April 15th

An older generation has been taught to value living independently – to live without resort to any external support, and it is good to be able to do that.

All that has now changed, and the over 70s are required to stay at home and depend on family and neighbours to do our shopping, deal with the post etc – the move from independence to a new and unwanted kind of dependency.

That has vividly underlined something that has always been true not just for the elderly but for everybody – our dependency on one another, on the NHS, on those who stock the shelves of our supermarkets, those who teach our children, those who keep the world connected in the travel industry, those who connect us electronically, those who keep our streets clean, those who keep us safe and operate the emergency services, and many others. All play an essential part in securing our welfare and well-being: we depend upon them all.

But this also reminds us of that deeper truth about our dependency upon God, something that we celebrate at harvest time when we sing about the farmer’s labour in ploughing and sewing seed – our work, but understanding that “all is fed and watered by God’s almighty hand”.

Daily bread is important – and it’s critical that we always focus on “our daily bread” not just “mine”, so when we say the Lord’s Prayer we are always praying about a world of need, daily bread for all. But tragically a world that often fails to recognise the extent of its need, as another harvest hymn reminds us: the God who gives us earthly bread also provides “bread eternal”.

John Briggs