Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hold the Talk, Pass the Bread

In the Lord's Prayer,
the first petition is for daily bread.
No one can worship God or love his neighbor
on an empty stomach.
-Woodrow Wilson, 28th American President

I woke up this morning with sort of a groan. January 20th. Man. I sighed, and at the same moment decided I'd pray up until swearing-in time... for my country, for its new president, for the mess we're all in.

As I started to talk to God, I decided I'd also fast until it was all official in Washington. It's the first time I've ever done that, fast and pray. Some Christians are big on fasting and praying. They think they're holy because they skip meals and blabber to God about things. It's almost as if they're trying to manipulate God... trying to back Him into a corner... and saying, "I'm starving myself down here, God, so You have to listen to me now." Please. The worst, in my opinion, are those who go out to lunch and spend the hour reminding everyone, loudly, that, No, I'll not be ordering because I'm fasting, but you heathens go ahead with your cheese fries.

Yeah, never got the whole fasting thing the way people do it now. What? Your prayers go to the first of the line just because you were hungry when you said them?

But today I thought I'd be one of those super Christians and decided I'd skip food and, every time I thought about how hungry and thirsty I was, I'd turn my thoughts instead to our country and talk to God about it. I'd ask God for His guidance and protection and patience as we seek Him and try to get things right. And I'll admit, I prayed more this morning, more earnestly and intensely, than I have in awhile.

That said, I get President Wilson. It is hard to function when you're hungry. It is hard to keep our minds on a holy God and help others in His name when you're hung up over food.

I'm reading a book this week called the Conspiracy of Kindness. Wow, this book has me hollering No way! Too cool! and highlighting half the book to send to friends. I'm loving every word. Talk about daily bread. Talk about food for thought. No wonder people are so hungry for Obama's "change" and "hope". No wonder some people see him as a savior as opposed to an elected official. Christians moan and groan but forget it's our fault. Christians have dropped the "hope" ball. We've flubbed the Good News of "change". We've shifted the church's message of "Yes we can" to "Maybe someone else will". We've let kindness and compassion fall to the wayside. We've become hearers, not doers. We should be ashamed. As a Christian, I'm ashamed.

So where do we start? I don't know about you, but I think I'm going to start with bread. There are some hungry people out there. Besides, Jesus was big on bread. He taught us to pray for it. He used it to feed people before He talked to them. And before anyone sees hope or change or anything else a politician promises, they need their empty stomachs addressed. We have to get back to basics. Whether we're talking government or faith, we have to get back to bread.

Hold the talk, pass the bread. That's all I'm saying. That and, where's the peanut butter? Everything's all official now in Washington....

(A note for those of you looking for a "God is still in control" post regarding today: sorry to disappoint. Jon didn't write one either, so I figure I'm off the hook. Oh. And before anyone asks, I made this bread from the MOST AMAZING BREAD BOOK EVER: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. It really does take five minutes, which to me says both "hope" and "change". Yea.)