Monday, February 3, 2014

Bread of Heaven

Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.’ Then they said to him, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ 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. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.’ John 6:27-40

When we were around the table with my family, sometimes in place of a spoken grace we would sing. As we got older, one of our favorites to sing was Cwm Rhondda, or Guide Me O Thou, Great Jehovah. We would sing it with great gusto and in as many parts as we could remember or find. To this day we enjoy singing the old hymn even when we are not around the table. It reminds us of the constancy and faithfulness of God and of the blessings we have received.

The folks who were with Jesus wanted exciting miracles and instead bread. He had fed a hug crowd and they all wanted more. Jesus was trying to help them understand that the love of God provides daily strength and sustenance, peace during chaos, support during trauma - things that truly make life worth living. And he encourages them to seek relationship with God rather than flash in the pan miracles. A relationship with God is much, much more rewarding and fulfilling than flash in the pan windfalls and huge feasts.

Today I ask God to help me deepen our relationship and to be grateful for the small daily miracles. May we all rejoice in the daily visions of God's love in our friends and neighbors. May we seek the bread of heaven, that which gives life and sustains us forever.

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