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Sermons on the Lord’s Prayer - Our Daily Bread
Date: 
Sun, 04/03/2011 (All day)

 

Give us this day our daily bread - the word of the day is bread and I cannot look at this word just as it is - bread

But in context - kind of like a Russian doll - a set of

This morning I want to tell some stories of bread in the Bible so that we might begin to grapple with what it really means when we pray - Give us this day our daily bread

 

Daily bread - is best understood in light of the story of the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness.  Do you remember how they got there? - there was a famine and Joseph was the number #1 man under the Pharoah and fed them

Now many generations later - a different pharaoh and they are living in bondage.

They groan under their work - and God hears them and remembers his promise to Abraham and calls Moses to lead them out of Egypt.

And then finally they are on their way to the promised land

Not there - on their way

And they have been gone from Egypt for a month and a half and now what they had to provide for themselves is gone

And they are hungry. - Wilderness  and experiencing a condition we can call:  Self deficiency -

And what happens when we are hungry - we get cranky -

If you look at Exodus 16 - a word that you hear over and over again is complain - they are people of complaint-

 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day.

  • MANNA - is a sticky substancemanna; it was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.  There was enough for one day and one day only - except the day before the Sabbath
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What this story reminds us of is this: - the God provides for God’s people every day.

It is a picture of provision by God and trust By God’s people.

And what is asked of them is that they take it - Take the manna that God has given you.

What is really interesting in the text is found in v. when they say - what is it?

In Hebrew - the Manna is actually - man hu - which means “what is it”

 because they had never seen it before

I wonder - maybe the manna God gives us is unlike any other nourishment that we have ever received???

 

God gave them enough - but they didn’t recognize it at first

And it also says that God is interested in our physical selves - our bodies - our sustenance. God wants to provide ENOUGH for us.  Manna. Take it.

We think we understand physical hunger - although most of us have not had to experience it on a life basis -

Probably hungry because you fasted before a meal, or you forgot to eat too busy, or dieting.

 

And so there is another kind of hunger that God cares about - that is spiritual hunger

In fact it is the hunger that causes us to eat when we are not hungry,

Drink alcohol when we are not thirsty

Watch TV when you are not interested in the program

And buy something that you really don’t need

 

There is a spiritual hunger that happens because the secular, material life does not really satisfy the deepest parts of ourselves

50 years ago Adlai Stevenson said - “There is a spiritual hunger in the world and it cannot be satisfied by better cars on longer credit terms.

Signs of spiritual hunger - addictions - substituting something else for God

Maxie Dunnam writes about a spiritual pandemic – which is feelings of worthlessness

Disease that works on our minds, distorting our vision of reality

It is a disease that attacks our spirits, sapping our spiritual energy

Disease that engage our emotions, poisoning our feelings

Disease that makes us neurotic because it fills us with fear and anxiety.– lack of self worth, self pity, low self extreme

Expresses itself in a lot of way – lack of confidence, fear and anxiety about performance

Spiritual hunger……..Feeling like your life does not matter

Feeling isolated and alone

 

And what are the signs - one of them is exactly the same as physical hunger - complaint, anger, sadness, deadness.  But that is not always true. It  is so easy to wear a mask that says I am okay - and we are not - but we are afraid to show you who we really are

Spiritual hunger

So the manna that we seek is not physical bread - but spiritual - a knowledge of God, an experience of God, the spirit awakened within us.  Held by the arms of love, Given a sense of hope and meaning and purpose

We need to be fed!

 

We get fed spiritually here at the table - and that is our second bread story

The next bread story is found in the new testament - in every gospel except John’s and it is the story of the Last Supper and Jesus takes bread, blesses it and breaks it and gives it

He feeds himself to his disciples - all of them including the one who is going to betray him.  And he says very clearly that this meal is an act of remembrance and presence.

it is spiritual nourishment.

