The bountiful crop is to be shared. The fatted calf is for a feast for the community. The abundant harvest of grapes is for the village to sing and dance and give thanks to God. The first fruits and the tithe are to be brought to the temple to give thanks to God and to be shared with those in need. Wealth and possessions are a tool for sharing God’s goodness, for extending God’s reign of mercy and life.
(From today’s sermon, “Do not be afraid, little flock” – posted in Recent Sermons)
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“Give us this day our daily bread.”
The worship service is not just a collection of various elements – three hymns, three readings and a psalm, an opening prayer, an offering prayer, the prayers of the people and the prayer over communion, with a benediction to end it all – it is a tapestry whose various threads weave together into a whole. Like a symphony, themes arise, are explored, give way to new themes, and then come back in new ways later.
Themes from the First Reading are heard in the Gospel and show up again in the prayers. The hymns take up notes sounded in the readings. Words in the Eucharistic Prayer – the prayer during communion that recites the saving work of God and connects it to this moment when bread is broken for the gathered community – catch our attention because of what we have heard in the sermon. Even in texts we say every week – like the Lord’s Prayer – phrases will jump out at us because of what has come before. It is like hearing the woodwinds take up a theme the strings have played in the beginning – the clear sound of the flute causing the theme to stand out above the rest of the orchestra and take us back to the heart of the music.
This week and last Jesus has talked about the right relationship with and use of possessions: the bounty of the harvest is to be shared that all may rejoice in God’s gracious gifts.
With such words fresh in mind, we pray the Lord’s Prayer and that little word “us” stands out. Jesus taught us to say “Give us this day our daily bread.” It doesn’t say give me…
We do not pray for ourselves; we pray for all.
Then from a few small loaves the whole crowd is fed.