In instructing his disciples about the stewardship of their lives, Jesus told them to never be anxious about their lives and bare necessities – food, drink, or clothes. He challenged them to study the birds, who neither sow nor harvest nor gather into barns, and yet the heavenly Father meets their needs. And likewise, the lilies of the field, which neither toil nor spin but are more finely arrayed than Solomon in all his glory. He sought to convince his disciples that they were more valuable than birds and lilies, and that no amount of effort on their part could add anything to the most important things in their lives.
Rather than worry, Jesus advised them not to go around asking questions about their food, or drink, or what they put on – things which the heavenly Father knows that they need. As a matter of fact, “Gentiles,” i.e., those who do not profess faith in the God of Abraham, constantly worry about such matters. In place of this misplaced anxiety, Jesus commands his disciples to seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. When this is done, all necessary things for life would be given as an addition to us. The priority of life is to seek the rule of God, and the righteousness associated with that rule. When this is done, all the things of food, drink, and clothes (and all other “bare necessities”) would be added to their lives as a result. This Thanksgiving Day let us acknowledge that only a few things really matter, actually only one: the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. He will keep us if we keep our priorities and purposes clear.
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
O God, of whose mercy there is no end, and the treasure of whose bounty is infinite; we give thanks to thy Divine Majesty for the gifts of thy loving-kindness, humbly beseeching thee that the praise and thanksgiving which we begin here on earth we may, with all thy ransomed saints, continue in heaven. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
~ A Book of Pastoral Prayers, No. 560 (Geffen, p. 57)
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father, And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, Is now, and ever shall be, World without end. Amen, amen.
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord's Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
--Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
~ Canada Prayer Book (Suter, p. 283)
Affirmation from the Psalms
You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth  and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart.  The trees of the LORD are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.  In them the birds build their nests; the stork has her home in the fir trees.  The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers.  He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting.  You make darkness, and it is night, when all the beasts of the forest creep about.  The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God.  When the sun rises, they steal away and lie down in their dens.  Man goes out to his work and to his labor until the evening.  O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
~ Psalm 104.14-24
Pray without Ceasing - Flash Prayer for the Day
Grant me the grace to seek first your Kingdom and your righteousness.