O Bread of Life from Heaven (ELW 480)
1 O bread of life from heaven,
O food to pilgrims given,
O manna from above:
feed with the blessed sweetness
of your divine completeness
the souls that want and need your love.
2 O fount of grace redeeming,
O river ever streaming
from Jesus’ wounded side:
come now, your love bestowing
on thirsting souls, and flowing
till all are fully satisfied.
3 We love you, Jesus, tender,
in all your hidden splendor
within these means of grace.
Oh, let the veil be riven,
and our clear eye in heaven
behold your glory face to face.
This familiar old Latin hymn imagines the life of discipleship like one of traveling on a journey. Whenever I go on a trip, I take along some water, fruit, and bread to sustain me. When people of faith go on the pilgrimage that is the whole journey of this life, we too are invited to take along the kind of food that is fit for that journey. The promise of the gospel is that Jesus gives us the bread of life for that greater journey; it comes enriched with God’s mercy, forgiveness, and love. Whenever we receive the bread and wine of holy communion, we receive that bread of life, Christ’s body and blood, given on the cross, for you and me. That bread is indeed our life. It is enough for the journey.
Lord Jesus, you are the bread of life from heaven, like manna that once fed God’s people in the wilderness. Feed us in our pilgrimage today, with the love that only you can give. Amen.