This painting hung on a wall in our dining room - or that of my grandparents, perhaps, before that - for as long as I can remember. It is, of course, an old man in prayer, saying grace over that which he has received and that which he treasures, the items of true sustenance, food and the written word. It is very Christian at its best, a beautiful visual portrayal of simplicity, humility and gratitude.
As children, we were taught The Lord's Prayer with its line, "Give us this day our daily bread." and I cannot count the number of times in my life I have repeated this prayer in private and in communion with others. This, I assume, is the source of the topic brought to the LBC today (yesterday, really, but among friends ...) by Padmini. It embodies a very interesting stance toward the world, saying that sustenance is not earned as capitalism portrays, but rather that it is a gift of the divine to be appreciated, a gift to be shared and multiplied in our caring one for another.
For those who cannot see their way past the fact that Christianity was incorporated here, it can be stated with some variation of meaning in a different context by Omar Khayyam in his Rubaiyat:
A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread--and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness--
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!
It is a good way to be.