What We Do When We Do Church – Offertory

Psalm 51: 10-12

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Psalm 116:12-14, 19

What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord, I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people … in the courts of the house of the Lord, in your midst, O Jerusalem.

After the offering is collected, it is present to the Lord at the altar and, in a communion service, the altar is prepared for the Sacrament.

This is the time that we sing the Offertory.

Because our mouths cannot remain separated from the rest of our bodies, when the thanksgiving is flowing from our lips, as in singing the offertory, then it will also flow in the giving of our very selves for the sake of Christ and our neighbor.

The previous devotions in this series are:

Part 1 – Hymnody
Part 2 – Invocation
Part 3 – Baptism
Part 4 – Confession of Sins
Part 5 – Absolution
Part 6 – Introit / Psalmody
Part 7 – Kyrie
Part 8 – Hymn of Praise
Part 9 – Scripture Readings
Part 10 – Sermon
Part 11 – Confession of Faith
Part 12 – Offering

When I was growing up, going to church at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Lake Villa, Illinois, it was our tradition to stand at the end of the sermon.

Being a typical American boy, I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to most things – and the pastor’s sermon was, unfortunately, one of those things. But when we stood up, I knew the sermon was over and we were over half-way done with the worship service.

I thought of it as the church’s “seventh inning stretch.”

But as we have been exploring in this series of devotions, all the parts of the liturgy, the parts of the worship service, happen for a reason.

After the sermon, the Creed is confessed (and we stand up for what we believe – literally) and then the offering is taken.

When the offering is brought to the altar, we usually sing one of two songs.

Both are taken from the Psalms and are the parts of Scripture at the beginning of this devotion.

With our offerings, we make a “sacrifice of thanksgiving” giving to God’s Church a portion of what He first has given to us. This is in cheerful response to what God has done for us.

And the Offertory prepares us for what God has done for us.

As we sing it, the altar is prepared for the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.

The veils are removed from the communion vessels, and the covers are taken off the unleavened bread (host) and the chalice & flagon (which hold the wine).

Both offertories emphasize different aspects of presenting the offerings and preparing for the sacrament.

But they also focus on the same thing – that God has provided all that is needed for our salvation in the body and blood of His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ.

Which is what the next few devotions will also focus on.


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