Giver and Gift

And so, Father, we who have been redeemed by him, and made a new people by water and the Spirit, now bring before you these gifts. Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.

There’s a sentence that’s sometimes said before the offering is taken up. The gist: whatever we offer to God comes from what God has given us. At such words and at such a time, this most basic question must be asked and answered: is it the gift that matters, or the love that the giver expresses in the gift?

I think love determines the answer to this question most of the time. If I’m the receiver, it’s the giver that determines the answer: any gift given by a beloved is a worthy gift (how many parents have refrigerator artwork that is beautiful only to their eyes?). If I’m the giver, it’s the gift I offer: is it something that is an expression of love and sacrifice?

There isn’t a single thing in this universe that I can offer to God that isn’t already God’s own. But offering something, finding a way to give my love a concrete vessel, is something only I can give. If I give it as one among many, I am bound to those who also offer their hearts and gifts to God.

For some inexplicable reason, that’s more than enough for God.

[For the complete prayer, click “Prayer C” above.]

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Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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