Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 2 (Summer 2016) - Page 8

LET THE FOOD FIGHT BEGIN! - Metzger par.; see also Luke 24:30) are translated by the Lord’s Prayer into a trustful prayer for God’s regular provision . . . The sequence of meals in the story of Jesus reaches its climax, of course, in the Last Supper. The bread there was — again in the context of prayer — given a special meaning, which echoes back throughout Jesus’ lifetime and on to the cross and his resurrection. To pray for bread (whether for “today,” as in Matthew, or for “day by day,” as in Luke), therefore, is once again to align oneself with one of the most central and practical symbols of Jesus’ kingdom work. Bread follows from and symbolizes the kingdom, both in the Lord’s Prayer and in Jesus’ own career.3 No doubt, the Gospel writers’s readers would have called to mind the Old Testament backdrop. Just as Moses looked to God to take care of their daily needs with manna from above, so Jesus is telling his disciples, “Look to God for manna from above.” Jesus himself will provide this food, as recorded in Matthew’s Gospel with the miraculous feeding of the five thousand. Jesus is the new Moses, and this is the new Exodus. Jesus recapitulates Israel’s history.4 May he also transform our present-day narrative. As we move about in the contemporary secular wasteland, where we don’t often look to God for our provision but to ourselves, we can so easily end up seizing rather than sharing. We can end up seizing and taking rather than giving. Prayer reframes our imaginations and practices. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus calls and reminds us to look to God to give us our daily provision and to share it with others. As we move beyond a fear of scarcity to abundance and an aspect of gratitude, there is a creative dynamic that develops; we long to share with one another based on confidence in God to provide for us. In addition to prayer and how it moves us beyond anxiety, table fellowship bound up with prayer is an act of warfare against isolation and exclusion. Mother Teresa once said, “We think sometimes that poverty is only being 3. This quotation from N. T. Wright can be found here: The article was originally published as “The Lord’s Prayer as a Paradigm of Christian Prayer,” in Into God’s Presence: Prayer in the New Testament, ed. R. L. Longenecker (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2001), 132–54. 4. For a discussion of this recapitulation theme as it pertains to Matthew’s Gospel, see Joel Kennedy, The Recapitulation of Israel: Use of Israel's History in Matthew 1:1-4:11 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008). See, for example, page 21. 5