Give us this day our daily bread.
The word Jesus used, that we now pray as “daily,” is a mystery word. In all of ancient Greek literature it is only used in Matthew’s and Luke’s accounts of that model prayer our Lord gave us. So we have nothing to compare it to.
It might mean bread for the day. It might mean bread for tomorrow. It might mean the bread we need to survive–the bread that is necessary. Or, if old Jerome is right, it might mean “super-substantial” bread.
This time of year we look around and things appear not quite. It’s not summer. Not much autumn. Not yet winter. The leaves are almost all off of the trees. The ground freezes, then thaws, then freezes again. It snows, but then doesn’t.
Indeed, bread is what seems most on our minds. But not quite. Yet much more. The harvest in this part of the world is late in being brought in. The machines labor almost around the clock to finish the process of gathering. But it is more than beans and corn that we gather. Try as we might we cannot set our calendars and clocks by it. We cannot take it for granted.
It is far more than beans and corn. It is our sustenance for today and hope for tomorrow. It is what we cannot live without, and yet the cleverest scientists and engineers in the world could not make one bean or one kernel of corn let alone a single embryo to replace us if we starve this day.
Unless you give us this day; and unless you, by your giving, unlock our gratitude, we will perish.