Give us this day our daily bread.

The Albert Hay Malotte setting of “The Lord’s Prayer” is probably not one you would expect to fall under the theme of “State Fair.” 

It’s not from a fun musical or even based on a folk song with strong cultural roots.

It works, though, and we’ll tell you why.

Something unique is mentioned in the text of The Lord’s Prayer, which comes from the gospel books of Matthew and Luke.

Both passages, which were originally scribed in Greek, contain a word that is not used anywhere else in the Bible – or even in any other ancient Greek texts.  As such, the meaning to be derived from this odd word is not entirely clear but is certainly noteworthy.

The word in question? – “bread.”

The Greek word is ‘epiousios.

Specifically, this word seems to imply the concept most commonly translated to ‘daily in description of the bread being requested in the prayer.

Consider the list of possible translations –

“bread that doesn’t run out”
“bread in abundance”
“royal bread ration”
“bread for the future”
“bread we need”
“bread sufficient for the day”
The Hebrew language has a word for that last phrase – “bread sufficient for the day” – but Greek does not.
Maybe the authors were aiming for that understanding.
Maybe this was a reference to the daily provision of manna during the Israelites’ journey recounted (in the Hebrew language) in Exodus.

Maybe this unique word was a metaphor for the eucharist, the practice of communion, and a reference Jesus was making about himself as the bread of life.

There is no absolute explanation to be found for the word’s etymology, but we suggest this: something about this word renders a sense of daily provisionsufficiencyenough-ness.

It could be physical, or metaphorical, or both.

Ask God to give you what you need.
Trust that He will.
Don’t worry.

As we mentioned last week, the tradition of the agriculture-promoting State Fair developed “with the purpose of inspiring its people to work the land and create a flourishing self-sufficient society.”  

A strong community consists of people who can successfully steward and create the resources its people need.  One could say that a ‘flourishing self-sufficient society’ is full of breadwinners. 

These breadwinners use their abilities in concert with one another and the earth to grow plants, distribute resources, make food, and live healthy lives.

This is the security that people want – the assurance that they are guaranteed to receive their daily bread.

Our hope is that this reflection on this sacred text and song will bring you a reminder that we do, today, have enough.

Nathan Bird · The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, which art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors,
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever

While running the risk of seeming sacrilegious, we promised a score for each of our “State Fair” themed songs this month.  The sacred and spiritual song of this week is not exempt!

Agricultural Score 

Historically, the state fair concept is rooted in agriculture.  Agriculture is “the science and art of cultivating plants and livestock.”
In the name of some fair-style competition, we are giving each of the songs this month an agricultural rating, a score derived from the number of iterations in the lyrics that pertain to plants or animals.

Our process is highly scientific. Follow along closely.

AGRICULTURAL SCORE for “The Lord’s Prayer” = 35
earth” (this one is quite the all-encompassing reference, so I’m bumping its value up to 20, just because)
bread” (considering the significance of this word explored in this week’s article, I’m going to have to weight this occurrence as well. 15 points.)

We hope you enjoyed this fresh perspective and relief from the weights of the day.

We’d love to stay connected with you and continue the conversation about our songs via email.  Click below on the “Saturday Email” link to sign up.


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