celtic preayers

Prayers on a theme of Bread of Life

Christ feeding the crowd

'I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.' - John 6:35-51

Bread is a wonderfully sustaining foodstuff. We could look at the individual ingredients and concoct a sermon simply on those, the yeast, the salt, the grain which yields the wheat flour, the water which binds them all together - they all can have a spiritual significance which Jesus himself used in the stories that he told. But let's look at the finished product and how we an relate that to the meaning that Jesus was inferring to the crowd who had so eagerly followed him all day, and seen him perform a culinary miracle with a few fish and some loaves of bread.

We eat bread and it is absorbed by our bodies. It is converted into the energy we need to live, work and grow. Complex carbohydrates broken down steadily to give us the sustenance we need as human beings. Protein builds up our strength. Vitamins and minerals ensure that our bodily organs and system function correctly. It is simple, nutritious and life-giving.

When Jesus started talking about 'Bread of Life' the crowd thought he was talking literally about bread, and immediately their thoughts turned to their stomachs and back to the manna that God had provided for His people when they were in exile. But no, Jesus tells them, he's not talking about the physical aspects of hunger. Yes, they had just witnessed something of a miracle when so many were fed and satisfied from the meal he provided courtesy of a few small fish and a loaf or two of bread, but that wasn't about showing off his power - it wasn't some form of conjuring trick to impress. As always with Jesus there was a spiritual lesson to be learned.

What he wants them to grasp is that within Him is all the food that they need to grow spiritually, real bread that satisfies hunger forever, not just the rumbling stomachs and hunger pangs that they might be feeling at that particular place and time.

 

Somewhere
a miracle occurs,
a seed is sown
in fertile ground,
germinates,
grows, ripens
and in due season
will be harvested.

Somewhere
a miracle occurs,
from the simplest
of ingredients,
flour and water,
salt and yeast,
kneaded and formed.
Daily bread.

Somewhere
a miracle occurs,
your word is sown
in fertile ground,
germinates,
grows, fruits
and in due season
will be harvested.

Somewhere
a miracle occurs,
as the purest
of ingredients,
love, hope
and joy make
broken lives whole.
Bread of Life.

God of miracle,
provider of
daily bread,
word of life
and love,
we offer you
our thanks.

 


 

Bread of Life, you feed us
through word and sacrament.
The bread we share
a remembrance
of your presence with us.
Strengthen us for service,
that seeds we sow
in fertile places
might grow and flourish,
that food we share
in fellowship
might nourish and revive,
that words we share
in our daily walk
might glorify your name.
Bread of Life, you feed us
through word and sacrament
that we might feed others.
Blessed be your name!

 

 


 


When the journey is long
and we hunger and thirst,
Bread of Life, you sustain us.
When the road is hard
and our bodies weak
Bread of Life, you heal us.
When our spirits are low
and we can’t carry on
Bread of Life, you revive us.
When we offer our hand
in love and in service
Bread of life, you bless us.
When the challenge is great
and the workers are few
Bread of Life, you empower us.
When the victory is won
and we see your face
Bread of Life, you will rejoice with us!

 


 


We bless you,
God of Seed and Harvest
Provider of our daily bread
And we bless each other
That the beauty of this world
And the love that created it
Might be expressed though our lives
And be a blessing to others
Now and always