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This post is part of a series of posts focused on teaching your children about the Divine Service. For an introduction to this series, please click here.
For The Preparation, click here.
For The Entrance Rite, click here.
For The Liturgy of the Word, click here.
Create in me a clean heart, O God
The Preparation of the Table is the natural break between the Service of the Word and the Service of the Sacrament. It is also another great time to teach your children about this part of the Divine Service by engaging their imaginations as you recreate the worship setting of the past to teach them about the importance of our offerings today.
Once the prayers have been completed and the greeting shared, God’s gathered guests respond to God’s Word with grateful hearts and with their lives (Romans 12:1–2; 2 Corinthians 8:9). The offerings are symbolic of the spiritual condition of the givers. In the early Church the offerings were not only monetary but also “in kind.” Gifts from the field (grain and vegetables, oil and flowers, wool and flax), as well as gifts from the forest (honey, furs, wood, fruits and berries), were offered to the Lord. Initially placed at the entrance of the church building, the offerings were symbolically brought forward during the Offertory Hymn and place on a side table. The loaves of bread and the flasks of wine for the Lord’s Supper were selected from these gifts, and the rest of the offerings were used for the poor.
(Excerpt from Gathered Guests: A Guide to Worship in the Lutheran Church 2nd Edition)
To teach your children about the Offering, consider the following ideas:
- Tell your children about the Early Church and how they would bring different kinds of offerings. Have them imagine what it would be like to see all different types of gifts brought before the Lord.
- Talk to your children about how we give joyfully to the Lord. In essence, the “in kind” gifts of the Early Church supplied what the church needed, and our offerings do the same today.
- Have your child put your family’s offering in the plate as it comes by.
- Read 1 Corinthians 9 to your children. Talk about the importance of supporting the church so we can make sure our pastors are able to “get their living by the Gospel” (verse 14 ESV).
- Sing through the Offertory songs with your children during your devotional time at home. Explain to them how these Psalms and Canticles point to our Lord.
- Discuss how your pastor prepares the altar, what the vessels used in Communion are, and what they are used for. (If you don’t know, borrow a copy of The Altar Guild Manual from your church library or pastor.)
Well, that was a short post this week. Don’t worry, we are diving into The Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper next week. There will be plenty to talk about then! In the meantime, let us know how you teach your children about the Preparation of the Table in the comments below.
God’s blessings as you teach your children “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3 ESV).
Excerpt from Gathered Guests: A Guide to Worship in the Lutheran Church 2nd Edition © 2003, 2009 Timothy H. Maschke. Used by permission.
To learn more about the Divine Service, pick up a copy of Heaven on Earth: The Gifts of Christ in the Divine Service from Concordia Publishing House.
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