Lent: Asking for our daily bread

March 25, 2011

Many years ago on a mission trip in
Haiti, our group was ministering in the isolated mountains in the west
near the Dominican Republic. The village where we stayed was where the
road ended. To say it was a “road” was an exaggeration. Early one Sunday
morning, we mounted horses and made our way to another village, even
more remote, to worship with the believers there. We gathered with them
in their sanctuary, a rectangular banana leaf hut. The worship was quite
meaningful even though none of us understood Creole. Nevertheless, we
didn’t need to speak their language to know that God was being worshiped
and Jesus was being glorified.
After worship we gathered at the
pastor’s house, a small hut, and we were served dinner. Some of us
noticed that none of our Haitian brothers and sisters joined us, but for
some reason we didn’t think to ask. We ate a variety of foods and when
we were finished, we were quite satisfied.
Later in the day when we were on
our way back to the village of our temporary residence, the missionary
who was hosting us told us something that made the rest of the trip
quite quiet. He informed us that our Haitian brothers and sisters of the
village had given up their daily meal, the food they had for that day,
so that we could eat. They had given up their daily bread so that we
could have ours.
Do we really understand what it
means to ask God for our daily bread? We who have more bread than we
need? Somewhere, I can’t remember, Bishop William Willimon reminds us
that most of us have in the affluent West have more bread than we need.
Indeed, more of us in the affluent West will die of too much bread
rather than too little bread. How serious can we be when we pray each
Sunday, “Give us this day our daily bread?”
I have no doubt when the brother
in Christ in Haiti utters that line in prayer, it means something very
different from when I pray it. I am sure that when the sister in Jesus
offers that request to God in Ethiopia, it is sincere in a way that I
cannot fathom. When I say, as I do every Sunday along with the rest of
the congregation, “Give us this day our daily bread,” how desperate, and
therefore, how sincere am I, in what I say?
Is it possible for me to
understand what it means to ask God only for the bread I need for today,
when I have bread in the freezer at home? Perhaps, when I ask God for
my daily bread each week, such words should remind me of how I must give
out of my abundance so that others, who pray the same words, will
receive the bread they need just for the present day.
May I be so willing to give up my daily bread, so that others will receive theirs.
Originally posted at Bevere's blog.

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