Give us this day our daily bread.

Matthew 6: 11

 

When you think about bread, what comes to mind? Perhaps it is the picture of a great bakery where many styles, flavors, and colors greet the senses as you walk in. Think of bread and your mind may return to a morning when the sleep of the night was pushed aside by the aroma of fresh baked goods coming from the oven. That same commodity, bread, might be the primary item that sustains you and prevents hunger from winning the day. It seems that bread is rich and sumptuous, and it is also basic, fundamental, and even necessary. Thus, when Jesus used bread as the item to seek after from the Father, He was talking about much more than just filling the stomach.

 

Jesus was talking in terms of life and of life-giving. Praying about the provision of bread was entering into faith, trust, and dependence at the same time as it involved active participation in living out God’s will and calling for life in His kingdom. Jesus helps us to recognize the way that God has always engaged in granting to people the basic necessities of life at the same time as He has given to us all that we require to have our deep, spiritual longings satisfied. From the garden to the wilderness and on to the cross with its attendant empty tomb and forward to today and tomorrow, God provides the bread, that perfect substance of life, to anyone who is willing to seek and to receive it.

 

Although we work, we grow, we produce, and we earn in order to have the food that we eat, all that enables and empowers those activities is a gift from God to us. At the same time all people possess souls that are hungry to be fed with the substance of eternal truth, and God has also given that to us in the person of that same Jesus who spoke these words about bread when He was, in fact, seeing the presence of God, the Father. In and through Christ we are fed, and the food that we are invited to consume is lush and exquisite in its bounty and in its variety. Christ satisfies in ways that exceed the capacity of all else that we might seek after and experience. He brings life to our souls and to our hearts and minds. Jesus invites us to trust God for the provision of all that we need and then to follow Him into living fully in expression of the truth of that abundance as we share its life giving and sustaining properties with our world.

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