Rev. Dr. John Judson
July 29, 2018
Psalm 23; Luke 15:1-7
My parents loved Marty. He was my parents’ pastor for almost fifteen years and they loved his sermons. They liked the stands he took on issues of race and poverty. They appreciated him as a teacher. And Marty was not only important to my parents but he was the one who helped me to discern my call to ministry and he participated in my wedding service, helping to send Cindy and I on to continual wedded bliss…well most of the time. But there was something about Marty that was always a bit off putting. And that was this sense that whenever you were talking to him one on one, that you were not there. It was as if he was looking through you, or past you, to some far away distant land, or to some other deep theological thought. As if even when he would say “John it is great to see you,” he was speaking to a non-existent entity. Eventually I asked my parents if that was their experience of Marty as well, and they smiled and said, oh yes, it’s just the way he is.
Have any of you ever experienced that sense, that reality, that somehow you were right there, but you were invisible? Maybe it was at work when you did exceptionally well, but no one noticed your presence? Maybe it was in your family and you had other siblings who shined so brightly that you were just kind of forgotten? Maybe it was a store where everyone else got waited on and you were left wandering the isles. Maybe it was in a conversation…wait a second (pull out phone and look at it…then return to the congregation) oh where were we…when something like that happened? While these may seem to be trivial kinds of incidents, what they can do is trigger not only our frustration, but also a sense that we don’t really matter. That we aren’t important as human beings; that we have no value and no worth. After all, if we are invisible then why bother at all? If we are not valuable enough to be acknowledged, then surely that must say something about us. And my friends this is not new. This is as ancient as the story of Job where Job wonders about his own value and worth when it seems God is not listening.
If you have ever been invisible and wondered if someone cared for you and about you and your intrinsic worth, then this Psalm is for you. It is for you because it says that you matter deeply to God. You matter deeply to God because God is your shepherd and the shepherd cares about all his sheep, including you. Here’s why.
First, the shepherd cares for every sheep. One of the realities of being a shepherd was that every sheep mattered. At the most basic level every sheep was an asset. It was part and parcel of a shepherd’s inventory. To lose a sheep then was to diminish one’s inventory, an inventory that was difficult to replace. There were no Sheep Stores where one could go and buy new inventory. You had to wait for birthing season to come around again and hope for the best. In addition, many shepherds cared not just for their sheep, but also for the community’s sheep. Thus, whenever a sheep went missing, the shepherd had to go and find it, to account for it, so that they would not be accused of theft. Both of these ideas form the basis for Jesus’ story about the hundred sheep; that when one goes missing, the shepherd leaves the ninety-nine and goes in search of the one lost sheep and that when he brings it home, everyone celebrates. Everyone celebrates because every sheep matters. Every sheep matters to the shepherd and to the community. We are never invisible to God, because we each matter.
Second, the shepherd marks every sheep. I don’t know about you, but to me, one sheep looks like every other sheep. Sure, there are some sheep that are a little larger and others a little smaller, or some that are slightly different shades, but all in all they are just sheep. They are just wool covered quadrupeds. The question becomes then, how do shepherds tell their sheep from the sheep of other shepherds? How to shepherds settle disagreements over ownership. The answer is that every shepherd marks their own sheep. They do so with a distinctive mark on one ear of each of their sheep. This way if there is ever any doubt as to ownership, it is easily resolved. This mark of ownership is something that God has always done for God’s people. In the Old Testament it was circumcision. In the New Testament it was baptism. In these two acts God marked God’s people as God’s own. And by so doing God was saying that God cared so much for God’s people that God would never let them go. God would never give them to another shepherd. God would always be able to tell which were God’s own sheep so that God could care deeply for them.
Finally, the shepherd insures that the sheep lack nothing that they need. One of the interesting things about reading the Bible is that we are at the mercy of the translators. And in this opening of the 23rd Psalm, the first line is usually translated, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” That ending, I shall not want, has been taken by many to mean that whatever I want, God is supposed to provide. God is supposed to ensure that I am healthy, wealthy and wise. That I have flat abs and a full head of hair. That I never have any difficulty in my life. Whatever I want is whatever I ought to have. Yet, that is not what the original text says, or means. The Hebrew states that the shepherd insures that the sheep lack nothing that they need. They will not lack for water or food. They will not lack for care or protection. Which is, by the way, what is described in the rest of the Psalm. It describes what the shepherd provides that the sheep require. In a sense, what the Psalmist refers to here is what someone once described as Rolling Stones theology. You may not always get what you want, but you will always get what you need.
