Messiah News

Pass the plate please

I consider giving and gifting to be sacred acts. They are sacred because giving and gifting are woven into the very fabric of life. We are "given" life from the outset. Parents give so much to children as they grow, and children learn to give in return - smiles, a helping hand, trust, faith. We share a sandwich at lunch, give time to help a neighbor move, bring cookies to a meeting. We learn what we see, do and experience.

The lowly offering plate

Pre-COVID we used to pass the offering plate. (Remember that?!) The goal was never to collect entrance fees for the spectacle of worship. No. Receiving offerings is a liturgical act, a reminder of the sacred nature of giving. Putting gifts in the offering plate every Sunday (or coming forward to baptism, or bringing bread and wine to the altar, or confessing our faith and praying) are all understood liturgically as responses to the Good News we hear in scripture and sermon. We return a portion of what has first been given us. Giving is one response to receiving and being richly blessed.

We were wise not to worship for a time when COVID first broke out. Society needed to learn, to adapt, and to develop vaccines. Three years later we are learning to bring back what we can, and adapt to changes that seem here to stay. We thought at first (we didn't know) that maybe COVID was spread through contact with physical objects like offering plates, hymnals or bulletins. It's not. Now we know that COVID is primarily spread through water droplets from infected individuals - so we wear masks. That's good.

Wearing masks - good. Passing the offering plate - good. Hugs and passing the Peace - still in conversation! 

So, Easter Sunday we'll start passing the offering plates again. Whether you put something in it or not, let passing the offering plate be a reminder for you of the opportunities we have every day to respond to God's love, to share our abundance, and to live a life of gratitude. There will be cards in your pews for those who give electronically - which is most of us. Please continue to give electronically if that has been working for you. However, you may want to put one of these pew cards in the plate, not so people "see you do it," but to participate in the physical act of giving. Let's experience once again what this act of worship feels like!

Thank you!

Pr. Dave Brauer-Rieke

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