“Let us walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself an offering and sacrifice unto Almighty God.”
If you’ve been coming to All Saints East Dallas for any length of time you’ll recognize that sentence. Yes, it’s St. Paul writing to the Church at Ephesus (Eph 5:2), but it serves liturgically as an “Offering Sentence,” a moment when I bid each of you to give of yourself as Christ gave of himself.
In the early days of the Church, followers of Jesus would bring gifts of bread and wine for Holy Communion, or the Lord’s Supper. They might also bring coins or livestock or some other possession they could offer to the Lord as a way to give of themselves. They did this just before Holy Communion because in that sacrament Christ gives himself to us, by his once for all sacrifice on the cross, in the bread and wine that would become his body and blood. The gifts of bread and wine were consecrated and became fuel for God’s mission, holy things for holy people that were meant to be consumed in order to nourish and deepen his kingdom life in the Church.
Similarly, the money you give in the Offering, or online for that matter, is a gift received by the priests at the Table. It is consecrated and meant to become fuel for God’s mission in order to nourish and deepen his kingdom life in the Church, and in those who are not yet part of the Church.
Our ability to fulfill God’s vision and mission of connecting with the people of the neighborhoods of East Dallas and beyond depends upon your gifts. So far, we have seen God’s blessing in abundance as over the past 18 months of weekly worship we have grown and seen his grace clearly at work. I can’t wait to see what happens over the next 18 months and next 18 years.
This weekend marks the end of our second complete fiscal year. As the Offering approaches feel free to give generously knowing that your gift offered to God will be consecrated, stewarded, and used to further God’s mission of his self-giving in Christ, in the Church, and to those all around us.