Everything we give comes first from God — ELCA Grand Canyon Synod
In our church since the start of the pandemic we have not resumed the offering in the usual way with an usher passing a plate. I suspect we are not the only church. It was just one more way people could potentially spread the virus.
However, I never took the offertory out of the bulletin and sometimes I say a few words about the gift. The offering tray is at the entrance to the sanctuary and when we remember, someone places it on the altar during offering time.
The truth is, many people give a check in the mail or even by wire transfer. Few people put an envelope in the offering plate, so I guess we won’t go back to ushers to pass a plate.
But I don’t want to remove the offertory from the bulletin because I believe we must always remember that giving is an act of worship.
One of my seminary teachers, Tim Wengert, used to say that April 15 should be a religious holiday and that we should go to the tax office or the post office to file our tax returns. Paying taxes is one of the ways we care for others, supporting social welfare programs.
Maybe we should consider more ways to see giving as an act of worship. Maybe there should be a prayer to say when we send that check to the church or arrange that transfer. Maybe I’ll write a liturgy to accompany the online donation I make to LSS or LIRS. Maybe there should be a liturgy to pay our bills or balance our checkbooks. After all, your bill and our checkbook are a good indication of what you value and who you serve. Maybe I’ll write a prayer for when I tip at restaurants or when I get my nails done, because I know people who work mostly for tips are feeding families with that money.
Stewardship is not just about what we give to the church, but how we spend and use all that God has given us. Everything we give comes first from God and passing it on is a way of affirming our faith that God will continue to bless us. Some of us receive more and some less, and yet we are blessed both in receiving and in giving.
May God continue to bless you abundantly as you continue to share your blessings with others.