Pulpit Reflections: Indulge in the bread of life

What thoughts come to mind when I say bread? There is the unmistakable smell of fresh baked bread. The aroma permeates the space and lingers. If it is in a home it draws you in. If it is in a store it is difficult to leave without a loaf in your cart.

There is a sound to bread —the crunch of the crust when you break off a piece of bread. Or there’s the sound of the knife cutting in to the warm crust of a loaf of bread. Or the welcome noise of crunchy toast in the morning.

Bread has so many different looks. 

They say you eat with your eyes first. If this is true, bread gives us dozens and dozens of options: brown bread, white bread, dark bread, sliced bread, round loaves, oval loaves, rolls, buns, muffins and baguettes. 

The feel of bread is so varied. There are breads with hard, crunchy outsides and soft spongy insides. 

But there are also breads that are dense and heavy. Some breads melt on your tongue as soon as they touch it and some are chewy and doughy. 

And last but certainly not least there is the taste of bread. 

How many types can you name? I thought of seven easily: rye, French, Italian, wheat, white, pumpernickel, sourdough. 

But then you also have to include all the fruit and vegetable breads; the breads so tasty many think of them as desserts: banana, lemon poppy seed, zucchini, rhubarb, strawberry, cherry and the list goes on. 

I have wonderful memories of eating a warm croissant in Paris, dark rye bread in Germany, stopping at a bakery in Spain for rolls and a deli next door for meat and cheese and picnicking in a beautiful square. 

There are childhood memories like coming home from school and smelling my mom’s fresh banana bread and seeing the butter melt in to the first hot slices. 

And remembering visiting my grandmother and the scent of fresh baked bread in the air. 

We are not the only ones with a memory of some sort of bread. 

The Israelite people, after escaping Egypt and wondering in the wilderness for 40 years, had manna. 

God provided it each morning for them to eat. 

We are told, “It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey” (Exodus 16:31). 

For Christians there is so much more meaning to bread. 

In John 6:35, Jesus says, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” 

Jesus is saying, I am the One capable of truly sustaining life. 

Bread is a basic of physical sustenance, but Jesus is the foundation of spiritual life—the bread of life. 

I can only imagine how good the bread will taste when we are invited into Jesus’ heavenly banquet—even better than grandma’s...and it never gets overdone. 

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