Scripture: John 6:27-40
Key verse: (35) Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty”
Reflection: When I was growing up, my mother had something of a bread ministry. She wouldn’t have called it that, but that is what it was. In her kitchen, she nurtured sourdough starter so that she could bake several loaves a week to give away. She took the loaves to families with new babies and new diagnoses, to people who had just moved into the neighborhood, to those who were marking a difficult anniversary, and to friends just because she’d been thinking about them. The bread, which smelled divine and tasted even better, was a subtle, but tangible reminder that someone was thinking about them – that someone remembered them.
In the Bible, bread is a sign of God’s presence and provision. In the wilderness, far from home and with rumbling stomachs (and grumbling mouths, but that’s another matter), God sends manna – just enough for each day. In all four gospels, Jesus calls his disciples to share what little food is available to a crowd of thousands, and they are fed with leftovers to spare. And here in John, just after such a feeding miracle, Jesus tells his followers that he, himself, is the bread of life – the One who meets our hungering spirits with sustenance that brings us strength for a new day.
Perhaps in offering loaves of fresh bread, my mother was reminding people of just such a divine presence and provision. That, in all circumstances of life, Jesus offers himself to those who sense a hunger within that they cannot fill themselves. Followers of Jesus do this in all sorts of ways. You might not offer literal bread to someone, but maybe you offer a word of encouragement, an unhurried ear, a ride to the doctor, a gift of resources or expertise. To whom might you offer such grace to today?
Prayer: Make me creatively compassionate, O God, that I might share your life with others. Amen.
Author: Anna Dickson
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].