APC 1st November 2020 “Give us today our daily bread.”
Welcome and Introduction
Good morning everyone and welcome to our Sunday morning worship. Thank you for all your generous contributions to the Harvest Appeal. Today we will be thinking a little more about what it will mean for us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread.”
But first let’s take a moment to pause and to talk to our heavenly Father, let’s pray…
Almighty and everlasting God we are here to worship you.
Meet with us afresh this day.
We come to reflect on your greatness, your otherness, your righteousness and your holiness.
Meet with us afresh this day.
We come to praise you for your faithfulness, your goodness, your kindness and your forgiveness.
Meet with us afresh this day.
We come through the grace of Christ and in the power of your Holy Spirit, recognizing you as our God, our Father, our Creator.
Meet with us afresh this day.
We come to bring ourselves, all we are and do, to bring our loved ones, all they mean to us and others, to bring our fellowship, in all its variety and richness, to bring our world with all its joy and all its sorrow.
Meet with us afresh this day.
Almighty and everlasting God, we come to speak, to listen, to seek and to find.
Meet with us afresh this day, filling us with the knowledge of your presence, and so help us to walk each day in the light of your love through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Join me as we say the Lord’s Prayer thoughtfully and sincerely together…
Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name,
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day, our daily bread, And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us,
And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil,
For Thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory,
For ever and ever, AMEN.
Introduction to Kids Video
I do hope your children have been enjoying watching Douglas the puppet over the last couple of weeks teaching them a little about what it means to talk to God. This is the part of the service especially for them, although I know many of us as adults really enjoy it too. So if your kids aren’t beside you right now, why not pause the recording, and call them in to watch a puppet called Douglas explain how to pray…And at the end of this video I’ve a few words to say to the children so don’t let them rush away.
(END Part 1)
Kid’s Video Douglas Talks – ‘How to Pray’
Kid’s Talk Summary
Hey boys and girls. I hope you enjoyed listening to Douglas as much as I did. I hope you are learning lots about prayer. If you’ve anything you didn’t understand just ask your mum or dad to help you. They might even spend a little time talking to God with you. As you do that, don’t forget to practice all the different types of prayer. Praise God by telling Him you love Him. Say sorry to Him for things you know you’ve said or done wrong. Thank Him for the good things in your life. Don’t be afraid to ask Him for things you need or for other people. Oh and don’t forget to tell Him about the things that make you anxious. I’ve put a link to a colouring sheet on the church website about prayer for you. So if your mam or dad hasn’t printed it off yet now’s the time to gently ask them to pause this recording and go and print it for you. Hope you’ve enjoyed today. Don’t forget to tune in again next Sunday. Bye for now…
Colouring Sheet Link
http://www.supercoloring.com/coloring-pages/christianity-bible/lords-prayer (Sheet Number 3 - Give us today our daily bread)
Bible Reading Exodus 16: 1-21 Manna and Quail
16 The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. 2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”
4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. 5 On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”
6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of Egypt, 7 and in the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we, that you should grumble against us?” 8 Moses also said, “You will know that it was the Lord when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord.”
9 Then Moses told Aaron, “Say to the entire Israelite community, ‘Come before the Lord, for he has heard your grumbling.’”
10 While Aaron was speaking to the whole Israelite community, they looked toward the desert, and there was the glory of the Lord appearing in the cloud.
11 The Lord said to Moses, 12 “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’”
13 That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was.
Moses said to them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Everyone is to gather as much as they need. Take an omer[a] for each person you have in your tent.’”
17 The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. 18 And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed.
19 Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.”
20 However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.
21 Each morning everyone gathered as much as they needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away.
Reflection “Give us today our daily bread.”
This morning I’m going to use 4 questions to help us understand what Jesus means when he teaches us to pray to God, “Give us today our daily bread.”
The first question I want us to think about is-
When we pray “Give us today our daily bread” what are we asking God for?
I think that when Jesus said we should ask God to give us ‘bread’ he is saying that we should ask God to give us the things that we need to enjoy a happy and healthy life. In other words we shouldn’t ask God to give us luxuries, but we should ask God to give us the things we really need.
What are the things that we really need to be happy?
A very famous Roman Catholic Monk called Martin Luther once said that, “bread was a symbol for everything necessary for the preservation of this life like food, a healthy body, good weather, a home, a wife or husband or good friends, children, good government and peace.”
I think Martin Luther was right about this. The things we need to be really happy are food, health, a home, friends and family, fun things to do, fresh water, clothes, a job, an education and a good government and good systems of care in our community. These are basic things that everyone needs to be happy. These are the things we should pray about and ask God to provide for us. Despite all that has been horrible about this pandemic it has reminded us of what are greatest needs are and where our greatest source of joy and happiness lies.
The second question I want us to consider is-
When we pray “Give us today our daily bread” when are we asking God to provide the things we need for us?
In Ireland one of the phrases we often use is, “the day that’s in it.” It is a really good phrase because it reminds us to keep focused on today rather than thinking about yesterday or tomorrow. When I was younger and I was worried about something coming up in the future, maybe like an exam or a visit to the dentist, my mam or dad would say, “Don’t cross that bridge until you have to.” That was their way of saying to me, “Michael, that isn’t until next week or next month. You don’t need to worry about that just yet. When the time comes we can sit down and talk about how we are going to be ready for that. In the meantime, forget about it and enjoy yourself.” I think that when Jesus said we should ask God to give us bread “today” he is telling us something similar. I think he is reminding us that we should try and live “one day at a time” rather than worrying about the future. Again I think that’s something that can be really helpful in these difficult days. It’s tempting to keep looking into the future wondering when things will get better or to bemoan the days of freedom we enjoyed before the first lockdown. Both can increase our anxiety. Instead it can be more helpful just to focus on today and what we can do to make our lives and the lives of those we love as good as they can be today.
