This is the 2nd part of a two-part series. The first article appeared in the May 5th E-news. You can read the first part here.
In our Reformed Presbyterian tradition, both the offering and Communion are part of the Eucharist, the Greek word for thanksgiving. The Directory for Worship describes the connection this way:
Christian life is an offering of one’s self to God. In the Lord’s Supper we are presented with the costly self-offering of Jesus Christ for the life of the world. As those who have been claimed and set free by his grace, we respond with gratitude, offering him our lives, our spiritual gifts, and our material goods. Every service of worship shall include an opportunity to respond to Christ’s call to discipleship through self-offering. The gifts we offer express our stewardship of creation, demonstrate our care for one another, support the ministries of the church, and provide for the needs of the poor.
This Sunday that connection will be visible in a variety of ways. When you come into worship, you will notice that the Table is not yet set. That is because the elders will bring the Bread and the Cup into worship following the sermon as part of the offering. In doing so we remember that there is nothing we can give to God that we did not first receive. In the offering of tithes, community life, art and music, we offer our whole selves to God as a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving!
The elders made this week’s bread from scratch at a Sunday afternoon retreat in April. In mixing the yeast, flour and water, enriched with milk and butter, we took these gifts of creation, mixed and kneaded them together, trusting that from these ingredients, something good would rise. As the bread rose, we talked about the life of the church, the nature of transitions and the plan for our collective summer sabbatical. When the time was right, elders took the bread home, scored it with the cross and baked it in preparation for Sunday. All six loaves came out of the oven beautifully, a tangible reminder of God’s abundance grace, enough for all with plenty to share!
This Sunday we will gather at the Table on Pentecost, celebrating the Gift of the Spirit, Holy Wisdom, Holy Fire, and Holy Wind! The time for our summer sabbatical is upon us, a gift received and shared; time for rest and renewal the ingredients for transformation have already been mixed and kneaded. Now, church, may the Spirit do the Holy Work of Rise.
May Spirit lead the Way,