The Rector’s Study: A Theology of Offering

I appeal to you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present yourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. —Romans 12:1

The act of offering is a secondary act. When the Apostle Paul writes to the Romans to offer themselves, he is leaning on 11 chapters of explanation of what God has done for them, how God has saved them and made them free. Therefore, Paul says now that we are free, the only reasonable response, the spiritual response, is an offering.

We offer what we have, to God or our neighbor, because we have received, from God and neighbor. The cyclical nature of offering gives us, allows us, to see not just that we blessed by God and respond to that blessing, but also that we can connect through that same spirit with our neighbor, and that we are connected in a web of God’s grace with everyone that we come in contact with.

Offering of Bread, Wine, and Money

We are reminded of our interconnectedness in the Eucharist. There are several times throughout the liturgy in which the congregation melds an individual faith action into the Body of Christ  The congregation often speaks with one voice. We speak as one in prayer during the collect, in a statement of collective faith during the Nicene Creed, and in the Offertory. We bring to God a collective offering, with all participating on equal footing because we are equally loved and equally encouraged by the love of God to respond.

This Offering, then, cannot be something that is a stumbling block. Whether one has been here 30 minutes or 30 years, whether one can run a marathon or barely walk to the next room, you have something to offer to God because they have been given “a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over” (Luke 6:38).  And when all of this is collected and placed on the table, the offering’s bread and wine and money, as well as “ourselves, our souls and bodies” (Book of Common Prayer, page 342),  as they are, not as we wish them to be. It is then that we begin to participate in that which St. Paul called our spiritual worship.

The Rev. Jed Fox

Censing the gifts at the offertory

 

Church of the Redeemer

Community life at Redeemer centers on worship in the Episcopal tradition. Art and music vitally deepen this worship. Our faith expresses itself with service to people, locally to internationally.

Church of the Redeemer is at 6210 181st Street in Kenmore, Washington. We are a short distance north of Bothell Way, near the Burke-Gilman Trail. The entrance looks like a gravel driveway. The campus is larger on the inside than it is on the outside.

The Episcopal Church welcomes you.