Gracias damos, Señor, por el pan, gracias damos, Señor, por el pan.
Por el pan espiritual que alimenta cada cual, también por el pan material.
That is one of at least two table prayers that we sing before meals in Venezuela. In it we thank the Lord first for spiritual bread, then for material bread.
For, as the Small Catechism teaches, our daily bread consists of all that we need to sustain our life on earth. We trust in God for these things, but we also remember the Lord’s words that man does not live by this bread alone, but by all that proceeds from the mouth of God, which is the Word of life (Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3).
With that in mind, over the summer break from school, our mission has hosted a series of bakery workshops led by Alba Rosa Bastidas, an instructor licensed by the Ministry of Education. About 25 women have attended, either members of our congregation or mothers of preschool children. Every session began with a Bible reading and prayer, followed by the preparation of baked goods.
Rather than bake at home, Venezuelans in the past have preferred to buy fresh bread and pastries from the local bakery/cafe called a panadería. With spiralling inflation, however, now it is more economical to buy wheat flour and make many loaves of bread at a time, rather than spend the same amount of money on just one loaf. So the kitchen in our preschool has been filled with the aroma of all sorts of bread, cookies, biscuits and, my personal favorite, cinnamon rolls!
|NASA images of fires in Bolivia,|
Brazil and Paraguay.
Deliver us from evil
We also pray in the Lord’s Prayer that the Lord would save us from all kinds of danger or peril in this world. Every Sunday we include in the prayer of the church specific peticions for those in our congregation and local community who are infirm and in need; for our national church and its pastor; for the nation of Venezuela and Venezuelans, especially family members, who are in exile; and for persecuted Christians throughout the world.
It is wonderful to have access to such information, for it helps the local congregation or mission feel part of a much larger, global community of Christians. Advances in communication technology have always helped drive Christian mission work. In the early centuries of the church, the replacement of heavy, cumbersome scrolls with the codex, or bound book, allowed copies of the Scriptures to easily be carried in journeys over the extensive system of paved roads built by the Romans. Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the moveable-type printing press in the mid-1400s allowed for the economical printing of Bibles and the rapid distribution of the works of Luther and other Reformers in the 16th Century.
The telegraph wire was the 19th Century’s version of the Internet. It allowed messages to be sent around the world in minutes rather than weeks or months. Along with steamships and railroads, the telegraph allowed for Christian missions within a truly global framework. In the 20th Century, radio and television broadcasts allowed the Lutheran Hour and other missionary organizations to transmit Gospel messages in support of church planting missionaries, and even inside countries where foreign-born missionaries were not allowed. So now we have the World Wide Web and communications satellites, and we live in more of a global village than ever before, perhaps much more than Marshall McLuhan envisioned when he coined the phrase in the 1960s.
Graciously defend us from fire and flood, war and pestilence, drought and tempest, want and hunger. Heavenly Father, preserve and protect all who travel by sea, land and air. We pray for those who speak for you in distant lands; and by every medium of communication. As we all are strangers and pilgrims on this earth, help us to prepare for the life to come, before the hour of judgment arrives. Amen.