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‘Blessed be thou, O Lord God, for ever and ever. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine: thine is the Kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all: all things come of thee, and of thine own do we give unto thee.’

In the liturgy of the Scottish Episcopal Church these words (adapted from I Chronicles) are said at the beginning of the offertory, and it strikes me that they contain a veritable depth of understanding of the Eucharist. First of all, let me dispel the notion that the offertory refers solely to passing round the collection plate: the offertory is that part of the eucharist when the unconsecrated gifts of bread and wine are offered to God as they are placed on the altar, although the offering of money forms the financial part of all we offer to God.

Consider the phrase in the prayer I have quoted ‘all things come of thee’: all our gifts come from God, our life, our health, our food. The second part of that phrase always strikes me as being incredibly appropriate ‘of thine own do we give unto thee’. In the eucharist we are offering God’s gifts back to him (‘eucharist’ means ‘thanksgiving’) as we ask him to make them for us the body and blood of Christ.

As we approach Advent and Christmas, we should recall not only that ‘all things come of thee’ but also ‘of thine own do we give unto thee’, and that in each eucharist ‘we offer and present unto thee O Lord, ourselves, our souls, and bodies’.

                                                                                                                     Deacon Douglas MacMillan


Collect for First Sunday of Advent 

Almighty God,

give us grace to cast away the works of darkness

and to put on the armour of light,

now in the time of this mortal life,

in which your Son Jesus Christ

came to us in great humility;

that on the last day,

when he shall come again in his glorious majesty

to judge the living and the dead,

we may rise to the life immortal;

through him who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.