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Give us today our daily bread

First it was the power going off, then the water, then the power again. Then our car broke down. It doesn’t take much to bring everything grinding to a halt. What do you do when the electric goes off for a couple of hours? What do you do when the water stops running?

It’s funny how easily we are reduced to nothingness. So much of our homes run on electricity. You think when the power goes off, I’ll just go and phone so and so, only to find that your new digital cordless phone doesn’t work. So you think, “I’ll just sit down with a mug of tea and a good book,” but of course there’s no power for the kettle! And then proud of your creativity you think, “I’ll use the microwave to heat the water”. Nope.

We fancy ourselves as great independent people who can cope with life, but the reality is that we’ve become so dependent on progress that we don’t know how to cope when it all breaks down.

I’ve just started preaching on the Lord’s Prayer on Sundays. One of the phrases in it is, “Give us today our daily bread” which covers much more than bread – all the necessities of life – but seems obsolete in a day and age of supermarkets. After all, we earn the money with which we buy our food, and we drive to the shop in our own cars, and we cook the food ourselves. Why bother asking God? Yet don’t the recent problems with water and electricity show us that it is just as relevant 2000 years after Jesus taught it? God hasn’t become obsolete, just because we have moved a step or two away from the raw materials. Instead of reaping our own corn and grinding it for bread, or walking to the well and drawing our own water, we have it all ‘on tap’ so to speak.

Yet when the supply chain is interrupted we find ourselves at a loss. We find we aren’t as independent as we thought – and that we can’t even cope with a few shortages. Our progress hasn’t made us any more independent; it has only blinded us to our reliance upon God for even the simplest things in life.

We need to get back to seeing the need to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread”. It’s humbling, but better to be humble than find God having to humble us for our arrogant self-reliance.