Pastor's Newsletter Article for March, 2012
In 1529, Dr. Martin Luther published a small teaching pamphlet, intended to help parents (fathers, really, in those days) teach the Christian faith to their children. He called it the “Small Catechism” (Catechism is a Greek word meaning “teaching”). It was primarily intended for use in the home, but has become the standard in the Lutheran Church for Catechism programs as well.
In the Small Catechism, Luther treats the core elements of our faith: baptism, communion, the 10 Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer… In each section of the Catechism, he offers his explanations as to what it means for Christian life.
For instance, regarding the fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer, he writes:
“What is this?” In, fact, God gives daily bread without our prayer, even to all evil people, but we ask in this prayer that God cause us to recognize what our daily bread is and to receive it with thanksgiving.
“What then does ‘daily bread’ mean?” Everything included in the necessities and nourishment for our bodies, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, farm, fields, livestock, money, property, an upright spouse, upright children, upright members of the household, upright and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, decency, honor, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.
As Luther well understood, God provides us with all we need for daily life. Nourishment, shelter, family, friends… all that surrounds us and sustains us comes as a gift from God. It is given to us in order that we might care for ourselves and our families, and in order that we might share from our abundance with the needs of the world that surround us.
We’ll be focusing on Daily Bread during the season of Lent this year. On Wednesday evenings, a video series from the Rocky Mountain Synod will shape our conversations, as we meet the leaders of five unique ministries in our synod — ministries through which God provides daily bread for people in need. Join us as we visit with the people of First Lutheran in Gypsum and Our Savior Lutheran in Alamogordo, Urban Servant Corps in Denver, Cristo Rey in El Paso, House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, and our synod’s two outdoor ministries: Rainbow Trail and Sky Ranch Lutheran Camps. We’ll see how God is working through them to be a source of daily bread for those who are touched by their ministries. And we’ll explore how God might work through Saint Peter to provide daily bread for those who are involved with us.
This is the life of thanksgiving to which we are called as Christians. It has to do with knowing how richly blessed we are. It has to do with trusting that day-by-day, God will provide what we need to be well. It has to do with realizing that we have far more than we need, and are able to use our blessing to be a blessing to others in need.
Give us this day our daily bread, dear God. And help us to share with those who are in need.
God’s peace to you all, David J. Risendal, Pastor