People often remark on the homemade bread we serve at both altar and supper table. One guest told me: “Your bread is substantial and satisfying. Through this retreat I’ve experienced Jesus as substantial and satisfying.”
Bread is ordinary, daily, necessary nourishment, and a key symbol in our salvation story. God provided ancient Israel with bread from heaven in the wilderness for forty years. Wandering in the desert, our parents asked: “What is it?” God said take a measure of this bread from heaven every morning. More will come tomorrow. Don’t hoard it. I will give you enough.[i]
A bit earlier in John, Jesus turned a few loaves and fish into a meal for thousands. Followed by a crowd, Jesus raised the question of how to feed them. The disciples said: “Six months wages would not buy enough bread.” Jesus said: “Make the people sit down. … Jesus gave thanks and distributed the food, … as much as they wanted.”[ii]
As in both these stories, we question how we will live and focus on seeming scarcity. God invites us to trust provision beyond what we imagine.
Teaching the crowd, Jesus said: “It was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.”
“Give us this bread always.”[iii]
“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life.’”
Jesus is more than manna in the wilderness, and more than a meal for 5,000 from a few loaves and fish. “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry.” Jesus offers himself as sustaining nourishment to be received and savored daily. Come to me.
What questions concern your heart? What weight or burden do you bear? What is your need?
Come to me, Jesus says. I am your provision. I am your answer. Trust me.
Eat this bread, substantial and satisfying, enough for today, and promised for tomorrow: Jesus, the bread of life.
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