My friends, we live in a world that often seems indifferent to our existence. In which it is easy to be invisible. In which it is easy to wonder about our worth and value. What this Psalm tells us is that we matter. We matter to God so much that God has found us, marked us and provides for us. We matter so much to God that God became one of us in Jesus Christ to show that love. This understanding then offers us two challenges. The first is, as I have said before, to awaken everyday with the acknowledgement that we are not invisible people; that we belong to and have been marked by God. Second, it is to insure as best we can that those people with whom we interact, are not invisible to us; that by our fully acknowledging their presence and humanity, we become Christ to them, reminding them that they too are loved.
My challenge then is to ask yourselves, how am I living into the reality that I am loved by God in the way I treat myself and the way I treat others.
Rev. Dr. John Judson
July 22, 2018
Luke 2:1-14; Micah 5:2-5a
His was the kingdom, power and the glory. He was the savior for whom the people had been longing. He was the one who brought peace to the world. He was the king of kings and lord of lords. He was the one of god and perhaps even a god himself. He was Imperator Caesar Divi filius Augustus, or as we know him Caesar Augustus, the man who truly created the Roman Empire. Oh, who were you expecting me to say? That I was talking about Jesus? Not yet, but we will get to that. I am talking about Caesar Augustus, because without understanding his role in this story we cannot fully appreciate the end of the Lord’s Prayer. But to understand that, we need to turn to our story out of the Gospel of Luke.
For many of us, this Luke story belongs only at Christmas. When we read about a journey to Bethlehem, angels and the birth of a child we think about A Charlie Brown Christmas in which Linus retells this story. We think about children dressed as shepherds in bathrobes and head bands and sheep in fluffy costumes. It is a cute and comforting story. Yet, for those who first heard this story, it was neither of those things. This was a radically subversive story intended to shake the Roman Empire to its core. It was a direct challenge to Augustus and those who followed him, because the story made it clear that there was a new savior in town and he did not live in Rome. In fact, this savior was a Jewish infant born in a stable in Bethlehem. And so, when the early Christians began adding the phrase, for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, they were making both a political and a theological statement. For us then to pray the Lord’s Prayer with the intent of those who professed it in the early church, we need to understand those two parts of the story.
First, the political statement - I realize that in our highly charged, political climate, people may wonder if this is a Democratic or a Republican political statement. It is nether. Instead it is a statement concerning where one’s ultimate allegiance lay. By adding, “yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory,” the early church made clear that these three realities, kingdom, power and glory, belonged to the only true king, and that was God and God’s Son Jesus. These attributes did not belong to Augustus nor any of his successors. This meant that the primary allegiance of God’s people, of those who followed Jesus, was to God first and secular governments second. This belief is central to the entire Bible. We are taught that we are to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength. We are to proclaim that God is one and that we are to have no other gods, before this God. In other words, God is to be the one to whom we give our loyalty before anything and anyone else. I would argue that this is exactly why the early church added these words. They were a reminder to the early Christians that while they were to be good citizens of the Empire, that if it came to a choice between the Empire or Rome and the Kingdom of God in Christ, the latter always won.
Second, by adding, “yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever,” the early church made clear that those three realities, kingdom, power, and glory, had taken on new meanings; that they no longer meant what Rome thought they meant. And so what I want to do is to take a few minutes and unpack these, so that as we pray them, we will have a clearer understanding of what it is that we are saying.
For thine is the kingdom - The Kingdom for Augustus meant Rome was for Romans. While this may seem like a “duh” statement, in the Roman Empire only a small percentage of people were citizens. The vast majority of people were either slaves or barbarians who had few, if any, legal rights. And even among Roman citizens there was a strict hierarchical class system with little mobility between classes. Thus, all power and privilege was only for the few. The Kingdom of God in Jesus Christ was extraordinarily different. This kingdom was a radically inclusive community in which all persons were invited to participate on an equal basis. There was no discrimination. It was open to men and women, slave and free, Jew and Gentile, Roman and barbarian, rich and poor. There was no hierarchy or class system. All were to share not only their goods, but their spiritual gifts. This was a Spirit led community whose sole allegiance was given to God in and through Jesus of Nazareth.
