Sunday Worship 7th June -Give us this day our daily bread


Loaf of Bread

Opening Words: Genesis 1.1–2.4a

Opening Prayer:

Glorious God

present in creation;

Jesus Christ,

risen and ascended;

Holy Spirit,

inspiring and transforming;

be present among us,

as we worship you today.

God the Holy Trinity,

three in one, one in three,

ever-present mystery,

be present in our midst

as we offer you our worship,

our wonder and our praise. Amen.

Bible Readings:

Matthew 6:25-34 Exodus 16:1-8 John 16:25-40 Luke 22:14-23 Luke 24:28-35

Comments on Bible Readings:

Last week we witnessed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the disciples were still on a spirit induced ‘high’ and continued to speak boldly and proudly, seeing people flock to Jesus on a daily basis. What these people lacked was being given to them by God’s Holy Spirit. Jesus said come unto me all you labour, are hungry and thirsty and I will give you rest for your souls, I will feed you with manna from heaven and quench you with life-giving water. Today I want us to look at the food that Jesus fills us with.

There are many accounts of Food in the Bible and I have chosen the five most well-known ones. They all speak of God/Jesus providing for us.

In Exodus the people of Israel were complaining about their lot- God had saved them from Egypt but bought them into the desert to die, through lack of food and water. Moses annoyed with the people asked God for help. God provided what they needed, Manna from heaven, when they woke in the morning they were to collect enough for the day, overnight it went off, so just enough for the day. (except Saturday – food for Sunday too ). Here is the lesson for us – God will provide you with enough for the day, enough for this day, for any day , enough. In that way, God taught the Israelites a daily dependence on God’s grace and provision, and a way to be content with just enough.

To ask God every day for our daily bread is to realize daily and ever more deeply that all we have comes from God. Our food may not land overnight like the dew, but it still comes to us as God’s generous provision.

The other side of asking God for enough for each day is the simple discipline of giving thanks, saying grace before meals on our own and in families helps us to see that all we have comes from God’s goodness. It is He who provides enough for the day.

The reading from Matthew tells us that life is fragile. Food shortages and hardship caused by panic buying (at the beginning of lockdown) remind us of the ugly dangers of human greed. We learn again the need to depend on God, the work of others and sometimes the kindness of strangers for all we need each day. We remember that our spiritual food, too, comes from God who is able still to nourish us and care for us day by day. We value and appreciate still more deeply the gifts we have been given in the Eucharist and we long for them to be restored. Matthew tells us not to be worried for tomorrow but to focus on today, tomorrow will have enough worries of its own. We need to go to God every day and ask Him to fill us for that day, and that day alone.

We are bombarded by advertising in every working hour, in every possible medium and in every single space. Advertising has a single goal: to make us unhappy with our lives so that we will buy more stuff.

‘Give us today our daily bread’ offers an antidote to greed. It is probably the most challenging line found in the Lords Prayer. It is a prayer to be content with just enough for today; a prayer to depend on God’s grace each day for what we need and, beyond that, to focus on God’s kingdom. The repetition of ‘today’ and ‘daily’ is also a clear indication that Jesus means his disciples to use this prayer every day of their lives. We too need to use this prayer and this line every day of our lives.

Unhappiness and greed steal away our joy, our peace and our contentment. For this reason, this line of the Lords Prayer is both deeply challenging and profound, good news. We are meant to be more than consumers.

Many people think only about food and drink and money and material goods. They believe that having more and more stuff brings a rich and abundant life. Their lives are shaped by wanting more. But the bible reading from John (which we studied in our Bible Study at the end of May) looks at the people who followed Jesus, they followed because he had fed them the day before and they wanted more. They did not follow because they recognised in Him the Kingship Of Jesus, they did not recognised the Messiah, they looked at the surface and saw He provided them with food – they wanted more.

Jesus tells them ‘Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life’ Jesus was not only addressing their physical needs He went further to address their spiritual needs. The people ask, ‘What is this food?’ Jesus replies, ‘I am’. ‘I am the bread of life’: the one who brings joy and strength, and sustains and feeds all that we are created to be.

Once again, Jesus leads us back to God. As we pray for daily bread, we are praying daily for a fresh encounter with Jesus, praying for him to fill us with His Holy Spirit on a daily basis.

Feeding us with His bread was so important that before He died He wanted to share a meal with His disciples, The Last Supper and at this meal He did something extra-ordinary with the bread (and wine). The reading from Luke shares this special meal with us. The bread broken – His body broken on the cross, the wine poured out – His blood freely shed for the forgiveness of our sins. We are literally fed with His body.

On the night before Jesus died, Jesus himself set this meal of bread and wine as the centre of Christian worship: a sign and sacrament of his love.

A sacrament is a pledge of God’s love and a gift of God’s life. God takes earthly things – water, bread and wine – and invests them with grace. A sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. As we gather around the Lord’s table, we remember God’s acts of love in creation and in the story of salvation. We meet with Jesus in bread and wine. By faith, we are strengthened for our journey through the desert. We look forward to the great banquet of heaven. So we pray every day ‘give us this day our daily bread’ – give us your life giving spirit, fill us with your love, joy , peace, patience and kindness. Give us your strength so that we are able every day to serve Him as He deserves and to serve in His world as He did.

Our final reading is also from the Gospel of Luke and tells the story of one of the resurrection appearances – the two on the road to Emmaus, but it is not what happened on the road that was important but what happened when they reached their destination. He stranger made to go , but they persuaded Him to stay and eat with them. It was round that ordinary table that as the stranger broke the bread, they realised who He was. Jesus had been with them, still teaching and explaining, they had not been alone, and never would be. We are never alone and never will be for in asking for our daily bread we are asking for Jesus to be with us in everything we do every day. Did he not say ‘I will be with you always’ as he went into heaven at His ascension. I will be with you always. His Spirit living in us, is Jesus with us always. Let us pray every day for His sustaining food, for His Spirit to fill us afresh.

Amen

Prayers:

It's difficult to live with uncertainty.

However bad a situation,

knowing what you have to face

means that you can start coming to terms with it,

facing your fears,

planning your strategy.

When the 'big picture' is too big or too blurred

and indistinct,

it's easier to focus on small details,

to try to control what you can.

The world has changed,

how does that affect our living in the meantime?

How do I need to change?

How do I want to change?

Is it possible to live each day as a new opportunity,

while knowing that it feels the same as yesterday?

I need your help, God,

to listen for you in the clamour of voices calling for my attention,

to focus on you in the midst of competing priorities,

to trust you in this time of uncertainty.

Amen.

Prayers of intercession:

Where there is conflict between nations and within nations;

where people live in fear of the bullet and the bomb;

when parents weep for children who have been killed:

God of peace,

may your peace be known.

In homes filled with anger, cruelty and neglect;

where there are no safe places;

where poverty and addiction bring suffering and pain:

God of peace,

may your peace be known.

To those whose minds are tormented by depression;

to those whose hold on life is fragile;

to those whose lives are filled with stress:

God of peace,

may your peace be known.

To those who are nearing the end of life;

to those who love and care for them: