Monday, June 07, 2010

June 5 Sermon: Part 2 of Lord's Prayer Sermon: Daily Bread and Forgiveness

Exodus 16: 11-21
John 6: 31-33, 48-51, Matthew 6: 9-12

Give us this day our daily bread. 

The emphasis on “today” is really what started the ball rolling for me in designing this sermon series.  It occurred to me that the entire Lord’s prayer is centered on the present and the future. 

The past is important, and we dare not forget what has come before us, but as a daily prayer, Jesus offers us the idea that we should be focused on the here and now. 

Daily Bread.  Jesus tells his followers to ask God to provide for them in the most basic of ways, but the reference to daily bread also calls to mind a story of relying on God day by day, and not taking more than we need to keep relying on God’s grace. 

Manna in the wilderness story. 

Perhaps since we sit in the relative lap of luxery—I imagine you are somewhat similar to me in that you could take the contents of your pantry right now and probably get by for about 3 or 4 months.

So, since we have removed ourselves in many ways from the kind of dependence upon God that this line of the prayer speaks about, perhaps the prayer to “give us this day our daily bread” should help us remember all those who are hungry day to day. 

Perhaps it reminds us of the refugees around the world, who like the refugees in the Exodus story, count on God’s provision for them to eat.  Perhaps it reminds us of those who are living in the ruin of war, where the water is polluted with death and the food supply is uncertain.  Perhaps it might remind us of those fisherman whose livelihoods are being threatened by the disastrous oil spill in the gulf. 

Yes, perhaps the “us” in the Lord’s prayer should in our case be a collective “us,” since for the most part, we have little concern for the whereabouts of our next meal

I also included the “bread of Life” narratives from John in today’s Gospel reading, because I wanted us all to be reminded how closely Jesus identified himself with the bread that sustains us on the journey. 

Jesus said, “I am the bread come down from heaven.”  Jesus gives himself to us in the form of bread and wine, because Jesus is the only food that can give us true life.  Jesus does more than sustain us, he is the bread that transforms us.  He is the original “Wonder Bread.” 

And the petition to God to provide us with daily bread is followed by the most basic ingredient to our salvation: forgiveness. 

Forgive us our sins/trespasses/debts.  But God doesn’t just willy nilly forgive us our sins.  God is interested in how we forgive.  Are we willing to forgive those sins/trespasses/debts against us? 

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