Sustainability as a care action for today, and future generations
“Give us this day (today) our daily bread” – Jesus, as he taught his disciples to pray, in Matthew 6:9–13 and Luke 11:2–4.
When we ask God to give us our daily bread, what do we mean?
Luther gives us some examples in his explanation in the Small Catechism:
Daily bread includes everything that has to do with the support and needs of the body, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, a devout husband or wife, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbours, and the like.
Jesus makes a promise about being the Bread of Life for us in John 6:32–35, after the story of the feeding of the 5000 which we read last month. Take some time to read this passage now, practising “Dwelling in the Word” if that is your habit and reflecting on what you hear the Holy Spirit say to you in this passage.
Did you know:
- There is enough food produced in the world to feed everyone.
- One third of all food produced is lost or wasted – around 1.3 billion tonnes of food – costing the global economy close to $940 billion each year.
- In Australia, we waste 7.6 million tonnes of food each year, 70% of this is perfectly edible. Food waste costs our economy $36.6 billion a year.
- Majority of food waste in Australia comes from our homes (2.5 million tonnes).
- Over five million people experience food insecurity each year, one quarter are children.
- Demand for food relief is higher than ever. OzHarvest has experienced a 46% increase in new charities needing food since March 2020.
- But the good news is, reducing food waste is the third most effective way to address climate change. (All facts taken from https://www.ozharvest.org/food-waste-facts/ )
That might make you a little bit overwhelmed and sad – depressed even – about the state of the world and our greed, wastefulness, and selfishness.
Take a moment now to pray. Bring before God all the concerns you have for the state of the world. Remember the promise God gives us in Philippians 4:6,7 (NIV):
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I hope that this time of prayer has helped you remember, all is not lost. There is HOPE! Jesus has overcome the grave (sin, death, and the devil), and Jesus promises to never leave us or forsake us. In fact, Jesus promises to usher in a new kingdom of forgiveness, abundance, and inclusivity.
Food for thought, and discussion:
- How can we see what we already have as more than enough?
- Brainstorm some simple ways you could have a go at the following practices – as a group or individually. Write down your ideas and commit to trying them out:
- Gratitude: being thankful for what we have;
- Sharing: what do we have that we can share with others?
- Mindfulness: considering the necessity (or usability) of an item before we spend money on it, consume it or dispose of it;
- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle: are there ways you can commit to improve your disposal of waste (learn more about recycling for example), or create less waste in the first place (buy in bulk, avoid purchases in plastic wrapping, reuse bags rather than accepting another one, refuse coffee in take away cups, or plastic straws when offered)?
- Advocate: can you speak up and out for people most effected by poverty, food waste and climate change? Who could you petition or where could you support advocacy efforts already in action?
Jesus not only promises to be the Bread of Life for us, but his death and resurrection ushers in a new spiritual era for the world: we are in a time of restoration and recreation! Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are God’s partners in the world, putting things right with grace and mercy, justice, and righteousness.
Read Isaiah 43:18,19
Read Revelation 21:1–6
We are not alone, and we can make a difference through the power of the Holy Spirit. As people in the world, with hearts wide open in gratitude for all that God has given us, and with our resourceful natures, innovative and creative spirits and nurturing heart for children and the poor, that all may be fed, let us go confidently in the direction of the next right thing God is inviting us into. Whatever small action you may have brainstormed today, may you know that God promises to give you today your daily bread, and God invites you to be daily bread for others too.
God, help us see everything we have as a gift from you. Thank you that your provision for us, and care of us, is not reliant on our own prayers or good deeds. Help us to take what we have in our hands, all these gifts from you, and use them for the restoration of the world.
Open our eyes to see what difference we can make in someone’s life today.
Open our ears to hear the cry of the hungry.
Open our mouths to speak with kind words and be a voice for the voiceless.
Use our hands to care for the world you have given to us. Let us be mindful in our consumption, sparing in our waste, and inventive in our use of resources.
May we see the call to sustainable living as a radical act of care for the world today, and the generations to come. Amen.