Tuesday, August 13, 2013

This is your Daily Bread

"This is your daily bread.  This is your daily bread."  There is a voice in my head, and these are the words.

Daily bread.  Give us this day our daily bread.  As people of faith, we pray this prayer every day, perhaps several times in a day.  We ask God to provide us with what we need to sustain us today -- shelter, clothing, food, and water.

As a person of privilege, I have never passed a day without having adequate shelter, clothing, food or water.  I have always been given daily bread.  Sometimes I marvel at God's creativity in providing daily bread.  I have upon occasion found myself without food, through my own fault in forgetting my lunch or not planning properly.  I work in communities where the struggle for daily bread is real, yet, in these communities, I am always fed.  Someone shares a sandwich, a piece of fruit, or a tamale.  An invitation is extended to a community meal made from reclaimed food.  "This is your daily bread."

We had been walking for a couple of hours as a part of the August 6th pilgrimage through the streets of San Salvador in honor of the 27th anniversary of the consecration of the office of bishop in the Salvadoran Lutheran Church.  Among the between six and ten thousand Lutherans, we stuck out a little bit in our hot pink tie-dye shirts and holding our pink and white banner.  We marched with youth and adults from our sister church community. We were all super happy to be walking together, still basking in the pink glow of the big quinceañera party we had a few days earlier to celebrate our 15 years together as sister churches.

As we approached the end of our walk on calle 5 de noviembre a man approached us, holding out his hand.  He walked back and forth in front of the banner, slowing us down a bit.  He was thin, his blue dress pants bunched up under the belt that held them up.  In his outstretched hand was part of a thin vanilla creme wafer cookie.  It was partially crushed in his warm, smudged palm.  In his other hand he clutched a small stack of cookies - the rest of the package.  His face was sincere, and he walked unsteadily from one to another of us saying, "This is your daily bread."

A Salvadoran woman and I were walking arm in arm.  She watched carefully as the man went from person to person, "This is your daily bread."

Each person kindly said, "No, gracias."

As the man approached us, my friend looked at him warmly.  "No, it's yours," she said.  We could tell he had been drinking.  He looked at me.  I wasn't sure what to do, so I followed her lead, "God put this into your hand.  It's yours," I said to him.  Even as I said it, I thought maybe I should have taken the cookie wafer offered as daily bread.  Maybe this was a gift the man was trying to give me.  It looked a lot like a wafer for Holy Communion.  Then the man was gone.

"I thought maybe he was trying to sell it," someone said later.

"I don't think so," I said.  "I think he was sharing his daily bread."

I think I should have accepted it.



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