 and 14. Incidentally, the first midweek service will include a celebration of the Lord’s Supper.    Also, preceding each service we will hold a soup and sandwich dinner.   Meals will run from 6:00 to 6:45 p.m.

Women’s Advent Tea   Ladies, we hope that you will choose to participate in this year’s Women’s Advent Tea, that will be held on Saturday, December 17th.   It will run from noon to 2:00 p.m. .  Please be a part of this special, spiritual/fellowship opportunity. 


The portions of God’s Word used in this worship flyer have been taken from The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version    Copyright 2019,    The Wartburg Project, Inc.   All rights reserved.   Used with permission.