Offering


The Offertory is a significant part of the sacramental act which is the Eucharist. Dom Gregory Dix spoke of the four actions of the Eucharistic Liturgy, and identified them as:

  • Took
  • gave thanks
  • broke it
  • shared it.

This taking of the elements is the beginning of the central act. As a sacrament it is about ordinary things doing extraordinary things.

Thee contemporary custom in the taking of the bread and wine is to use a classing thanksgiving after the style of a the Jewish berakah prayer. They often run as two separate prayers:

Blessed are you Lord God our Father, though you goodness we have this bread to offer,
which was once many grains, gather together to make one bread,
So may you church be gathered from the ends of the earth into your kingdom.

Blessed be God forever.

Blessed are you Lord God our Father, through your goodness we have this wine to share
fruit of the vine and work of human hands, it is a symbol of our joy,
It will become for us the cup of salvation

Blessed be God forever.

if there has been a collection of money, a third prayer may be added

Blessed are you Lord God out Father, through your goodness we have these gifts to share
Accept and use our offering for your glory and for the service of your kingdom.

Blessed be God forever.

One of the reason why many clergy made this clear division was to make clear that the action is not about money, though clearly when there is a collection there is something distinctly sacrament about the offering (ordinary things doing extraordinary things).

In the modern setting where we seem to look for economies of time and scale there is a tendency to tr and amalgamate all three of the prayers into some sort of omnibus Offertory prayer.

The omnibus kind of prayer often runs along the ling of ‘bread, wine and money’. Generally it is a messy prayer and lacks the simplicity of the three prayers, and in reality we would be better (in my opinion) to return to the sing Offertory prayer in the liturgy, (pretty much part three for the prayers above).

One of the problems with limiting the Offertory to ‘bread, wine and money’ is that on the one hand it does not take seriously the notion that there are many things that people may offer God, including time talent prayer and devotion, memory, hope and the whole range of human experience, and on the other hand it does not take seriously the nature of money.

Money is not a real commodity, of itself money is symbolic of value, often in the experience of many having been received for the work of human hands, and human endeavor.

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