"Give us today our daily bread." This petition from the Lord's Prayer can become so familiar we forget both for what we pray and what God promises. That changed dramatically as Lutherans from 145 member churches in 79 countries, representing more than 70 million Lutherans, gathered in Stuttgart, Germany, for the 11th Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation ("LWF addresses past with eyes on future").
This was a praying assembly with "Give Us Today Our Daily Bread" as our theme. Each day, one word of the petition was highlighted in worship and Bible study, evoking discussions in village groups, public hearings and plenary sessions.
Martin Luther writes in the Small Catechism: "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."
Joyful promise and thanksgiving marked daily worship as we gathered to receive God's gift of grace and forgiveness in Christ, the bread of life sent from heaven. I pray that every ELCA member might have this experience: a profound sense of unity that is God's gift to us in Christ, proclaimed and celebrated amid the rich diversity of languages and cultures, histories and songs, rhythms and rituals.
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© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers