“Walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God.”
I say these words each Sunday as we begin the transition from the Liturgy of the Word to the Liturgy of the Table - not that the two are separate in my mind - they are two parts of a whole. But this little transition between them that we call the “Offertory” is very important. The words themselves are called the “Offertory Sentence” and are an invitation of sorts to follow Christ’s example of self-offering. The acts which follow are called the “Offertory”.
The Offertory itself has a few different elements. It is the Eucharistic offering of bread and wine to God before we ask God to consecrate them. It is often in conjunction with collection and presentation of monetary offerings of the congregation. In addition, it can – and in our case usually does – have a hymn (a Thanksgiving if you will) played or sung during the actions.
In the early Church, when followers of The Way would gather in homes, people would bring the bread and wine (and other parts of a meal) from their homes to be blessed and to share with each other. What we do in our offering is the modern Church’s way of upholding this tradition. The monetary donations purchase the bread and wine as a symbol of our giving to the church to share with others. And we continue giving – many each week or monthly – to support the mission of the Church. We are giving back to God from that which has been provided to us by God.
As we move into our Stewardship season I hope that you will hear what those who speak to you say in this context. It is through the lens of the Offertory that we give to support the mission of the Church and that we are called to “Walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God.”
How can you support the mission of St. Theodore’s in giving of yourself, your time, your treasure, all of which are gifts from God?
Is your life oriented to service of God and how is this community helping you to do that?
Is there something else that we need to be, can be doing in our community of St. Theodore’s, in Bella Vista, in Benton County that more fully expresses God’s call on your life?
How can we do that together?
Fr. Will +