For thine is the kingdom and the power - power for Augustus and Rome was military power. It was legions of soldiers. It was violent invasion and conquest. It was crucifixion. It was the foundation of what brought them to power and kept them in power. The power of the God in Christ, was the exact opposite. It was peace. It was the power of Shalom. Shalom, the Hebrew word for peace, does not simply mean a lack of violence. It means the wellness and wholeness of individuals and communities. Shalom was the power of God that made it possible for the church to be the inclusive community that God desired it to be. Shalom healed broken relationships. Shalom allowed for forgiveness and reconciliation. Shalom allowed people to resist the temptations of the world. Shalom was a gift of God in and through faith in Jesus Christ which was given by the Spirit. Shalom was an attribute, according to Micah, of the coming messiah, and as such provided the power to transform the world from one of hate and violence into one of love and grace.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever. Glory for Augustus meant the undying adulation of the people. It meant parades of slaves taken in his conquests. It meant statues and Temples being built in his honor. It meant having everything in the Empire focused on him. Glory for the early church was the opposite. Glory was the love, grace and presence of God focused on the world. The glory of God was God’s presence that traveled with the people throughout history; watching over and protecting them. The glory of Jesus was his willingness to give himself for the life of the world. In the letter to the church in Philippi, Paul speaks for Jesus not counting ‘equality with God’ something to be desperately grasped, but that instead he gave it up to become one of us, a human being, who was willing to die on the cross. This is the glory that is God’s. It is self-giving, that becomes a model for self-giving in the church. And it is this self-giving that makes possible, shalom, that makes possible the inclusive nature of God’s kingdom.
The Lord’s prayer has been part of my life as long as I can remember. I prayed it in church. I prayed it with my parents at bedtime. I have prayed it as an adult. Yet, until this study, I had not spent much energy or effort to explore its deeper meaning. What I have come to realize is just how revolutionary this prayer is. It is revolutionary because we are giving our primary allegiance to God and to no others; Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. We are praying for the inbreaking of God’s radically inclusive community; Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We are praying for God’s shalom, God’s peace that binds all people together. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. We are praying for God’s protective and guiding presence so we might continue to the shalom community God desires us to be. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
My challenge to you then is this, as you pray this prayer, ask yourself how am I not only seeing this as a revolutionary prayer, but how is my life reflecting this revolution in how I live, love and share my life in Christ with the world.
Rev. Joanne Blair
July 15, 2018
As we near the end of this sermon series on the Lord’s Prayer, I encourage you to reread or listen again to each of the previous sermons, for this prayer is not only our moral code, it is effectively the gospel in prayer form. It highlights two themes that are on Jesus’ mind throughout his ministry: how to love God more fully and others more deeply.
The first 3 petitions in the prayer are requests for the Father’s glory, and the other 4 petitions are requests for the disciples’ (and our) needs. Today we focus on the 6th and 7th petitions: “And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.”
“Temptation, Time of trial” … why these different presentations? If, as it says in the book of James 1:13, “… God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one”, then why do we use the word temptation in our Lord’s Prayer? First of all, the Greek word used can refer to temptations to sin, or it can refer to the trials and testing of faith and obedience. Secondly, there is an eschatological (or end times) testing through which we all must pass, and the petition is that God will not let us fail in this testing.
But this morning I want to focus on: “What does this mean for us right now, here today?” And we can sum it up like this: this is a request for protection… and a plea to save us from ourselves. Jesus is teaching us to pray that we may be protected when we find ourselves faced with situations and enticements that would drag us away from loyalty to him. Protection from that which would separate us from God. God may not tempt us, but God does allow us to be tempted. And God allows us to be tested.
And testing, while seldom pleasant, can be a good thing.
Steel and aluminum undergo strenuous testing before they are used to make cars and airplanes. Would you really want to drive or fly in a machine that hadn’t been tested for strength? Testing in school is sadly used and abused these days, but the real intent is to see what students have learned and what they are prepared to handle in the future.
And without our being tested along the way, how can we know if our faith stands up? After all, it’s easy to have faith in God’s goodness when things are going well.
