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."
In campus ministry we eat—a lot. We eat lunch after church on Sundays. We have a home-cooked meal every Wednesday night. We get ice cream or coffee together at the shop downtown on any given day. We eat together whenever we get the chance. There is something about eating together that really makes you appreciate being together.
Jesus did that, too. He ate with anyone and everyone he met. Maybe that’s why one of the ways that he talked about his life and ministry was as “the bread of life”. Jesus was relational and present in his body. Jesus loved in a real and face-to-face way. And Jesus ministered by nourishing whole communities.
When we eat together, we remember our relationship with Christ. Whether it’s around the altar in the sanctuary, in the Fellowship Hall for a potluck, or out in the world—we eat together so that we remember that we are Christ’s body and that we are together.
God, thank you for food. For food that we eat and for food that feeds our souls. Bring us together as we seek to be with you. Amen.