Our lords prayer continued…..
Give us this day Our daily bread
Give us this day our daily bread. Generally, this petition presents us with a little difficulty in interpretation on what exactly Jesus meant when he said; give us this day our daily bread. Did he really mean physical or spiritual nourishment? Looking at it from a spiritual perspective, bread here could be taken to mean the Lord’s Table, the spiritual food which is the word of God and yet still, it could stand for Jesus himself (John 6:35, Jesus declared that I am the bread of life). So, from this perspective, whether referring to the Lord’s Table, as in asking for the continued benefit of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, or desiring to be nourished by the word of God daily or continued fellowship with Christ the bread of life who is the sustainer of our lives; we recognize our dependence of God.
Looking at it from the physical perspective, it means that we need God to meet our physical needs on a daily basis. With this petition, we can be assured that God will supply our needs for each coming day.
Give us this day our daily bread. In the paragraph above, we looked at different ways in which this petition can make sense to us today. Those of us, who look forward for the Lord’s Table, will ask God to grant them the benefit of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Those who consider this petition as the word of God will meditate upon it daily. Their devotion is scripture centered. Those who have found Jesus the bread of life, endeavor to fashion their lives after Him.
Taking this prayer literally bread means food, pasta, rice, chapatti, ugali, pizza, fries etc. And it means that God is concerned about our physical as much as our spiritual nurture.
It makes sense to realize that it did not just start when Jesus taught this prayer but in Genesis 1:29,9:3 God had made plans for our provision. This also shows us that God is concerned about our total salvation. Starving people cannot have a full expression of salvation hence the need for this petition.
This petition also brings out some realities that we cannot ignore. Life is one day at a time; so, give us today our daily bread. In the wilderness, the Israelites thought they could satisfy their greed but any excess, spoilt (Ex 16:1-21). This is where faith makes sense. Knowing that God is able to meet our needs for tomorrow is faith.
Secondly this prayer gives God his rightful place. Here he becomes life giver and sustainer. God wants us to depend on him for our daily needs.
Finally, this prayer is plural. Our daily bread. When it’s ours, then I am mindful of my brother/sister who has nothing for the day. It is meant to help us challenge systems of wealth distribution. Selfishness is shunned and Deut 15:7 is applied.
By Rev Lilian M Kamau
To be continued….