Family thanksgiving services are currently being planned in many congregations. We give suggestions on how to creative with can handle the topic.
While in the country in these weeks When the fruit or grain harvest is brought in, city children often have no idea where their bread, cake or apple from the break come from – if not from the supermarket. Thanksgiving, for example in the family service, takes place in the 21st century with a significantly different sign than it did a few generations ago.
It is all the more important to raise awareness of the great gift that the Creator God gives us every year with clever ideas. Maybe you have to ask again: What does that mean: “harvest”? And what exactly means “thank you”?
From an apple’s perspective
If the service is aimed at smaller children, you could tell – for example from an apple’s perspective – who and what is necessary so that we can pick it from the tree in autumn. Either the “photo album” of the apple is opened (project images on a canvas) or the participants, dressed in small accessories, appear themselves: starting with the farmer who plants, over the apple branch that is being planted, the soil that absorbs , the rain that waters, the sun that warms, the bee that pollinates, God who gives his blessing until the time that passes. All of them appear in a row one after the other, making it clear that if even one of them is missing, there is no apple. All growing and becoming subject to many factors and their interaction.
If the children are a bit older, it is an impressive experience when a (disguised) scarecrow tells about their experiences, from sowing on a bare field to harvesting with their exertions and joys. The scarecrow can become a mediator between man and nature. While people often wait for the mere "result", they overlook the colorful life that takes place in the field during the summer, how many creatures come together there and live from the gifts of the earth. But there are also reports of the concern that a single hailstorm can destroy the entire harvest.
If the focus of the service is more on “thanking”, it is worthwhile to briefly go into the history and origins of the Thanksgiving at the beginning of the service, which go far back. In the past, people were much more dependent on the annual yield of their fields than they are today, the goods of the earth were their "food" par excellence.
In the 21st century it makes sense to take this term a little further: What makes us live today? What is not a matter of course, why should we always say "thank you" again and again? For this purpose, children place appropriate symbols on the altar in the festively decorated church, such as a headphone as a thank you for the music, a watch for spending time with friends and families or a school book as a sign of the opportunity to be educated.
Alternatively, it is advisable to integrate some wooden crates into the decoration, in which no real fruit is stored, but apples, pears and pumpkins cut out of colored cardboard. Writes and paints in a quiet phase or with music everyone Celebrating on what he is thankful for. The fruits are then collected and carried to the altar.
It is also impressive to place two harvest baskets next to each other: the well-filled basket of the western world and a box from Africa filled with just a few grains. Since the unfair distribution has long been increasing in our homeland, there can be an appeal at the end of the celebration to rearrange goods and fill the empty basket with food in the next week: for all those who have to live with us below the poverty line. Thanks to Thanksgiving, it doesn’t just stay with nice words.
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