"Toilet Paper, Terror and Bread"
Scripture quotes from Jesus:
“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:9-11)
We are now into year three of the pandemic, the effects of which will be upon this generation for our lifetime. From supply chain challenges to employment to depression, illness and death, the realities of life’s Covid-19 disruption surrounds us. Just yesterday we adjourned our third “pandemic era” Annual Conference which was conducted in a hybrid fashion with those of us in person “masked except when eating or drinking.” It was good to gather, yet an emptiness in community separated by pandemic, let alone the myriad of issues that impact us.
A couple months ago with a new Covid variant and the uncertainty it brings, once again many store shelves began emptying of many products including toilet paper, reminiscent of the pandemic’s beginning days filled with anxiety. I admit that I stocked up on some of that toilet paper again, like many others trying to control some small piece of life when so much seems out of control. Daily we are inundated with what is going wrong in the world: Uvalde, Ukraine, racial hatred, lack of tolerance for difference, disaffiliation, fear of an “economic hurricane,” random killing in the streets, terror… So, I buy toilet paper for what? Some imagined security?
Then I remember the words of Jesus in the prayer so familiar to us. He invites us to pray, “Give me/us today our daily bread.” The antidote to worry amid the uncertainty and even terrors of life is faith; trust that we are not alone, God is with us. “Do not worry,” says Jesus. “Cast all your anxieties upon God because God cares for you,” advises Peter.
This season of turmoil is calling me deeper into relationship with the God who has given me life, Christ who saves me, and the Holy Spirit who dwells within me. Yes, I will be prudent in life planning, involved in advocating for justice and serve as an instrument of reconciliation. But, my first priority must be to rest in God’s mercy and grace. Trust is not easy for me, but to think that my anxiety and attempts to control the world around me will solve the problems of the world looming around us is silly! So, I will wait upon God and pray for bread enough for each day; physical bread yes, but more so the spiritual sustenance that will sustain me and offer me hope and joy even in these times of terror. Join me in resting in the One who loves us!
Gracious God, new every morning are your mercies, great is your faithfulness. Remind us each day of your grace so that we might seek from you the bread that sustains and thus be filled with the joy that you provide and the peace that passes understanding even during these tumultuous days. Through Christ we pray. Amen.