”Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35 NIV
Five weeks, in a row, of bread texts makes one hungry for all kinds of combinations of yeast and flour. The Gospel of John smells heavenly! While some pastors get bored with preaching on the how and why bread and Jesus are linked, I find these texts wonderfully rich and full of life. Bread! It is the stuff of life. I have never met a bread I have not liked. Then when you add the accouterments, such as meat, cheese, peanut butter, jam etc., it is simply lifegiving! Bread has all the senses covered, taste, feel, smell, the crunch of toast, and the deep satisfaction of memory. What fond memories are conjured up by the scent of baking bread. Mmmmmm bread!
The Psalms have the words “let God, in my mouth give praise.” or other sentiments closely related. What would life be like if we recognized that God is in our mouth. We would sing, give praise; would we be kinder and gentler? With God in my mouth, I need to be careful, chew slowly and thoroughly. This is what it means to know scripture as the living word. Not to simply read quickly but to linger over the meal, to take time to digest. Just like the food we eat is much more interesting and delicious when eaten slowly and deliberately, so too is the thoughtful reading of scripture and getting to know God. We have all heard scripture read quickly, fumbled over and done as a chore or an assignment in worship. What a difference it makes when we hear scripture that is read with forethought and intention, slow and with deliberation. Scripture becomes bread for our journey.
“I am the Bread of Life. Your ancestors ate the manna bread in the desert and died. But now here is Bread that truly comes down out of heaven. Anyone eating this Bread will not die, ever. I am the Bread—living Bread!—who came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this Bread will live—and forever! The Bread that I present to the world so that it can eat and live is myself, this flesh-and-blood self.” John 6:51, The Message
The Bread of Life is what we need to have strength and hope for our journey here in this kingdom. The Bread of Life brings joy and peace, forgiveness, and grace, mercy and love. These are the things that make life worth living. When we have the Bread of Life, we get to know Life Abundant. The best thing about this bread? It is offered to everyone, no one will leave hungry, there is no test before you get the bread, it is offered by the One who wants us to know life and love. Hope you have a great weekend! See you in church!