When I was a chaplain at Children’s Hospital in Detroit, I saw a lot of sadness and tragedy. [Some of it caused by other humans.] Never for a moment did I believe that what I saw was caused or planned by God. But I did see God’s presence, and I saw how God would use a heartbreaking situation for good… if we but open ourselves to it. Those parents were surely tested and tempted in a myriad of ways by their situations.
But those with strong faith were able to glimpse beyond their own circumstances and trust that God’s ultimate goodness and love and faithfulness were even greater than their individual circumstances and their personal pain. They stood strong in their faith and held on to God, resisting the temptation to be drawn away.
Evil is not just about doing “bad things” … it is about being drawn away from God. Evil is real. It does exist and it is powerful. Evil is out in the world and it is within each of us. When we worship anything other than God, we give power to the forces of malevolence… and we call that Satan, or the Devil, or the Adversary, or the Evil One.
We do have choices. Those of us who are old enough to remember Flip Wilson’s comedy show will remember his famous character, Geraldine Jones. One of her most famous lines was, “The devil made me do it!” And while we laughed and often repeated this line in jest … we know in our hearts that we are responsible for the decisions we make and the things we do. And it brings to light that while God may not tempt us, there are surely many temptations in this life. Worldly forces tempt us every day… and they are different for each one of us. If anyone understands this, it is Jesus. Jesus teaches us to pray as someone who has come to the breaking point and knows the temptations we face.
This prayer, this powerful prayer, asks for protection from the temptations that will come before us, and the trials we must go through. We are praying to be relieved from the great tribulation that will one day come on all the world. We are praying that no temptation will be too great for us. We are praying to pass that which tests our faith, and to be led into deeper relationship with God. We are praying with and for ourselves and each other. We are praying to be “God-centered” and not “self-centered.”
How do we do this? We train. Soldiers train every day, and may never see battle. Athletes train every day, and may never play in a game. But they are as ready as they can be. We, too, need to train every day. For at some time or another we will see battle and we will be put in the game.
How do we do that? Through trust and obedience. Through remembering that although evil is real and powerful, so is Jesus’ victory over the power of evil. By realizing that Jesus is here for us… and with us.
By following Jesus, we can resist temptation and pass those trials that are set before us, and be delivered from evil.
This part of the Lord’s Prayer asks for protection against the forces which try to separate us from God. But within it is also a prayer for transformation … and our motivation ought to be obedience.
Our faith is strengthened not just by studying the Bible, or listening to sermons… it is strengthened by the trials we experience, and by the lives of others in whom we see God at work. Through our relationships, we can help each other keep God as the main focus and authority… and by example, demonstrate the love and the goodness of God. Through our relationships we remember that although we may have our individual trials, we are in this together.
And so the challenge this week is to ask ourselves:
How am I training now to face the unknown trials that will come?
And how does my faith-life help others in their times of trial?
Let us pray…
Rev. Dr. John Judson
July 8, 2018
Luke 15:11-24; Matthew 6:9-13
They came before our committee one by one. Each one telling their story of the abuse or sexual harassment they had suffered at the hands of a minister, an elder or a church member. And these people were not from another denomination, but they were all Presbyterians, describing the acts of other Presbyterians. They came before our committee at General Assembly because they believed that the denomination had let them and others down. They came because our committee had overtures before us that were intended to strengthen our processes for reporting and dealing with those who abuse others. And as they came it began to dawn on me that I hadn’t really understood forgiveness. I didn’t understand because I had confused forgiveness and reconciliation. I had assumed that they were the same, but they were not. So, as we explore this part of the prayer this morning, “forgive us our debts as we have forgiven the debts of others,” I want to define reconciliation, forgiveness and then how they work together. But first some background.
When God created, God created human beings that were capable of living in right relationship with God and with one another. When any of those relationships were broken by abuse, violence or any other action, God desired that those relationships be restored; that they be healed. This process of healing was called reconciliation. Forgiveness, on the other hand, is no more and no less than an openness to be willing to reconcile. That’s it. Forgiveness is no more and no less than an openness to be willing to reconcile. It is not feeling good about someone who hurt us. It is not letting an unrepentant abuser back into our lives. It is not about making excuses for someone who causes us pain. It is simply an openness to be willing to reconcile. With those two definitions in mind, I want to spend a few minutes talking about how reconciliation happens so that forgiveness can fully operate.
