The giving of resources to one’s local parish is both a partnering together in mission and an offering of a portion of one’s income as a sacramental act representing God’s ownership of all things. The placement of this offering within the service of the Sacrament reminds us that we are living the “exchanged life.” We have given up ourselves to his service and entrusted him with our lives and everything we are. Nothing is left off the table.
But the offertory is more than just a collection to support church budgets and to remind us that we are mere stewards of God’s creation. The offering is also an offering of the things that God has given us, giving them back to him in the belief that he will take them and transform them into something fit for holy purposes. Thus the offering is “the gifts of God for the people of God.”
During the Eucharist prayers, the bread and the wine are offered to God as well. They are an offering of the gifts of his own creation, setting apart the bread and wine for the purpose of Holy Communion. The offering of bread and wine is not what theologians call “meritorious.” That is, we human beings are not able to “add value” to anything. We have nothing that God has not given us, including salvation and life. But we do have what he has graciously given us, and in doing so we get to participate in the mystery of God imparting his grace to his people through his own created gifts of bread and wine.
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