Here’s an invitation to the offering from the Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren.
Returning our Tithes and Offerings
(inspired by Exodus 16, John 6)
"Your eyes were bigger than your stomach," a parent says when a plate of food sits partly uneaten before a child who ordered it in a restaurant. Nearby, another diner sits engorged and almost unable to move, thinking, "I can’t believe I ate it all..." We often don’t know our appetites. We also can mix up our hungers - filling our tummies when it’s our heart or spirit that is empty.
In the wilderness, the Lord fed the children of Israel every morning with manna from heaven, which was just enough for one day’s sustenance, so that the people might learn to depend upon God one step / one day at a time. Beside the sea, Jesus filled the stomachs of the surrounding crowd with bread, but he also fed their hearts, minds, and spirits with his words and his very presence. He became the bread, broken and shared.
In worship, we pay attention to our deeper hungers. Confession is the task of trying to straighten out the mess inside, with all our hungers mixed up demanding us to act upon them. We remember that God provides us our daily manna as we journey through our own wilderness. "I am the bread of life," Jesus reminds us, step by step, along the way. His sharing becomes our sharing. As he was broken and given, so we tear off a bit of what we have been given and freely give ourselves away.
As the plates are passed, think of your offering as bread freely given. The desire to "share," by the way, is itself a deep hunger we all have. As you give, prepare to make your confession, to let go of lesser things, and thus make a straight path in your life today for the Lord to enter. Ushers, would you help us to take the first step?
~ posted on the Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren website. http://rockhay.tripod.com/