The first step in reconciliation is repentance. Repentance means that the one who broke the relationship through violence, anger or any other action, must acknowledge their complicity and work to change themselves so that they do not do it again. It is not simply saying, I’m sorry. It is doing the hard work of being different. It is a literal turning from acting in one way, that of harm, to acting in another way, that of love and grace. And this is a difficult thing for most of us to do. It is difficult because we must acknowledge our guilt. Rather than doing this, what we want to do is blame the victim. It was their fault. They tempted me. They looked at me wrong. What this blaming does is break the relationship even more. Only by being like the younger son in the Luke 15 story and acknowledging our failings, can reconciliation begin to be accomplished. Only by saying, “Father I have sinned against you and heaven, and I do not deserve anything from you,” and then working to be different, can reconciliation be possible.
The second step in reconciliation is accountability. This is perhaps the most difficult step in the reconciliation process because those who do harm must not only acknowledge that they are at fault, repent, but they should suffer the consequences of those actions. What those who came before our committee made clear to us, was that those who abused them, if they had been willing to repent, wanted to walk away from the consequences. Ministers, elders or even members who victimized others would try and go to another church or perhaps leave the ministry so no one would force them to face their victims and accept the discipline of the church or perhaps even the legal system. Though I know that this sounds judgmental, that they need to accept the consequences of their actions, but what we need to remember is that, though God is a God of mercy, God is also a God of justice. God demands that those who break relationships through harming others, suffer the consequences of their actions so those who are harmed will know that God is with them; that they, the victims, matter to God. For if there is no justice then it says that the pain and hurt of the victims does not matter. Again, returning to our story, we see how this works. When the father goes outside to the older son, he reminds the son that everything that the father has is his. In other words, the consequences of the younger son’s having taken his share of the inheritance is that there is no more for him. The younger son is held accountable.
The third step in reconciliation is healing. This third step requires the victimizer to give the victim time to heal. You and I live in a society in which we expect everything to happen immediately. Often, we expect the same thing of forgiveness. We say things like, haven’t you forgiven them already. God wants you to forgive so you need to do it now. God won’t forgive you unless you forgive, hurry up. When we say those things, what we often mean is, why haven’t you been reconciled? Why haven’t you patched things up? What this does is that it weaponizes forgiveness. We have made it a weapon to force reconciliation before the person is ready; before the abuser has repented or taken accountability, before the victim has had time to heal from the pains inflicted upon them. For you see that pain is inflicted not simply by physical means, but by words and deeds at home, at the office, on the internet or to others around us. To be reconciled requires time to heal. Again, we see this in the story when the father goes to the elder son who is not ready to reconcile with his younger brother, leaves him the time and space to do so. Nothing is forced. Nothing is required. The father lets the son heal.
Several years ago, I told you about my friend Suzanne in San Antonio. She had grown up on a farm south of the city. When her parents died they left the farm, the farm house and all the contents and equipment to the eldest brother. Suzanne was not upset about that because all she wanted was a picture of her and her mother, that her mother had promised her. After the memorial service she asked her brother about it. He told her not only could she not have the picture, but if she set foot on his property he would have her arrested. Their relationship was broken. Years later after hearing one of my sermons on forgiving seventy times seven. She decided to look up her brother and try and mend the relationship. Once again, he threatened to have her arrested. Then, about three years ago, their only other sibling died. At the memorial service she realized that her brother was there and coming toward her. He said, “Suzanne I am sorry for the way I have treated you. I ask your forgiveness. Can you come by the house and visit?” Her answer was yes. At that moment, Suzanne had a choice. She could treat her brother like she had been treated, or she could forgive. She could be open to reconciliation. She chose the latter, and ultimately because she forgave, and her brother did the work; they were reconciled.
The challenge for us is to do the same. If we have been hurt, the challenge is to forgive, to be open to the possibility of reconciliation. If we have harmed someone else, the challenge is to do the hard work of reconciliation, hoping the other will forgive. Here then is my challenge for the week, how am I being open to reconciliation with those around me, that I may play my part in the process of reconciliation?
