Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (Fourth Sunday in Lent BCP 219)
As human beings, we have been making bread for tens of thousands of years. Even before the agricultural revolution, hunter gatherers were gathering grains and roots and mashing them up and cooking them for bread. Bread quite literally is the stuff of life for humans, as throughout most of our history, we have relied most heavily on bread, in all its varieties, to sustain us.
It was natural and easy therefore for Jesus to use the metaphor for bread in describing himself as that which gives life to the world. In Hebrew the word for bread and the word for food are the same word! Even today, bread is still the staple food for most people in the world today. (Only here in America is our relationship with bread overly complicated.) Jesus knows that as frequently as we need food, we need God in our lives.
Whether you are feasting or fasting, eating food or abstaining from eating, we are called to think about God as much as we think about food. (This is how the idea of saying grace or prayers before eating started.) On your journey this week, give thanks to God for all that sustains you. For the bread, for the drinks, for the food, and for Jesus in your heart.