Lent with the Lord's Prayer
Give us this day our daily bread. Matthew 6:11Give us this day our daily bread, as we pray this we are reminded of how Jesus taught us to give daily food from what we already have. He taught us to take, bless, break and give. This story found in all the gospels. At the end of a long weary day, Jesus seeks rest but the people are hungry for him.
So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. 35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. "This is a remote place," they said, "and it's already very late. 36 Send the people away so they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat." 37 But he answered, "You give them something to eat." They said to him, "That would take eight months of a man's wages ! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?" 38 "How many loaves do you have?" he asked. "Go and see." When they found out, they said, "Five--and two fish." 39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand. Mark 6:32-44
In this story Jesus is teaching us how to respond to people who are hungry. The disciples believe the people should be sent away to find food because they are just coming for teaching, but Jesus pushes the disciples toward a new way of being. Jesus is teaching that the kingdom we have prayed for and the bread we need to eat are already present on earth and we need to see to the adequate distribution of food. Jesus took food that was “already there, already present, already available” (John Dominic Crossen, The Greatest Prayer, p. 129). He teaches the disciples to take what is available, to bless, to give thanks for the bounty, to break it and then give it to the hungry crowds.
One question for us is there enough food to feed the world. The answer is that the world produces enough food to feed everyone. World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day (FAO 2002, p.9). So how do we live into this prayer that we prayer to give us (not me, not my family) but us the whole household of God our daily food. As a Lenten practice today, keep track of the cost of the food you eat and at the end of the day if you are able set aside a plate for Jesus with the cost of the food and donate it to a local food pantry or hunger program.