Rev. Dr. John Judson
July 1, 2018
Exodus 16:1-8; Matthew 6:9-13
What in the world does this part of the prayer have to do with us? While the other parts of the prayer appear to have some direct connection to us, this one seems a bit irrelevant to our daily lives. How so? Well, I hope to show why with one of my famous Sunday morning surveys. So here goes. How many of you have a refrigerator? How many of you have food in it? How many of you have a freezer of some kind? How many of you have food in it? How many of you have a pantry? How many of you have food in it? How many of you know where the closest grocery store is? How many of you have been there in the last week or so? How many of you have been out to dinner, or ordered in, in the last two weeks? My point of all this is that for the vast majority of us here this morning, we have “bread” and enough to spare. We don’t have to worry about our next meal. So why then ought we to include this part of the prayer when we pray each Sunday? The answer can be found in an Old Testament story, a New Testament story and a couple of pronouns. So here we go.
First, we have the Old Testament story. Jesus was teaching to Jews who knew their history and the stories of the ancestors. One of those stories was of the great Exodus, which undergirds much of this prayer. In the Exodus story, after the people have left Egypt and entered the wilderness, they ran out of food and began to complain. They whined that Moses has led them into the wilderness to starve to death. They whined that it would have been better for them to have remained in Egypt as slaves, because at least there was something to eat. To deal with this situation, Moses prays to God, and God decides to give the people food, in the form of manna, a bread like flower. The catch however, was that there would only be enough given for one day at a time, except on the day before the Sabbath when there would be enough for two days so that the people did not have to work in gathering it. And if people tried to store it, or save it, the manna would go bad. Therefore, they were given their, wait for it, daily bread. Thus, when Jesus teaches the people to pray, give us this day our daily bread, he is drawing upon a mighty act of God in which God feeds the people. Thus, the prayer is rooted in a trust of God that God can and will feed.
Second is the Jesus’ story. This is the story of the feeding of the 5,000, the only story which is in all four gospels. In this story Jesus has been teaching the people, just as Moses taught the people. The people are in a place where there is not food, just like in the Moses’ story. This time however, there is no manna that suddenly appears. Instead Jesus asks the disciples if they have any food. They have seven loaves and few fish; hardly enough to feed themselves, much less a large crowd. Jesus, however, declares that the supplies are adequate. They give him the bread and fish, he blesses them and those few provisions provide enough so that not only are all fed, but there are leftovers. It is the disciples who provide the daily bread. It is the disciples who are God’s agents of fulfilling the prayer, give us this day our daily bread. And this leads us to our pronouns.
The two pronouns are “us” and “our”. Note that Jesus does not teach people to pray, give me this day my daily bread. Jesus teaches the people to pray give us this day our daily bread. This is a community prayer. It is a prayer that reaches back into the depth of the Law of Moses and reminds people that God called together a community and not a bunch of independent, self-actualized, followers; and that God uses the community to be the agents of delivery for daily bread. He is teaching the crowd to care for, and share with, one another. What this means for us is that we are the “us” and the “our.” We are the disciples. We are part of the community that God has created that prays the prayer together and not apart. We are those who hold the seven loaves and a few fish. We are those who are to share and trust that God is going to multiply this food.
This understanding becomes even more clear when you look at the order of the prayer. Just prior to this request, we are called upon to pray that God’s kingdom comes, the kingdom in which all will have enough, and that God’s will, will be done; God’s will that all is shared and no one goes without. Only after those two requests do we come to the plural pronouns of our daily bread. For us then we need to place this prayer into the context of our modern world, which in some ways mirrors that of Jesus’ day. We live in a world in which there are millions of people here in the United States and around the world who do not have daily bread; who do not know where their next meal is coming from. We live in a nation and world in which many are being left behind and are not given the tools or the opportunity to earn their daily bread. What this part of the prayer is calling us to do is to see all those people as “us” and that we are praying that God will use us to ensure that all of us have enough.
The gift of God to most of us, most of us who have enough in our fridges, freezers and pantries is that we have enough to help give us our daily bread. We have enough to loan to deserving families and communities through KIVA.org, where our money is repaid and then re-loaned. We have enough to purchase animals through the Heifer project to help families produce their own daily bread. We have enough to help with Shop and Drop to ensure that families in Pontiac have their daily bread. We have enough to buy extra at the grocery store and drop it here at the church so people around the city have their daily bread. We have enough time to go to Forgotten Harvest and pack food so people will have their daily bread.
My challenge to you then is this. As you come to the table and are fed by God, ask yourself how you might fulfill this portion of the prayer, by helping to give others their daily bread.