Enter the Gates

Our Hymn of Grateful Praise

Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A

Three weeks before the end of the liturgical year, and we turn to gratitude as the guiding theme for worship. What does a life of gratitude look like? Or perhaps more importantly, what does it feel like?

Psalm 100:1-2, 4-5, NIRV

A psalm for giving grateful praise.

1Shout for joy to the Lord, everyone on earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come to him with songs of joy.

4 Give thanks as you enter the gates of his temple.
Give praise as you enter its courtyards.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 The Lord is good. His faithful love continues forever.
It will last for all time to come.

Verses marked NIRV are from the New International Reader's Version (NIRV) Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


What is the holiday is approaching at the end of this month? (Let children respond.) That’s right, later this month is Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is a day for giving thanks. We give thanks to God for family. We give thanks to God for friends. We give thanks to God for the homes we live in. We give thanks to God for our beautiful world. We give thanks to God for the food that comes from it.

What is one of the things that you do to celebrate Thanksgiving Day? (Allow children to answer.) That’s right, Thanksgiving is a feast day. Most of us eat a lot of food that day. On most days, we don’t mind eating a simple meal or even leftovers. Do you like leftovers? (Allow children to respond.) But on Thanksgiving Day, we usually take the time to make a big special meal and spend a long time around the table eating it. I wonder what your favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner is. (Allow children to answer.) Honestly, we make more food than we really need to remind us that God gives us more than we need. Feasting, making a lot of food and spending time eating it, is a way to celebrate God’s generosity to us.

We can begin to give thanks by giving thanks to God. When we come to church to worship, how can we give thanks to God? (Allow children to answer.) That’s right, we can make a joyful noise. We can worship with a happy heart and soul. We should sing songs of praise and thanksgiving during worship! As we worship, we should remember that God is a God who provides for us and is always present before us. We should also give thanks for our church and the family that we worship with. We should give thanks for the love and support found in this space.

I wonder who in this space you should thank. Should we give thanks to our worship team that leads us in worship each week? Should we give thanks to the volunteers and staff who come each week to model what faith in God should look like? Should we give thanks to our childcare workers and Sunday school teachers? Should we give thanks to those people who clean up our church building once everyone has left worship and gone home? The answer to all these questions is a very loud YES! We should want to express our generosity by giving thanks to real people in real ways.

What does generosity mean to you? (Allow children to answer.) Yes, being kind and giving are ways to describe generosity. Another good way to celebrate God’s generosity is to be generous to others.

Thanksgiving is a day for giving thanks. When we give thanks for something we have, it also is a good time to be generous to others with what we have. God wants us to not just give thanks here at church, but also when we are in our homes, neighborhoods, and schools. We know that like everything we do in church, we should not keep it all inside the church walls. Generosity is no different. I wonder who we can name in our community that we need to give thanks for? I know that Thanksgiving is still a couple of weeks away, but that gives us time to think about how we should be living thankfully each and every day.

This Thanksgiving, I wonder how you and your family can give thanks.

What are some ways that you could be more generous to others this Thanksgiving? (Allow children to provide ideas.) I love all these ideas. You could help serve a Thanksgiving meal to people who can’t afford a feast. You could invite people who are far away from their homes and family to your house to feast with you. The more we share God’s goodness with others, the more everyone on earth will shout to the Lord with joy and give thanks.


God of generosity, we give you thanks for all your good gifts to us. Your faithful love continues forever. Amen.

In This Series...

Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Christ the King / Reign of Christ Sunday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes