Prayer: Lord God, this week give us a spirit of thanksgiving, that we may be thankful for all that you have given us. Amen
Reading: Come, ye thankful people, come; raise the song of harvest home. All be safely gathered in ere the winter storms begin. God, our maker, doth provide for our wants to be supplied. Come to God’s own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home. (ELW #693 – Come, Ye Thankful People, Come)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: I grew up in a small family congregation. The church building was originally built outside of town but the town expanded around it. It was made up of five or six big farm families, so many of our fellowship events were at some of the farmsteads and included hayrides, bonfires, and summer socials. My family was one of the few families that weren’t related to the core families of the church, but we were still accepted in. They didn’t need one extra family in that church to do the mission of the church but we were still gathered into their social and ministry events.
One thing that I remember vividly was harvest home Sunday. There was always a table set up the sanctuary which was piled with canned goods and other items for the food back but also fresh produce from the local farms to be sent as well. This small congregation would have that table filled to the point where there was as much stuff on the floor as there was on the table itself. Then of course would come the singing, and the song, of course, was Come Ye Thankful People, Come. And it was sung with gusto as nearly no other song was sang. We sang our thanks to God for the bountiful harvest, regardless of whether it was enough or not enough. We sang our thanks to God for God’s temple where we were gathered, the church. We sang our thanks as people who are saved by God’s amazing grace.
As you celebrate thanksgiving this next week, may you remember God’s work in everything you do and in everything that you are. And may you give thanks. --Peter Horn, Camp Mount Luther Board Member and Summer Week Chaplain
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