Weather wise this has been an amazing week, if you don’t count earthquakes and hurricanes. This is also the third week of our current message series, which is all about the Mass. Tom will be speaking about the Offertory of the Mass. I heard his message yesterday and I can tell you, it is challenging.
As the Liturgy of the Eucharist begins members of the congregation bring to the altar the bread and wine for the celebration as well as their “gifts for the needs of the Church and the poor” (The Sacramentary). When all is prepared, the celebrant says to the congregation: “Pray that our sacrifice may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.”
After their exile, the Jews of the Old Testament were eventually allowed to return to Jerusalem, rebuild the Temple and restore the worship there. This was a very challenging period of time, as we read of it in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. We can also learn more in the book of the prophet Malachi. There was discouragement, and malaise among the people of God, a distinct lack of hope in the promises of God. And nowhere was this more clearly seen than in their worship. It degenerated into a listless, meaningless perpetuation of mere forms and rituals (sound like some of your church experience?).