The third question I want us to contemplate is-
When we pray “Give us today our daily bread” who are we asking God to provide the necessities of life for?
When we pray this prayer we are not just praying for ourselves. When we pray give ‘us’ ‘our’ daily bread, we are asking God to provide everybody in the world with the things that they need to be happy each day. I wonder how often when we pray, do we only think of ourselves and forget about others. Turn to the people beside you and talk about this question, “How can we learn to be less selfish in our prayers and in how we live our lives?”
The last question I want you to reflect on is this-
When we pray “Give us today our daily bread” how does God normally answer that prayer?
You know very often when we pray, God asks us to be the answer to our own prayers. Now God can do whatever he wants even without our help. Sometimes God does provide things miraculously for people when there is no-one else around who can help. When the children of Israel were in the desert and they were complaining to their leaders Moses and Aaron about the lack of food, God very graciously provided for them. He miraculously caused a type of food called manna to grow on the ground and he also sent them flocks of tiny birds called quail that they could kill and eat. But this is not the normal way that God provides food or anything else for us. Unlike the Walt Disney kid’s movie, it’s not usual for meatballs to fall out of the sky for our dinner! Without God we would not have any food for He is the one who sends the sun and the rain to make the crops grow. But we still need farmers to plough and sow and spray and harvest so that we can have food. We still need to go out and get a job so that we can get money to buy food and clothes and a home and car and everything we need. We still need teachers to educate us and we still need to study hard so that we can pass our exams. We still need to eat well and exercise if we are going to stay healthy. We still need to be kind to others if we are going to have friends. We still need to work at our marriages if they are going to be a source of blessing to us and provide a haven for our children. We still need to be willing to pay our taxes and share with others if everyone in the world is going to have the necessities of life. We still need to be willing to get involved in church life and keep contributing if our church is going to continue to function effectively.
When we pray and ask God to provide for all the things we need in life we must never forget that God usually asks us to be a part of the answer to our own prayers.
Prayers for others
Lord you have taught us to pray “Give us today our daily bread.” So we ask that everybody in the world to have enough food each day and have access to fresh, clean water.
We pray that everybody in the world will have a home to live in and family, friends and people to love them.
We pray that everyone in the world will be able to read and write and learn new things and be able to live in safety and without fear.
We pray that everyone in the world will be able to have fun and be happy.
We pray that everyone in the world will be able to have a job and provide for themselves and their family.
We pray that everyone in the world will have access to doctors, nurses and medicine to help them when they are sick.
We pray that you will show us how we can be the answer to all these prayers.
Living God, at this time of global uncertainty, we pray for all who fear the future, all who despair of it and all who feel they have no future.
We think especially of the family and friends of the O’Sullivan and Banu families who tragically lost their lives in Cork and in Dublin this week. With them we ask that you will continue to bring comfort to all who mourn.
We pray for those living in the troubled places of our world like Nigeria – those who long for an end to conflict and a time of peace, but who in their hearts have given up hope.
We pray for those who face trauma and upheaval in their lives – what seemed secure swept from under them, what they had hoped for denied them, what they had trusted in proven false.
We pray for those who doubt their ability to cope with what life may bring – those overwhelmed by pressures, paralysed by fears, crushed by sorrows.
We pray for those faced with difficult decisions – circumstances beyond their control, unexpected dangers, awkward choices.
Living God reach out to all for whom the future seems uncertain or unwelcome and bring the assurance that even in the darkest moments, the greatest challenges, the most worrying times- you are there working out your purpose, able to bring light out of darkness, hope out of despair, joy our of sorrow and good out of evil.
Lord, give us the assurance of your promise to provide for our needs by giving us each day our daily bread and give us the confidence that there is nothing in heaven or in earth, in life or death, in the present or the future that is finally able to separate us from your love.
Take a moment now to pray for one or two people you know who need God’s help at this time….
All this we ask in the name of the one who cares for us and watches over us always, Jesus our good, good shepherd, Amen.
It’s been a joy and privilege to share with you again today. Thanks again for logging on. I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s reflection. Please do spend some time in quiet over the next couple of days and ask yourself, what will it mean for you to pray, “Give us today our daily bread?” and how might God answer?
Unfortunately with the new restrictions we are unable to meet for church services for the immediate future. So for the next while I’m planning to have online reflections on Sundays and on Wednesdays to keep us encouraged and in spiritually good shape. This Wednesday we will spend some time reflecting on one of the most important and most challenging parts of the Lord’s Prayer as we consider what will it mean to pray, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us?”
If you missed all the information about this year’s Shoe Box Appeals then please tune in to the service on Wednesday earlier this week. Don’t forget the deadline for the Babushka shoe boxes is the 10th of November.
As the days get shorter and the nights get longer and the challenges of Covid continue I’m conscious that this is a very difficult time for us all. If you are feeling particularly low, then please do reach out and let me know. I’ll be more than happy to meet and pray with you in a safe and socially distanced way.
And let’s keep a special eye out for each other whether that means just picking up the phones and seeing how someone is.
But for now, let me lead you in a Benediction after which I invite you as always, to say the grace together…
God of life, may the promise of the sunrise be echoed in our minds. May the warmth of the midday sun flow through our hearts. May the peace of the sunset touch our souls. When life seems dark teach us to remember that even them you are with us and that we will again see your light. And
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all now and for evermore, Amen.”
In case you missed the link to the colouring in pages - Page 3
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