It is with no small measure of pride that I report to you that I have successfully avoided being “one of those people” rushing to the grocery store each of the last two weeks. However, candor compels me to admit that this is more a matter of raw good luck than significant advance planning. We happened to grocery shop each week a few days before the weather turned bad. So, we were well stocked and had no need to rush out.
Some of you, perhaps, stood in line for bread and milk. Don’t you find it interesting that those are what disappear first – bread and milk? If it were me, it would be potato chips, popcorn, and soda (yes, soda). But our first instinct is to grab bread and milk.
There is something about bread that is universal and for which we will stand in line. Even some of my friends who have gone gluten free confess to missing bread. Bread somehow represents life and sustenance. More, though, it represents fellowship and table talk. We speak of “breaking bread together,” not “masticating meat” or “vivisecting vegetables.” Shared bread is the symbol of life and community.
The children of Israel got that. As they wandered in the wilderness, freed at last from Egypt but not yet home, they complained to Moses of lack of bread. Without bread, the community began to break itself apart. There was no fellowship.
Jesus understood that truth, too. He feeds a multitude by the Sea of Galilee with a little bread and less fish. And the crowd asks for more. Jesus (surprise, surprise) sees this as a teaching opportunity. “You want bread?” he asks. “I’ll give you bread.” And then he tells them “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry…” He offers us a satisfaction that nothing else can fill.
This Sunday, as we gather around the Word, we will hear John 6:26-40 and think together about what it means when Jesus says “I AM…the Bread of Life.” Then, we’ll join together at the Lord’s table. That’s a bread line worth standing in and I hope to bump into you there.
Grace and peace.