“Loss is as daily as bread.”
—Robert Clark, In the Deep Midwinter
“We cannot make life safe nor God tame … what we can do is turn our faces to the light.”
—Barbara Brown Taylor, Home by Another Way
Give us this day our daily bread. When I pray for daily bread using the words of the Lord’s Prayer, I never actually expect to go hungry. I am usually thinking not of physical food, but of the kind of spiritual “bread” that sustains my soul and keeps me alive in hope. But there is another meaning, perhaps, that I am less likely to reach for. The bread we break during communion symbolizes the broken body of Christ. So when I pray, “Give me my daily bread,” I am also praying, “Give me the broken body of Christ. Give me my daily dose of loss. Give me closeness with all those who suffer.” I pray this not as some kind of masochistic ritual, but to remind me again of the great compassion of God, his presence with me in all of life, and my call to represent that broken body to a world in need.
And there is such need. I have lived and learned well the truth written above: Life is not safe and God is not tame. But I have also learned this: When any of us turn our faces away from deep darkness to the light, when we do whatever it takes to hold on to promises even in the face of unimaginable grief, when our unaccustomed eyes wince and squint in the bright of that light, we will not be disappointed. We may be surprised. We may be taught. We may be humbled. But we will not be disappointed. And for the daily-ness of that bread, I give thanks and praise to God.