God’s provision: physical/spiritual…

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Luke 11:1–4 (NRSV): He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.”

This is what many Christians refer to as the “Lord’s Prayer” or the “Our Father” for Catholics. It’s a shorter version than the one in Matthew. There are two things that stick out for me this morning.

First, there is “Give us each day our daily bread”. Bread represents the things we need for physical sustenance: food, water, shelter, and so on. The idea is that we should not expect to receive a year’s supply of what we need to stash for a rainy day. Instead it’s a posture of daily need and dependence. It also squares with Jesus’ directions to the 70 disciples sent out to visit towns and villages in Luke 10. They weren’t allowed to take anything with them for the journey, but to depend on the Father’s provision one day at a time. In a world that scorns living “paycheck to paycheck” the idea of daily provision is frowned up as being irresponsible. It’s a clear tension of culture for us Christians.

Secondly, there is “Forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.” If bread represents our physical need, forgiveness represents our spiritual need. I’m again interested in the reciprocal nature of forgiveness. God forgives us first and then we are expected to extend forgiveness to others. However, in other places in the gospels Jesus makes plain that refusal to forgive others jeopardizes our own forgiveness. It’s considered unthinkable by God that we would receive forgiveness of EVERY sin and then refuse someone else.

Heavenly Father this morning we ask for you to provide for our every need today: physical and spiritual. Give us grace to trust you in both and by so doing experience the blessedness of your Kingdom. For we pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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