Text: Luke 11:1-13
To be generous with the bread God gives you
To be ready to rise when someone knocks
For the church to answer those groping in darkness
IN ONE OF HIS MORE FAMOUS sermons, Dr. Martin Luther King said this about Jesus’ parable:
…millions of people do feel that the church provides an answer to the deep confusion that encompasses their lives. It is still the one familiar landmark where the weary traveler by midnight comes…The traveler asks for three loaves of bread. He wants the bread of faith. In a generation of so many colossal disappointments, men have lost faith in God, faith in man, and faith in the future. Many feel as did William Wilberforce, who in 1801 said, "I dare not marry—the future is so unsettled," or as did William Pitt, who in 1806 said, "There is scarcely anything round us but ruin and despair." In the midst of staggering disillusionment, many cry for the bread of faith…There is also a deep longing for the bread of hope. In the early years of [the 1900s] many people did not hunger for this bread. The days of the first telephones, automobiles, and airplanes gave them a radiant optimism, [but events of the past century have burned even optimism to ash]…in the inevitable moments when all seems hopeless, men know that without hope they cannot really live, and in agonizing desperation they cry for the bread of hope…And there is the deep longing for the bread of love. Everybody wishes to love and be loved. He who feels that he is not loved feels that he does not count. Much has happened in the modern world to make men feel that they do not belong. Living in a world which has become oppressively impersonal, many of us have come to feel that we are little more than numbers.
Of course, Dr. King declares that the church has a decision before it: will it remain in bed, content with the children that it has gathered safely, or will it risk opening the door and provide that true bread that only God gives?
His words do not need any help from me; I will only point out that the forces that he saw at work in the 1960s: people alienated and estranged from one another, rampant self-interested consumerism, collapse of hope for the future, a desire for power instead of a willingness to love—have only grown in the decades since.
But God continues to give the bread of life. In him we trust with our very selves; in him we have hope for the future; in him we walk in the light of love. And we are the Church.
Decide today to open the door.
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks