For thousands of years, we have asked in the lord’s prayer, which jesus himself taught us: give us this day our daily bread. Daily bread is a synonym or symbol for many of our basic needs. Martin luther writes in his interpretation what he considers to be part of this:
Clothes and shoes, food and drink, house and farm, wife and child, fields, cattle and all good things; pious husbands and wives, pious overlords – and many other things.
Man, according to modern sociologists, is a "homo sociologicus", or a "homo societatis": that is, a human being designed for society. He cannot live without the company of other people. This applies biologically and philosophically. Man needs the milk of his mother, the grain of the farmer, the art of the craftsman. Because it cannot do everything itself, because it comes into the world unfinished – and remains unfinished. Without the knowledge and skills of others, he is not biologically viable.
But he is also mentally, psychologically dependent on others. An interesting but also cruel experiment was carried out by friedrich II. (1194-1250): he wanted to find out what kind of language children develop when they grow up without being addressed and affectionate, he was looking for the "original human language". Little is known about the exact course of the experiment. The result of his experiment, however, was devastating: all the children died! He wrote: "they could not live without the pawing and the happy face-cutting and the cosy words of their mothers"." And that, although they received daily bread, were suckled and diapered, physically lacked nothing.
We need the other human being to be able to live. We need it proverbially like the daily bread. Especially in carnival we realize: we need exchange, common projects, thinking, communication, humor.
When we ask god for daily bread in the lord’s prayer, we do so in gratitude that he has given us other people, that he has given us the life of others: people, animals, the environment, an atmosphere into which we are incorporated, of which we have already been and remain a part with our procreation. The fact that we ask for and receive daily bread is part of this basic respect for all (other) life. We can’t live without this other life. "God looked at everything he had made – and behold, it was very good!" (genesis 1).
Therefore, we should treat each other with honor and respect, because each of us is very good and each needs the other to live, like the daily bread.
Heinrich arnold is pastor of the evangelical-lutheran salvatorgemeinde untersiemau.
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