This past Sunday’s reading at church was was “The Feeding of the Five Thousand,” and the liturgy created by my church community served as an invitation to experience the passage in new ways.
I think I often skim over it since it’s a story I’ve heard told since childhood, thinking only of a miracle of impressive numbers and paper loaves and fish (or perhaps felt, depending on your Sunday School era). However, yesterday’s liturgy expanded this passage for me, revealing that this snapshot of Jesus’ ministry isn’t necessarily about the “what,” as I had thought in childhood (Jesus proves he is the Son of God because of this miracle of multiplication), but instead the “who”—the character of the Divine.
Instead of just a magic trick, it’s a gesture of abundance, generosity, and enough (and then some). And it’s a testament to the gesture of the Divine toward us. Not like the prosperity gospel, though, where faithfulness is rewarded with a flashy car and a mansion. Instead, God shows generosity through nourishment (in the case of this passage, literally) and offers abundance through things that bring lasting life—body, mind, and soul.
As we transitioned to the time of Eucharist in last night’s service, we recited the Lord’s Prayer, as is common to the liturgy, but this time with additions to remind us to ask for—and rest in—the generosity and abundance of a life-giving God.
I’m in a season of discerning what brings me life and what weighs me down, and am also learning to rest in the abundance that surrounds me (much more difficult than I would have ever imagined), so the additions to this well-known prayer especially stood out to me. It’s my prayer for the week (or season) ahead, and I want to share it with you, too.*
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Mystery beyond knowing,
close to us as our breathing,
in humble awe we pray.
Your Kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
We pray for your vision of justice and mercy
to be made real in our world even now.
Give us today our daily bread.
We pray for your vision of enough;
enough sustenance, enough warmth,
enough healing for all of your children.
Forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
We pray for the grace to let go of that which is death-dealing
as we embrace your vision for life.
For the Kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours.
Now and forever.
Giving thanks for presence that defies definition
in this life and beyond. Amen.
*Note: These additions are from Liturgy Outside.
Which of these additions resonates with you most? How can you practice recognizing and receiving God’s generosity and resting in Divine abundance in the week ahead? Share your response to these questions or the post in the comments.