Asking for it
Luke 11: 5-13 (NRSVA)
5 And he said to them, ‘Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.” 7 And he answers from within, “Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.” 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
9 ‘So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’
11:46pm. Phone rings.
A “Hi, I need three loaves of bread.”
B “It’s midnight.”
A “It’s quarter to.”
B “Look don’t be pedantic, it’s the person who answers a midnight call who gets to be pedantic. Why on earth do you need bread?”
A “Three loaves.”
B “Three? What? Why?”
A “I’ve got a friend coming.”
B “Why do you need three loaves?”
A “I haven’t got anything to give him.”
B “But why do you want three loaves?”
A “I’ve got to give him something.”
B “Look, I’m going back to sleep, call me tomorrow to apologise. NOT before 11 AM.”
A “But what if there’s an emergency?”
B “If there’s a real emergency you can call.”
A “Bye then.”
11:52pm. The phone rings.
B “What is it?”
A “It’s an emergency.”
A “I’ve got a friend coming and I need three loaves of bread…”
A “You said…”
B “That’s not an emergency.”
A “I don’t have anything to give him.”
B “Then don’t give him anything.”
A “That would be rude.”
B “You’re not in a position to lecture anyone on etiquette…”
B “Look I’m asleep, or I would be if you’d stop phoning. Everyone else is asleep. I’ve closed the storm door. I’m not waking everyone up to get you three loaves of bread.”
A “What should I do?”
B “Anything, tell your pal to come round in the morning. Or grow some wheat, grind it into flour, trap some wild yeast from the atmosphere and make your own bread.”
A “I haven’t got the time.”
B “Neither have I! Good night!”
11:53pm. The phone rings.
B “I swear if you’re about to ask me for three loaves of bread…”
A “I’m not.”
B “Okay, fine, what possible reason have you to call me at midnight?”
A “I wanted to ask you something.”
B “Uh huh.”
A “Could I have four loaves of bread…”
Banging, crashing, storm door opens.
Shouting, crying, laughing. Bread exchanges hands. C arrives. A, C, and B, sit down, a loaf each and one spare on the side. Nobody gets any more sleep.
The bread is good.
As one year ends
and another begins
we bring you our requests,
insistently and sometimes illogically
at all hours
confused but passionate,
throwing ourselves in to your arms.