Your Kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Luke 11:2 (NKJV)
Our Daily Bread – A Pretty Important Prayer – Part 5
Jesus subtly references a time, hundreds of years before, when the Israelites were wandering in the desert, hungry, homesick, and lost. God caused little cakes or bites of bread to appear every morning, and the people would collect just enough of it to feed them throughout one day. No more. No less. They called it Manna and they praised God for providing them with this “daily” bread.
1). The bread was daily. Many of us live in the past and in the future, but rarely in the present. Remembering what was and agonising over it, haunted by it, or wishing it back again. Or dreaming of what would be, maybe even fearing it. But to live this moment? Here and now? To stare what you have in the face and be real and true? To treat the moment that you’re in as Holy and sacred? We’ve got a lot to learn. But when we do live this way, it helps us to not miss a thing and to use what we have rather then wishing and pining and regretting or worrying.
What do you have? Start there.
2). This prayer is not individualistic. Jesus didn’t say, “give ME this day MY daily bread…” No, the whole prayer is ‘we’ not ‘me.’ Give us, all of us, our daily bread.
“The world produces 17% more food per person today than 30 years ago. But close to a billion people go to sleep hungry every night. The problem is that many people in the world don’t have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food. Hunger is not a random condition.” (oxfam.ca/there-enough-food-feed-world.)
One in seven children worldwide (158 million) have to go to work every day to keep their families alive. (Unicef, Progress for Children.)
One billion people worldwide do not have access to clean drinking water and every 19 seconds, a mother loses a child to a water related illness (Unicef and Charity Water).
More than 43 million people worldwide are now forcibly displaced as a result of conflict and persecution. (United Nations.) And forcibly displaced is stating it nicely. They’re living in camps (although that term is generous), or on the run, vulnerable to manipulation and exploitation.
It’s estimated that over half of the world's population lives on less the $2USD a day. More than 50% of all the people alive right now. And 1% of the world's population own roughly 50% of the world's wealth. AND we have enough food to end world hunger, right here, right now.
Give US this day OUR daily bread. All of us. Together.
Look, I get it. There’s more to it than just feeding everyone, right? There're wars and governments and policies and protocols; the right way to do things, and who was next in line, and who deserves it and who’s worked for it, and who do we deem worthy of a handout…
“…and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.”
I kinda get the idea that Jesus doesn’t care much for our bureaucracy. His kingdom is a little different than ours, after all.
Forgiveness, in this sense, is less about right and wrong and who says sorry first, and who takes the high road and forgives. It's more about levelling the playing field. Building bridges. Tearing down walls of division. Forgiving debts. Forgiving divisions. Opening borders. Grace. Mercy. Compassion.
Frederick Buechner said: “Go where your best prayers take you.”
What do you have? What can you do with it?
And I think if you’re praying, “give US this day OUR daily bread,” the prayer will take you to sharing and caring and mending and feeding and forgiving and repenting…
Prayers are lived into.
(SIDE NOTE: This is not meant to make anyone feel guilty or overwhelmed. But I do hope it awakens us to the reality of our world and its systems. And the reality of the power that we already have to change things one person at a time. Start reading stories. Open your heart to what's going on around you. Check out www.preemptivelove.org and www.thecompassioncollective.org – we've started by opening hearts to stories and lives, and giving to these organisations on a regular basis.)
Written by Lizzy Milani