What Should We Sing as Gifts of Bread, Wine, and Money are Presented?

Each week following the Peace congregations are invited to make “to present the offerings and oblations of [their] life and labor to the Lord.”  Ushers collect money, a symbol of food, our homes, and, indeed, our self-esteem.  Offering a portion of it to the parish,  the whole Church, and the world is a means of mission.  We also offer bread and wine which are symbols of life and good fellowship, visible signs that these elements are the people’s offering and represent the life of the parish as a whole.  During this period the choir offers an anthem as their particular contribution to the Liturgy.

Following the offertory anthem, at many parishes the organist then launches into an introduction of what is usually called THE DOXOLOGY and the congregation sings the final verse of Hymn 380 as the money is brought forward.  This is very widespread and rarely changes even seasonally.  It has had the effect of making this hymn a part of the mass, on equal footing with the Gloria, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei.  Is that really what we want?

In addition, many parishes separate the presentation of these gifts.  The bread and wine are brought up so that the table can be prepared while the choir sings their anthem.  Then the money is brought up during the singing of THE DOXOLOGY.  This has the effect of making the money more important than the gifts of bread and wine.  Is this the message we want to send?

The preference of liturgists we have consulted would be for the money offering to be collected during the choir’s anthem and then for all the gifts to be brought forward at the same time.  The rubric in the Book of Common Prayer says this: Representatives of the congregation bring the people’s offerings of bread and wine, and money or other gifts, to the deacon or celebrant. The people stand while the offerings are presented and placed on the Altar.

A hymn of praise and thanksgiving is very appropriate as all the gifts are brought forward.  There are a great many hymns in The Hymnal 1982 and Wonder, Love, and Praise that are appropriate during this time.  Think—Now thank we all our God; Father, we thank thee; Strengthen for service, Lord; Let us talents and tongues employ from My Heart Sings Out; I come with joy to meet my Lord.  You get the idea.

If, because of time constraints, you feel you must sing some sort of “doxology,” we have found twenty-three (23) doxologies in the last stanza of hymns in The Hymnal 1982 that would be appropriate in place of Old 100th.  Because some of these hymn tunes are associated with a particular season they are noted.  Here they are:

1 Father, we thank thee
11 Awake, my soul and with the sun
59 Hark! a thrilling voice (Advent)
60 Creator of the stars (Advent)
64 O heavenly Word (Advent)
76 On Jordan’s Bank (Advent)
77 From east to west (Christmas)
112 In the bleak mid-winter (Christmas)
124 What star is this (Epiphany)
131/2 When Christ’s appearing was made known (Epiphany)
137 O wondrous type (Epiphany)
143 The glory of these forty days (Lent)
166 Sing, my tongue (Holy Week)
191 Alleluia, alleluia! Hearts and voices (Easter)
193 That Easter day (Easter)
205 Good Christians all rejoice and sing (Easter)
360 Only begotten, word of God
381 Thy strong word did cleave the darkness
396/7 Now thank we all our God
448/9 O love, how deep
519/20 Blessed city, heavenly Salem
658 As longs the deer
700 O love that casts out fear

Try a different “doxology” for a season and see how it feels.  The church won’t implode if Old 100th is omitted for a season! 

4 thoughts on “What Should We Sing as Gifts of Bread, Wine, and Money are Presented?

  1. In our parish [Immanuel on the Green, New Castle, DE] the long-standing practice is to receive the offering during announcements, following the Peace. Alms and oblations are then brought to the altar together, the people standing. An anthem or hymn is sung while the altar is prepared, and the Sursum corda follows without pause. The “response” is the Sanctus.

  2. I quit scheduling the Old Hundredth doxology several years ago, going instead with (shorter) hymns of praise that fit the lessons. Sometimes I think it might be easier to go with a one stanza doxological stanza from a hymn for an entire season.

  3. We use the last verse of 705 throughout much of the year. The congregation likes it, since the tune is less pompous than others.

    Many of the tunes listed above are in a dotted rhythm, which almost seems to encourage the presenters to skip down the aisle.

  4. At my home parish a motet is sung followed by a hymn before the money is brought forward. The money is brought forward during the singing of the offertory proper from The English Gradual.

Comments are closed.