The Breaking of the Bread
by Sieger Koder
John 6:30-35 (NRSV)
So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ” Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” 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.”
What is manna? Is it a Hebrew pun on mah hu, or as Everett Fox suggests, “Whaddayacallit”: What is this stuff? Is manna mountains of sweet insect excrement, as proposed by some scholars, or the stuff of legend, of a tale told over the generations about how, in some mysterious way, God gives us life? The New Testament’s version of this question is “Who is he?” – and Christians have told one another, over the generations, that in some mysterious way he is the life that God gives. Our manna is Christ. – Gail Ramshaw, The Christian Century
Jesus is the divine light and life made visible, audible, touchable … and finally ingestible. To “see” him, to listen to his words and believe in him, and thus to feed upon him, is to begin to surrender the boundaries of one’s own consciousness and one’s own being. – Bruno Barnhart, The Good Wine: Reading John from the Center
When [Jesus] wanted fully to explain what his forthcoming death was all about, he didn’t give a theory. He didn’t even give them a set of scriptural texts. He gave them a meal. It was, undoubtedly, a Passover meal. But it was, undoubtedly, a Passover meal with a radical difference. . . . Instead of Passover pointing backward to the great sacrifice by which God has rescued his people from slavery in Egypt, this meal pointed forward to the great sacrifice by which God was to rescue his people from their ultimate slavery, from death itself and all that contributed to it. ~ N. T. Wright, Simply Jesus
John 6:48-51a (NRSV)
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever…”
Jesus said I AM the bread of life not I was or I will be but I AM and that I AMness of Jesus transcends time so that his I Amness is available to us in the present moment.
– Nadia Bolz Webber, Sermon on Eternal Life
The cross must be a choice, a free decision, or it is not the sign of Jesus’ love. The cross is an invitation; each person must say yes. No one becomes a disciple without saying yes to Jesus taking us, blessing us, breaking us open and passing us around.
– Edward J. Farrell, Gathering the Fragments
Bread of Life by Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Why nibble on the Bread of Life
when you can chow down?
Why only smell it, faintly,
when you can feast upon it,
every moment, every breath?
The Baker of the Universe
has made for you a special batch
of your favorite —
and it’s him!
All of his teaching, his healing, his love;
his passionate arms around you;
his insistent draw into the deep,
to the other side, into this crazy
trust and delight and brokenheartedness,
his terrifying stagger toward the cross,
his complete collapse into resurrection—
this is no time for moderation,
for politely picking at the crust.
Take the whole thing. Both hands.
Here, eat it slowly.
Close your eyes.
Let it fill you.
What use are right beliefs
This is the work of God,
that you savor the Bread
God has given you.
John 6:53-56 (NRSV)
So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.
We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy: Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen. -Thomas Cramner
For more sacred art by today’s featured painter, Father Sieger Köder, click here
For an original hymn text based on these passages, “Come Sup with God”, click here
For a reflection entitled Bread of Life, click here
For a worship resource entitled Seeking Christ the Bread of Life, click here
For a worship resouce entitled Claiming Sabbath and the Bread of Life, click here
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