Stewardship-August 2019

Have you ever noticed the subtle ceremony of receiving the offerings during the Divine Service?  The offerings are collected in plates or basket, and they are brought forward and given to the pastor or an assistant.  The pastor turns toward the altar, and, as he bows his head, offerings are raised slightly to the Lord and placed on the altar or an adjacent table. 
Originally, this ceremony included more than simply bringing forward what was collected in the offering plates.  The elements for the Holy Communion – the bread and the wine – were brought forward with the offerings.  The offerings and elements were lifted toward the Lord and placed upon the altar.  The altar, now made a table, would be set for the Lord’s Supper.
For what is offered to the Lord from the sweat of His people’s brow – the bread of anxious toil – comes back to us as the bread of life.  The bread comes down from heaven that whoever eats this bread and drinks this cup will receive life through the forgiveness of their sins.
What a blessing!  God provides for us in all things.  He provides bread from the sweat of our brows.  He receives this from us in the first-fruits offerings we give to Him in thanksgiving and praise, and He turns these into spiritual bread.  He gives this heavenly bread – the bread of eternal life – back to us so we might have joy.