Bread is ordinary, daily, for most people necessary nourishment, and a key symbol of our salvation. Remember the unleavened bread of the Exodus. God delivered our ancestors from slavery in Egypt. Pushed out, they had to leave quickly, without time for their bread to rise or make other provisions. All they had was their daily dough, and they could not prepare it as they were accustomed. They had to leave “before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls wrapped up in their cloaks on their shoulders.”[i]
Remember manna in the wilderness. God provided ancient Israel with bread from heaven in the wilderness for forty years. 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.[ii]
Remember earlier in the Gospel of 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.”[iii]
In these stories, people naturally focus on loss, lack, and seeming scarcity. God invites trusting provision beyond what we see or imagine. Even when there is no time to prepare—including in a pandemic—we take what we have including kneading bowls on our shoulders, refrain from hoarding, and learn to bake bread without leaven, gather daily manna, and watch bread multiplied, finding grace in times of trial.
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.”
“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life.’”
Jesus is more than unleavened bread on the road, more than manna in the wilderness, and more than a meal for 5,000 from a few loaves and fish. Jesus is the living Word of God. Jesus offers himself as sustaining nourishment to be received and savored.
What is the road unfolding that you did not dream up nor feel unprepared for? What feels lacking and scarce? What weight or burden do you bear? For what must you adapt and learn to bake bread or to receive Jesus in new ways?
Jesus is with us here, in the change, disruption, and confusion, offering himself. Jesus says: I am your provision. Notice how you are being fed, how Jesus is sustaining you as God’s Word. As you eat where you are, on an often difficult road, Jesus is here and Jesus is enough for you. Amid loss and scarcity, trust divine provision.
[i] Exodus 12:34
[ii] Exodus 16
[iii] John 6:1-14
Please support the Brothers work.
The brothers of SSJE rely on the inspired kindness of friends to sustain our life and our work. We are grateful for the prayers and support provided to us.