Words

The 7:30 AM service at St. Alban’s is a cozy one.  And it’s quiet.  Though I’m only half-awake half of the time, I really do enjoy it.

Unlike many other Episcopal churches, all our services are Rite II; that is, we use modern language.  The only place that some of the older, Elizabethan language creeps in is at the offertory at the 7:30 service.  After the offering plates are brought and the gifts of the people are presented, the priest takes the plates and says:
All things – money, bread, wine, food…
“All things come of thee, O Lord, and of thine own have we given thee.”  
I always thought it was some old curmudgeon who had penned that phrase.  Turns out, it’s from 1 Chronicles 29:14 (duh! who hasn’t read 1 Chronicles lately?).
In this passage from the *popular* book of 1 Chronicles, King David is standing in front of the assembled people thanking God for the gifts bestowed upon the people.  In return, the people and King David have set aside portions of what God had given them for the building of the Temple.  At the height of his thanksgiving, David says, “For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.”  
It is an honor, then, for me to repeat those words at the Eucharist.  To stand in the place of King David, to receive the gifts of the people, and to thank God on the community’s behalf.  These words are about God’s abundance and our reliance on him.  But if we think about it, these words must have been the words of Christ.
All was given to him – the power, the authority, and the magnificence of God.  But Christ gave all of that on our behalf.  1 Chronicles, though it is typically forgotten in the pages of the Old Testament, contains seeds of the gospel truth – that Christ received all and gave all for us.
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