The Lord's Prayer

Chapter 7. Gathering Our Inheritance

Our Daily Bread | Meaning

Knowing that we can claim ownership of our inheritance in the living hour is one thing. But what are we supposed to do with that knowledge? The childhood keys of wonderment and immediacy help unlock the door to the kingdom of heaven, but they don’t have the power to usher us across the threshold. To cross into the kingdom and gather our inheritance, we have to move beyond the carefree world of the child and into the care-driven world of adults — to expand our concerns beyond the “me” to include the “us”.

We can begin by recognizing that although the spontaneity of the child and the adult are similar, they are not one and the same. Take for example the miracles that Jesus performs in the Gospels. If we can set aside the unanswerable question of whether or not these miracles actually occurred, we can begin to see the miracle stories as parables of spontaneity, ones which teach us that living in Christ means immediately responding to the needs of others. Whether it is healing the sick,1 walking on water,2 or turning water into wine,3 Jesus never hesitates but responds spontaneously and confidently to those who call out to him.

Spontaneous charity is taught also by the story of the Good Samaritan.4 In this well-known parable a man gets robbed and beaten while on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho. A priest and a local man pass by him as he lies half-dead on the road. Finally a stranger from Samaria stops, tends to his wounds, and takes him to an inn to recuperate, paying the man’s bills — all without giving his actions a second thought.

The genuine caring shown by the Good Samaritan sheds light on Jesus’s enigmatic teaching: “When you do acts of charity, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your charity may be secret; and your Father, who sees what is in secret, will recompense you.”5 By performing our acts of charity spontaneously like the Samaritan, we keep them secret from our egos (that part of us which wants to debate whether we have the time, money, or energy to respond to others in need), and we allow our Christ consciousness to rise (that part of us which recognizes that when others suffer we suffer too). Our charity is thus driven by nothing except a true generosity of spirit.

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The Lord’s Prayer & Daily Fellowship

Jesus encourages us to bring that same spirit to our acts of fellowship. The generosity of Christ is shown by welcoming all the members of our community to our table — the good and the bad, the funny and the dull, the smart and the annoying. Look at the way Jesus accepted twelve very flawed apostles as his intimates. That he took in Judas (knowing full well that he would betray him) and never gave up on the poor, clueless, and overzealous Peter should be a lesson to us all. Furthermore, we are told how Jesus regularly sat down to eat and drink with his neighbors,6 regardless of how “righteous” they might be or what other people thought — so much so that he was unfairly labeled a glutton and a wino.7

Never has Jesus’s gospel of fellowship and acceptance had more relevance than today. In our modern age, we find ourselves increasingly overwhelmed and under-inspired. How many times have we screened out friends, family, and colleagues because we just can’t “deal with them” right now — choosing instead virtual experiences as safe substitutes for drama in the real world. Computers and television are wonderful inventions, but they can never take the place of true fellowship. God created us to engage each other in real time and in flesh and blood — regardless of the arguments and aggravation that can sometimes ensue. The life of Jesus is a testament to that fact.

Jesus’s life also testifies to the fact that when we allow our immediate actions to be driven by the Holy Spirit many people aren’t too pleased — especially those in authority positions. In Jesus’s case, that meant being regularly attacked by the Pharisees and Sadducees. This shouldn’t be a surprise. Spontaneous action has always scared establishment leaders — be it the religious hierarchy of Jesus’s day, our modern clergy, or the secular institutions that drive our daily life.

Our leaders are fearful because spontaneity is a direct strike at the source of their power: their ability to control our behavior. This is why throughout history those who are driven by the immediacy of the Spirit of Truth8 are so often criticized and marginalized as idealistic, unreasonable, or just plain nuts; while the rest of the community gently is manipulated back into place by those folks who understand how the world works.

Jesus knew that his followers would face serious opposition, which is why he tells us that we can expect to be betrayed by parents, brothers, and friends; and hated by everyone for following the path of Christ.9 Yet we can take courage in Jesus’s promise that a true life can be won if we but endure.

