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Our daily bread

23 January 2013

Kenyan farmers holding crops

'We used to have all the good things of life, we had milk and meat, and we could make money from selling our livestock. But since my husband died, we have lost all our animals through drought and cattle rustling. We have no spare clothes, no shoes, nothing.

'My family relies on relief food - if it wasn’t delivered, we would sleep hungry. I tie a rope around my stomach, and then I drink hot water. That is how I cope with hunger. I am very grateful to all those who support us, I believe that God can do miracles and that things will get better.'

Ayapan, Kenya.

When we meditate, we focus entirely on the moment, the 'now'. Until we are very well-practised, this focus on the 'now' feels very difficult. We are used to thinking about what's happened in the past, and dreaming about the future.

Learning from the past and planning for the future are vital skills that enable us to solve problems and avoid repeating mistakes. But this useful ability can lead us to become easily distracted from what is happening now, today.

The Lord’s Prayer, in different translations, asks us to pray for 'today’s bread' or our 'daily bread'. What difference does it make to think about our 'bread' only for today?

In common with other strands of Jesus' thinking we are asked not to worry too much about tomorrow, what we are to eat or what clothes we will wear. When we read through chapter 12 of Luke's Gospel we understand that we are not to hoard up 'treasures' for the future - fearful and insecure - but to trust in God's love for us.

We read in the parable of the barns: 'But God said to him, "Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul; and this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?"' (Luke 12:20)

If we focus on trying to protect ourselves from our insecurities by hoarding and collecting, keeping things for ourselves, and not sharing with others, then we are forgetting our dependency on each other and our ultimate dependency on God. 'Can any of you, however much you worry, add a single cubit to your span of life?' (Luke 12:25)

Human beings are not made secure by 'stuff' or by money - we are made secure by loving and by being loved. This means loving God and loving our neighbour. How can we express this love today?

We know that there is enough food in the world for everyone, and yet not everyone has their 'daily bread'. It is a scandal that there are children, women and men in our world who never have enough to eat.

If we let go of our fears and focus our attention on this one challenge that we all face together, this can be the year we really make a difference to the world.

Let us pray that we will have the courage to dream big, and to act to make sure that we all, wherever we are, have our daily bread.

Linda Jones, Head of Theology Programme, CAFOD.


Jesus, Bread of Life

As your love has called us

As your love has held us

As your love has blessed us

Kathy Galloway, Christian Aid.


Watch a related video in which the Reverend Jacob Wandusim talks about the importance of sharing.


Find out more

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