Kirkepiscatoid

Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!


It's an oft-repeated line from a prayer so common, even people who haven't darkened a church door in decades know it...but it is possible it means more than "feed me every day?"

I got to playing with the literal Greek in this line:

"Tou artos hemon tou epiousion didou hemin to kath hemerau"

Literally, "The bread of us the daily give to us these in the day." Two of the words actually have some vagaries to them--Epiousion ("daily") and hemerau (in the day).

Let's start with epiousion. In secular Greek, this word is often used to describe the daily "soldier's rations." (Hence the picture of the MRE at the top of my blog post!) In particular, it described the soldier's rations given the night BEFORE the battle, for the NEXT day (since they would be busy fighting.)

So is it possible this line actually means, "Give us today, the bread we need tomorrow?" Is it a call to be well-provisioned for the battles we may fight in this world tomorrow?

Let's go a little further, and play with the word "hemerau." This is one of those words where it kind of depends on the context. "Hemerau" is used to mean, literally, daylight in one context--a context where evil things happen in the night, in darkness, and are exposed in the light of day. In another context, it means a 24 hour day. Still a third context uses the word as "all the days of our lives," or the last day of this age--which, in the context of the early church, would have been the day of Christ's return. WHOA!

That really expands the line, when you realize what we may be asking for in this line of the Lord's prayer, "Give us today the bread we need for the Day of Christ's Return."

Thinking about this made me all prayerfully poetic.

O God, provider of all things necessary for our lives--
You distribute our portion, whatever our portion is allotted to be.
It looks so big--so big, in fact, I'm not sure I can eat it all.
Why did you put so much on my plate?
But then you remind me that you didn't expect me to eat it all today.
Some of this is for tomorrow, some for the next day,
And some for the next day after that.
Some of it is meant to fortify me for the battles ahead in my life,
And some of it is not meant to be eaten
Until the two of us can share it face to face
In the glory of light perpetual.

It is my portion, Lord,
I will accept it in love and humility,
Grateful that you feed me not just for today,
But for many days ahead
And have provided me enough
That I can share freely
With those who might be hungry
Because they misplaced their portion.
May they do the same for me. Amen.

4 comments:

I will be printing this out for further prayer and reflection. I am grateful to have stopped here on this early Sunday morning.

wow. I loved that! Thanks.

nice.

Thanks all. I'm glad others enjoy my constant struggle between "the big picture" and "the little details!"

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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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