True Bread

A theme for worship and preaching, July 29 through August 26, 2018 with Pastor Bernt

Open the newspaper and you’re forced to think big: there are changes going on in our world – everything from rising ocean levels to conflict between nations armed with nuclear weapons – and we’re called to respond as we can.  Add to that our personal crises and it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

Which is why we shouldn’t just think big, we should think small.  What gifts, what opportunities has God set before me, right here and now? What do I need to sustain me and keep me hopeful?  What wisdom, values, pathways do I need to hold on to?

When Israel found itself in the wilderness on the way to some unknown land, God rained down a flaky bread-like substance from heaven, “manna” which can just mean, “what is it?”  What is our true bread today?

By “bread” we don’t just mean the high-carb loaf from the bakery or the paycheck we bring home from work.  Think of bread as a symbol for all the everyday ways our Creator graciously provides what is needed for us and for others.   Some topics, themes:

  • Scripture from Exodus, Proverbs, John, Ephesians, the Psalms.
  • Bread is a primal technology (oven, mill, leavening).  How do these texts help us to think about technology?
  • Simple gifts such as bread in a wealthy place such as Palo Alto.
  • Not “my” but “our” daily bread – what place does sharing have in our lives as a way of sustaining us?

Luther on daily bread, from the Small Catechism:

Give us today our daily bread.

What is this?

In fact, God gives daily bread without our prayer, even to all evil people, but we ask in this prayer that God cause us to recognize what our daily bread is and to receive it with thanksgiving.

What then does “daily bread” mean?

Everything included in the necessities and nourishment for our bodies, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, farm, fields, livestock, money, property, an upright spouse, upright children, upright members of the household, upright and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, decency, honor, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.