From the pen of Pastor Mindy …

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Offerings and Prayers
Many of the Sundays when we gather together we pray the following prayer: Merciful Father, we offer with joy and thanksgiving what you have first given us – ourselves, our time and our possessions, signs of your gracious love. Receive them for the sake of him who offered himself for us, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
It is a good offering prayer. Not too wordy – and right on theologically speaking.
Merciful Father
We begin by acknowledging our relationship to God, one in which he is an authority figure, our father and creator, but also a relationship built upon mercy. Right away we admit that we are sinful and in need of forgiveness.
We offer with joy and thanksgiving
Our offerings should be brought with joy and thanksgiving, sometimes we forget. But sometimes when we look around at our neighbors or on TV and see the things we don’t have. Technology updates so fast that often what we do buy is obsolete as soon as it’s out of the box. But we also live in a culture that has produced reality TV shows where people who have too much stuff have to be taught to let go. God wants us to see what we do have. We should mentally list off our blessings as we wait for worship to begin. Then as we put our tithes and offerings in the plate, we will do so with joyful and thankful hearts.
What you have first given us
In the small catechism, as we learn the Lord’s prayer we are taught that God gives daily bread to all people, and that daily bread includes everything needed for daily life. If we truly believe that God is the creator of everything then what we have is on loan from God.
Ourselves, our time,
and our possessions
The offering prayer is an inclusive prayer, we ask God to accept not only what we put in the plate, but the ways we serve God throughout the week. preparing for Sunday School, serving on committees, helping a neighbor get to an appointment, taking a hot dish to a family in need, baking a cake for a funeral, or simply phoning a friend to see how they are doing.
Signs of your gracious love
It is said that the birth of each child is a sign that God has not given up on us yet. We and all we have and do are signs of God’s gracious love. May God’s spirit help us to be signs that shine with God’s glory.
Receive them for the
sake of him who offered himself for us,
What we do, how we serve, how much we give, is all in response to what has been done for us and on our behalf. We ask God not to take our gifts for our glory or reward but for the sake of Jesus who has given us his all. In the first letter of John it says “We love, because he first loved us…” (I John 4:19) How could we offer anything to God if Jesus had not already given himself for us?
Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen
The final acknowledgement we make in this prayer is that Jesus is the one charge. Jesus is our Lord and master. The one to whom we owe our allegiance and faithfulness.
The next time we prepare to give our offerings, and pray this prayer together. Let us think of what has already been done for us and how much we have been given.
Your Sister in Christ,
Pastor Mindy

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