“For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:10)
Every week, as we gather to worship, we greet one another around a table. Upon it are symbols of our faith. But it is the table itself that is our heart and our center. We are people of the Living Word of God made flesh – and it is Christ’s table. He welcomes all who come, regardless of their status, ability, who they are, even what they have done. All are welcome here, in this place, where God has drawn us.
Now, our God has been known to draw the children of God into some pretty strange places. The scriptures are full of countless stories of God leading us into places we are not really sure we want to go. One such place was the desert after the escape from Egypt. Once they had made it through the sea of Reeds, they continued their sandy trek for forty years. Perhaps God did take them on the long path – or maybe, they forgot to ask for directions and got stuck without a map? Either way, God did not leave the people there. When they grumbled and gripped, were persistent in their requests for their basic needs, God provided: water from the rock, guidance in the commandments, and everyone’s favorite, manna.
Manna means “what is it.” (Remember, that must be said with a true teenage contempt for it to come out correctly.) It was a soft flaky substance that almost resembled bread. But there was a trick to this providence. You could only gather as much as you needed for that one day. Any extra would rot (unless it was Saturday night, then you got a pass for Sunday). You could only have what you needed – but it would be provided for you.
When we consider our daily bread, for which we pray each time we utter the words to the Lord’s Prayer, on some level we should remember the manna. The prayer is for daily bread, not weekly bread. Not retirement bread. Not party-time bread. It is daily. Because there are many things in our life that require us to take them one day at a time.
If we are going to be about the work of God’s kingdom, today’s worry will be enough. That’s the thing about the walk of faith – it is called faith because we do not always know where the next step will lead. Even when we’re wandering through the desert or the darkest valley, God is a constant presence with us. And when we seek after Christ’s kingdom, not just to make ourselves happy and to sit around doing nothing, but if we truly serve as we have been called to do, when we work for it, God will always provide what we need.
There is a persistence to God’s kingdom. It comes in the places we do not expect, on the paths where God leads us, and draws us into a life of service that we cannot fully anticipate. And when we are given our daily bread, we have a choice of how we will proceed. Will we shut ourselves up in our houses? Or will we seek Christ’s path.
Jesus promises us that if we are about the work of the kingdom – truly asking questions, seeking transformation, knocking on the world’s doors – then God will provide what we need. And Jesus calls us out of our own lives and into one another’s that we might walk together, talk together, live together, break bread together. May we learn what it is to walk the prayer of “give us this day our daily bread.”