Musings from the Manse 14 March 2021

We live in a fully-processed, vacuum-packed, freeze-dried, pre-cooked, oven-ready world; a world of microwaves and TV dinners, fast food and takeaways. We often enjoy ourselves by going out for a meal. On those occasions we are eating for pleasure as much as we are eating out of necessity. There are many around the world who would find such a thing unthinkable, – inexplicable!

Bread, of course, is for many an essential part of the regular, staple diet. It isn’t surprising that in the Lord’s Prayer, after the initial statements of adoration, the very first actual request is for the provision of daily bread, saying, basically, “Lord, feed us!”; – an appeal for that most essential of all our needs, – sustenance.

In John’s Gospel, when Jesus uses the phrase, “I am the Bread of Life” the full implications of the statement would have been much more apparent to people of that time than people today. This is one of the seven “I am” statements recorded in John’s Gospel. Right from the famous opening to the Gospel which we hear particularly at Christmas, (In the beginning was the Word……..) John sets out to clearly state exactly what Jesus’ life and ministry was about. The three synoptic gospels tell us all about the things that Jesus did and said and, through that, express his mission. John tends to start with the mission, making Jesus’ purpose crystal clear from verse one and using the detail as corroboration. The synoptic Gospels tell us who Jesus was. John is more interested in getting across the message of why Jesus was; why did he come; what was his purpose; what did he achieve.

So what does the statement, “I am the Bread of life” actually convey. As I have already mentioned, to many people Bread is life! Today that is so true in much of the third world where poverty and deprivation are rife. A loaf of bread can make the difference between life and death.

Bread is God-given!

This planet has the resources to feed everyone. There is no need for there to be poverty and hunger but we live in a world too often dominated by greed and materialism. Human nature gets in the way; out of sight is out of mind.

Jesus came to show us the nature of God and through him we can access God. He is the staple diet of our lives as we follow his teaching, as we are nourished by his presence in our lives and by the impact that this has on all that we do or say.

Christ was God-given, provided to meet an essential need. He was sent when the time was right to communicate the Good News to all prepared to listen. He lived for us! He died for us! Through the ongoing action of the Holy Spirit he remains with us as an example, as a helper and as a conduit to God himself.

 

Rev Nik Wooller

14th March 2021

 

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