The Blessing of Bread
Give us this day our daily bread. – Matthew 6:11
In order to steer this vessel toward His glory, we need navigation.
In order to fuel this vehicle and keep it on mission we need nourishment.We start with the physical:
"Give us this day our daily bread."
Our bodies are not a careless afterthought in the scheme of creation.
They complete it. – [Tell it Slant, Eugene Peterson]
I forget this. Often.
My tendency is to help everyone else first.
I can make that an excuse, my willingness to "do the right thing."
The responsible thing.
Unfortunately, in my willingness to sacrifice for others I am not being a steward of myself. And if truly honest, not really sacrificing.
I am doing the EASIER and LAZY thing.
Serving myself takes a great deal of effort.
So to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread," is to pray,
"Give me this day, the motivation to say no to certain foods."
"Give me the motivation to break a sweat."
"Give me the awareness that I need to eat the right kinds of food."
"Give me this day my daily nourishment."
"Give me this day the stamina to serve myself."
Christianity… unlike most other religions… doesn't call you out of the physical, out of the body, or out of the world. Rather it tells you that God enters the physical, becomes one with it, blesses it, redeems it, and that there is no reason to escape from it.
[- Ronald Rohlheiser, Our One Great Act of Fidelity]
Our daily need for food is meant to be a constant reminder.
We are not our own source of sustenance.
We are creatures in daily need.
It would not have been lost on Jesus' hearers that their ancestors looked to God literally, each day for daily bread or something like it…
When the Israelites were wandering around in the dessert for 40 years after their refusal to trust God, He displayed His faithfulness by providing for them manna from heaven. This manna was unusual.
It was like a bread source that could be used for various dishes in various ways, and provided daily nourishment. Daily.
Whatever was not used that day went bad.
What was needed would then be provided the following day.
Jesus hearers would easily have made the connection.
Give us this day our daily bread is a declaration of dependence.
Some of us have trouble receiving.
We don’t like asking for help. It makes us feel weak.
Praying this prayer… Yep. It is acknowledging that I am weak.
Consumerism is a narcotic that dulls the awareness that we are in need. By buying what we need, we assume control of our lives.
We replace a sense of need with a sense of ownership, and our sense of neediness recedes… Needs prepare us for a life of receptivity.
Every so-called limit is access to a gift. – [Tell it Slant, page 184]
If you are fully self-sufficient then you have no need for love.
If, however, you are in need, you are in a place of receptivity. You are prepped for love. Many of us are ambitious about giving love away, have we learned to be just as ambitious in our desire to receive it.