We can also learn from his example. Jesus never withered when attacked by establishment figures, be it for breaking the Sabbath10 or befriending sinners. He always stayed true to his philosophy that wisdom is vindicated by her actions.11

Each one of us is called to become a vessel through which the Christ child vindicates the Father.12 And that vindication process requires that we be given bread. In Chapter 5, we mentioned that the bread eaten at the Last Supper (and which we take during communion) symbolizes the Holy Spirit at work in our daily lives. But when Jesus tells us in the Lord’s Prayer to pray: Give us this day our daily bread“¦ this does not mean that we are asking God to deliver us our portion of the Holy Spirit, for the spirit cannot be divvied up like pie.

What we are doing is gathering from the Father our shared inheritance of joys and sorrows, challenges and triumphs, blessings and losses, and making them our own. Because, just as yeast cannot become a rising agent without flour,13 we cannot rise in Christ and act “righteously” without genuine experiences to react to inside the living hour.

Read Chapter 8: Forgive Us Our Trespasses Meaning (Removing Our Hindrances)

  1. “Sir,” he said, “my servant is lying ill at my house with a stroke of paralysis, and is suffering terribly.” 7 “I will come and cure him,” answered Jesus. — Matthew 8:6—7 []
  2. When evening fell, the boat was out in the middle of the sea, and Jesus on the shore alone. 48 Seeing them laboring at the oars—for the wind was against them—about three hours after midnight Jesus came towards them, walking on the water, intending to join them. — Mark 6:47—48 []
  3. Jesus said to the servants: “Fill the water-jars with water;” 8 And, when they had filled them to the brim, he added: “Now take some out, and carry it to the master of the feast.” The servants did so. 9 And, when the master of the feast had tasted the water which had now become wine, not knowing where it had come from—although the servants who had taken out the water knew—10 He called the bridegroom and said to him: “Everyone puts good wine on the table first, and inferior wine afterwards, when his guests have drunk freely; but you have kept back the good wine till now!” John 2:6—10 []
  4. A man was once going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him of everything, and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. 31 As it chanced, a priest was going down by that road. He saw the man, but passed by on the opposite side. 32 A Levite, too, did the same; he came up to the spot, but, when he saw the man, passed by on the opposite side. 33 But a Samaritan, traveling that way, came upon the man, and, when he saw him, he was moved with compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, dressing them with oil and wine, and then put him on his own mule, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out four shillings and gave them to the inn-keeper. “Take care of him,’ he said, “and whatever more you may spend I will myself repay you on my way back.’ — Luke 10: 30—35 []
  5. Matthew 6:3—4 []
  6. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law found fault. “This man always welcomes sinners, and takes meals with them!” they complained. — Luke 15:2 []
  7. And now that the Son of Man has come, eating and drinking, they are saying: “Here is a glutton and a wino, a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners!’ Matthew 11:19 []
  8. I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you always—the Spirit of Truth. 17 The world cannot receive this Spirit, because it does not see him or recognize him, but you recognize him, because he is always with you, and is within you.” John 14:16—17 []
  9. You will be betrayed even by your parents, and brothers, and relations, and friends, and they will cause some of you to be put to death, 17 And you will be hated by everyone on account of my name. Luke 21:16—17 []
  10. Jesus walked through the corn-fields one Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and began to pick some ears of wheat and eat them. 2 But, when the Pharisees saw this, they said: “Look! your disciples are doing what it is not allowable to do on a Sabbath!” 3 “Have not you read,” replied Jesus, “what David did, when he and his companions were hungry. 4 How he went into the house of God, and how they ate the consecrated bread, though it was not allowable for him or his companions to eat, but only for the priests? 5 And have not you read in the law that, on the Sabbath, the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and yet are not guilty? 6 Here, however, I tell you, there is something greater than the temple! 7 And had you learned the meaning of the words: “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned those who are not guilty. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” Matthew 12:1—8 []
  11. “Here is a glutton and a wino, a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners!’ And yet wisdom is vindicated by her actions.” Matthew 11:19 []
  12. For now that John the Baptist has come, not eating bread or drinking wine, you are saying that he has a demon in him; 34 And now that the Son of Man has come, eating and drinking, you are saying: “Here is a glutton and a wine-drinker, a friend of tax-gatherers and outcasts.’ 35 And yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children.” Luke 7:33-35 []
  13. “The kingdom of heaven is like some yeast which a baker took and covered up in three pecks of flour, until the whole had risen.” Matthew 13:33 []

The Living Hour