The Christian life is marked by the offering of one’s self to God. In worship, God presents us with the costly self-offering of Jesus Christ, who has claimed us and set us free. In response to God’s love in Christ we offer our lives, our gifts, our abilities, and our material goods for God’s service.
The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it. Ps. 24:1
Let us return to God the offerings of our life
and the gifts of the earth.
Book of Common Worship (WJKP, 1993) 67.
As the offerings are gathered, there may be an anthem or other appropriate music. The minister(s) and elders prepare the table; bread and wine may be brought to the table, or uncovered if already in place.
A song of praise may be included here, glorifying the triune God from whom all blessings flow. The offerings are brought forward. Then the leader may say:
Blessed are you, God of all creation;
through your goodness we have these gifts to share.
Accept and use our offerings for your glory
and for the service of your kingdom.
Blessed be God forever.
Book of Common Worship (WJKP, 1993) 68.
Notes adapted from Supplemental Liturgical Resource 1 (WJKP, 1984).
Excerpt from Worshiping God Together: A Guide for Children and Their Parents:
Every good thing is a gift from God — the food we eat, the things we have, the time we spend, our whole lives. We give our lives back to God as a way of saying thank you — sharing money with those who are in need, giving food to those who are hungry, and spending our time to help others.
Directory for Worship
The Christian life is an offering of one’s self to God. In worship the people are presented with the costly self-offering of Jesus Christ, are claimed and set free by him, and are led to respond by offering to him their lives, their particular gifts and abilities, and their material goods.
Worship should always offer opportunities to respond to Christ’s call to become disciples by professing faith, by uniting with the church, and by taking up the mission of the people of God, as well as opportunities for disciples to renew the commitment of their lives to Jesus Christ and his mission in the world. As the Holy Spirit has graced each member with particular gifts for strengthening the body of Christ for mission, so worship should provide opportunities to recognize these gifts and to offer them to serve Christ in the church and in the world.
a. The offering of material goods in worship is a corporate act of self-dedication in response to God. It expresses thanksgiving to God, the giver of life and all goods, the redeemer from sin and evil. It is an affirmation by Christ’s disciples of
(1) their commitment to be stewards in all creation;
(2) their responsibility to share the Word with and to care for all people;
(3) their desire to share God’s gifts with those to whom believers are bound in the Church universal;
(4) their common bond in the body of Christ.
b. In the Old Testament the people of Israel were commanded to bring a tenth of their income to support the work of the house of God and those who served God in it. In the New Testament the apostles recognized that the work of the Church required disciplined support. Both in Israel and in the early Church the people were encouraged to give generously to meet the needs of the poor. God calls believers today to be disciplined and generous in giving support to the ministries of the church. (W-5.5004)
c. During public worship, at an appropriate time, and as an act of thanksgiving, the tithes and offerings of the people are gathered and received.
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Book of Order, W-2.5001–.5003)
The tithes and offerings of God’s people are gathered and received with prayer, spoken or sung. (W-2.5003) Signs of reconciliation and peace may be exchanged, if this was not done as a response to the Word of assurance of God’s pardon. (W-3.3301) When the Lord’s Supper is to be celebrated, gifts of bread and wine may be brought to the Table in thanksgiving for God’s Word. (W-2.4003; W-3.3609)
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Book of Order, W-3.3507