John 6:35, 41-51 (NRSV)
Verse 35Jesus 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. Verse 41Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." Verse 42They were saying, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, 'I have come down from heaven'?" Verse 43Jesus answered them, "Do not complain among yourselves. Verse 44No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. Verse 45It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Verse 46Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Verse 47Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. Verse 48I am the bread of life. Verse 49Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. Verse 50This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. Verse 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh."
Reading about the bread of life never fails to make my mouth water. I start tasting some of my favorite breads: my dad’s homemade sourdough, warm breadsticks at Olive Garden, the sweet molasses baked into the communion bread at Luther Seminary. It’s enough to make me hungry at any time of day.
When’s the last time you remember feeling really hungry? Or thirsty?
Jesus’ talk of living bread begs the question: Do we treat faith the same way that we treat hunger or thirst? When we are lacking faith, or when God feels far away, do we feel it in our bodies? If not, what would it be like to start treating faith as something that we had to sustain in order to survive?
Sometimes we talk about faith as something we choose to have or not have. But perhaps faith is something we need just like we might need bread or water.
God, sustain us with the bread of life. Feed our faith so that we can draw closer to you. Amen.