The Day's Refreshment

"The breaking of bread has a festive quality. In the midst of the working day given to us again and again, it is a reminder that God rested after God's work, and that the Sabbath is the meaning and the goal of the week with its toil. Our life is not only a great deal of trouble and hard work; it is also refreshment and joy in God's goodness. We labor, but God nourishes and sustains us. That is a reason to celebrate. People should not eat the bread of anxious toil (Ps. 127:2). Rather 'eat your bread with enjoyment' (Eccl 9:7), 'so I commend enjoyment, for there is nothing better of people under the sun than to eat, and drink, and enjoy themselves' (Eccl. 8:15). But of course, 'apart from him, who can eat or who can have enjoyment?' (Eccl. 2:25). It is said of the seventy elders of Israel who climbed Mount Sinai with Moses and Aaron that 'they beheld God, and they ate and drank' (Exodus 24:11). God will not tolerate the unfestive, joyless manner in which we eat our bread with sighs of groaning, with pompous, self-important busyness, or even with shame. Through the daily meal God is calling us to rejoice, to celebrate in the midst of our working day." (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from A Year With Dietrich Bonhoeffer, June 16th, page 182)