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Through Lattice Windows: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

"Why do we pray to receive daily bread? I mean, why did Jesus instruct us to do so? It struck me recently that I had been short-sighted in my approach to this topic, and here's why,'' writes Leanne Hunt.

Bread in daily life is just sustenance. It is not intended to be eaten for its own sake so much as to provide energy for action. In the Sinai Desert, the Israelites received daily bread so that they would be able to continue their journey in the wilderness. Today, we receive our daily bread so that we can accomplish the tasks that are set before us.

Or so it should be. Unfortunately, we often fall into the trap of focusing on the bread itself. In a literal sense, we get caught up with the notion of delicious food, fantastic presentation of dishes and extra-convenient consumer items that make cooking a breeze. We eat more than we need to, simply because we enjoy the taste.And once we put on weight from over-eating, the thought of engaging in high-level activity is frankly off-putting.

In a figurative sense, the same is true. We can get so fixated on spiritual food in the form of sacred texts, books, sermons and conferences that we forget why we sought nourishment in the first place. We become spiritually obese and unwilling to venture out to do the work that God calls us to do in the world.

No wonder we have to pray, "Forgive us our trespasses," and "Lead us not into temptation." Gluttony of any sought is considered to be one of the seven deadly sins. Being faced with a banquet of well-presented and easily-digestible food - actual or spiritual - is temptation indeed. No wonder we have to pray, "Deliver us from evil"!

We live in a day and age when daily bread is so conveniently packaged and pleasing to the body and spirit that it is almost impossible not to consume more than we need. But over-indulgence can lead to destructive habits such as criticising food that doesn't match up to our expectations, being wasteful, forgetting to share with those who are hungry and judging those who have different tastes from ourselves.

Instead of focusing on the bread, we should focus on the kingdom and on righteous living. When we stop focusing on food and start focusing on the kind of world in which everyone's needs are met, then balance will be restored. We will find that we have what we need and our neighbour has what he needs, and the main thrust of the prayer has been answered: "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."


Do visit Leanne's rewarding Web site http://diamondpanes.blogspot.com/


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