Give us this day our daily bread

Susan Neudorf’s teaching segment notes from the Gathering on Sunday September 18th, 2011:

“For to ask is not the part of those who have, but of those who are in need and cannot do without.” (St.Cyrill of Alexandria)

These wise words from St.Cyrill of Alexandria seem obvious, but helped me understand this week’s portion of the Lord’s Prayer. Since Jesus included “give us this day our daily bread” in his prayer template, it must mean that we all have needs, and that it is God’s role to provide them for us. But what needs do I have? I am grateful that I woke up today with all my basic needs covered. Does that mean this prayer is not for me?

My son helped put this prayer in perspective. As a caring parent, it is my role to provide for the needs of my children. When my son was a baby, he needed me to change his diapers and spoon rice cereal into his mouth. Now that he is navigating the turbulent waters of grade 1, he needs me to speak words of courage and peace to help get him through the day. His needs have changed, but my role as provider has not. As we travel through life, our needs will change from day to day, but we need to humbly lift our hands to God and ask him to provide for us. In the words of St.Augustine,

“No matter how rich a man is on earth, he is still God’s beggar.” (St.Augustine)