The gospel text for Sunday is Mark 1:21-28 which tells the story of Jesus’ first teaching and entry into public ministry in Galilee. In reading and listening to Jesus’ teaching encounter in the synagogue in Capernaum I find myself in amazement along those that first heard Christ preach and work. I am amazed at how the word Jesus speaks creates life within the chaos, the challenges of living, and/or the anxiety of the age.
The age we live in is not much different that those of those who have gone before us. We face similar struggles in our age of anxiety in providing “daily bread”. When I pause to reflect upon God’s gifts to us today, I find myself returning to the Lord’s Prayer particularly, the fourth petition. In the fourth petition we pray “Give us this day our daily bread.” What is meant by Daily Bread?
Growing up and being educated in the reformed tradition of Lutheranism I immediately go to Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. In explaining the fourth petition, Luther wrote:
Daily bread includes everything that has to do with the support and needs of the body, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, a devout husband or wife, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.
Similarly, we find in the Shorter Catechism of the Westminster Confession question 104:
What do we pray for in the fourth petition? Answer. In the fourth petition, which is, Give us this day our daily bread, we pray that of God’s free gift we may receive a competent portion of the good things of this life, and enjoy his blessing with them.
The connection between the catechetical instruction and Mark 1:21-28 for me is Jesus who is the Word, cleanses us with true instruction. When I read Scripture or reflect upon one of my favorite passages of Scripture, I find myself transformed, cleansed, and fed with “daily bread”. Take time to reflect upon the following: What takes place within your heart, mind, and soul when you read Scripture? How is your heart, mind, and soul changed when you read, listen to, or reflect upon your favorite passage of Scripture?