FAITHFUL WORDS Dr. Kenneth L. Faught A Father who has Bread “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). Have you had your “daily bread?” Perhaps it was toast and eggs with bacon or sausage – or a bagel with cream cheese and an orange juice – or a bowl of cereal with milk and fruit. We must eat to live; sometimes it seems we live to eat. We must eat “bread” to sustain our bodies. Often we speak of human appetites as though they were sinful. The body itself is sometimes regarded in some Christian circles as “evil.” By contrast, Jesus teaches us to pray for our physical needs. A hymn reminds us: “He sends the sunshine and the rain, he sends the harvest’s golden grain, sunshine and rain, harvest of grain, he’s my Friend.” The Hebrew prayer of blessing that Jesus would have known was, “Blessed art thou, O Lord, our God, who causes to come forth bread from the earth.” Giving thanks is “saying grace” – recognizing the source of our blessings. We also eat bread to nourish our souls. On an entirely different occasion, Jesus said, “Take, eat this is my body” and “Drink this cup in remembrance of me.” Holy Communion is a sacrament of our salvation – one where we recall that Jesus is the “Bread of Life.” Just as we need physical nourishment, we also need spiritual nourishment. The “meal” of Communion reminds us that we have needs that God and God alone can supply. We have a deep need or hunger for grace and forgiveness. Either we allow God to meet these needs, or we stuff ourselves with the world’s spiritual junk food for the soul. We eat bread to strengthen our fellowship. Why do we eat? Because we are hungry? Sometimes. Out of habit? Often. Because we enjoy food? Yes. But we also eat to build a sense of community – note the popularity of “church suppers.” Families are strengthened when they gather around the table, say grace, and nourish one another with both bread and each other’s company. God is concerned, too, with our psychological and social needs; so, Jesus taught us to pray not “give me” but “give us” our daily bread. Let’s do lunch – with God and with one another. Dr. Faught is Pastor of The LaFollette United Methodist Church.