 

In his book living the Lord’s prayer Albert Haase writes about walking the grounds of the Dachau concentration camp.  He found himself almost paralyzed with grief and sorrow as he walked in stunned silence, trying to understand the horror of Nazi Germany.

He paused to pray at the spot where Barracks 26 once stood.  It was the prison dormitory that housed many Roman Catholics - including Gen.

 

She told him of her experience there

Every day the prisons of Dachau got one meal - a chunk of bread the size of a dinner roll and a cup of watered-down soup.  But each day, on Catholic prisoner would voluntarily sacrifice his or her meager bread ration for the celebration of the Eucharist.  That chunk of bread would be consecrated by a priest and then secretly passed around as communion for the prisoners.

 

That daily communion in Barracks 26 of Dachau was never reduced to a pious, sentimental ritual.  It was quite literally about dying to one’s hunger so that others could be fed.  It was about giving.  And receiving the body of Christ.

 

The bread of our Lord connects us to one another.  It feeds us spirit, gives us hope, helps us to keep going.  Just like eating a meal a day - keeps us going.

 

  • but this prayer is about daily bread - being nourished by the Lord’s spirit daily
  • there are many ways that the Lord feeds us - because we need to be fed spiritually daily.  So - when we read scripture, when we pray, with a hug from a friend or a note  of consolation, the melody of a song or words of a sermon

Our God  who rained Manna on the children of Israel has spiritual bread for us - we need to take it

 

There is one more bread story today.  It is called the miracle of the loaves and the fishes -

The context of that event is that the people are searching for Jesus - and they gather to hear him preach.  Mark describes them as sheep without a shepherd.  Spiritually hungry And then Jesus notices that they are hungry.- physically hungry

 

The disciples has a solution - their solution - they need to go away so that they can buy something to eat And Jesus answered them by saying - YOU give them something to eat.

 

This emphasizes their  responsibility for the distribution of God’s food to God’s people.  And how much do they have - 5 loaves of bread - 2 fish - NOT ENOUGH

They seat the crowd - and then distribute the food.

The miracle is the miracle of moving from not enough - to more than enough - abundanceAfterwards took up  12 baskets full of full of broken pieces and fish

 

A lot of details - which tell us - that Jesus brings the disciples in between the crowd and himself.  As if to say - you are the ones who give the bread

And so the message for us this day is all of this

 

Yes God does give us the bread - the bread that we need to live physically and spiritually

And then God has called us to become the bread for others

 

 

 

Take the bread - take it into ourselves - trust that God will provide bread for us every day

We may look and not recognize it at first but it is there.

We may say - “What is it?”  But God Does Provide the bread

 

Bless the Bread - thank God for the bread - which means live our lives in gratitude and not complaint -

Our hearts change when we are grateful -

 

Break the bread  - As you yourself are broken.  This is a bread for broken people - not perfect people.   Someone said

God uses broken things.

 It takes broken soil to produce a crop,

 broken clouds to give rain,

broken grain to give bread,

 broken bread to give strength.

He breaks our pride, he breaks our masks, he breaks self reliance and independence as we have come to him every day for bread.

 

And then we give - who we are, what we have to others - the spiritually hungry in our midst

 

Taken, blessed, broken and given -

 

Hear this - we live in a world of hunger - physical and spiritual.

We need people who have been fed to find the way in which they are to become bread to others.

Sometimes it literally means physically feeding - we give food out our church weekly to people who are physically hunger

 

But also - as importantly - to recognize that we are the bread to more people than we know

As we  intentionally live our lives bringing God’s love and hope and compassion to this hungry world.

Taken, blessed, broken, and given

And it may not seem in the face of the hunger that is all around it - that is is NOT enough

But touched by the hand of the master - it somehow is

To receive the bread of life is a commitment to become the bread of life for others

 

Give us this Day our Daily Bread - a simple prayer which speaks of a life of dependence and trust and brokenness

May we take the bread and become the bread as Disciples of Christ.

 

Amen

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