Yesterday I was privileged to preach to an amazing congregation. It was my second week there and they were warm and welcoming and they helped me by reaffirming my calling as a servant of God in so many ways. The comments at the end of the sermon was a part of it, but it was more than that. It was that the comment showed they listened intently, they understood what I was trying to say, they shared with me their own insights and struggles with the theme of living everyday as an offering to God.
The passage was from Romans Chapter 12, but I talked with them about all of Paul’s teaching that was underlying the passage. That there are four essentials to living our lives as an offering to God.
- Submission to Scripture
- Embracing the Mystery of God
- Particular and deliberate use of language when referring to God
- Participation in the community of believers
Reading, and obeying all of Scripture because it teaches us all we need to know about being followersof God. Embracing the fact that God is greater than we can know or imagine and allowing the mystery of his greatness free us from human striving. Using language about God that frees God from the boxes we try to put him in. And finally being a part of a believing community that supports us and for whom we are a support.
Then we are free to live every day in all of our ordinary every day activities as an offering to God.
That’s the point Paul is trying to make in chapter 12, that we serve God even in the workplace, the marketplace and the home. Everything that we do is an expression of our faith in God. I talked about the Benedictine practice of holy tools and the time I was on a Benedictine course and we were given gardening tools and sent into the garden; to work in silence and to treat the tools as if they were holy items on the altar. It certainly makes us very mindful of not only what we do and how we do it, but also the respect with which we treat our tools. Hoes were tossed on the ground in exasperation. Complaints were heard about heat, tiredness and thirst. It was a very powerful lesson that we are not as mindful about our relationship with God as we want to be. But then failure, when we reflect on it is a good thing because it leads to growth.
I challenged them, myself and now you to try to live mindfully before God and to live our lives as an offering.
Life as an offering.. Let us pray
Lord, you have drawn me into your kingdom
Impelling me to serve others in your name
Freeing within me gifts and talents
Enveloping me in the grace to offer myself freely and fully
Allowing me the opportunity to be all that you created me to be
Setting me apart to be a blessing
Anoint me now with your Spirit
Nurture within me the desire to give myself to you fully
Open my heart
Free my will
Fill my with your power
Enliven my spirit
Raise my eyes to see you in all things
Invite me into ever greater ministries
Never let my footsteps falter
Guide me into the new adventures that you have prepared.
In Jesus name I pray. Amen