Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bread of Angels

     “Jesus 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.”

                         – John 6: 35

     The crowds in today’s Gospel had felt the power of bread. They had just seen the miraculous feeding starting with only five barley loaves and two fish, but that wasn’t enough. They followed Jesus looking for more bread. Jesus doesn’t miss a beat and begins again to teach them about real bread. “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life…”

     So, how do you get this real bread? If you go back to the original word for manna, it comes from a Hebrew expression meaning, “What is it?” Sometimes we do not recognize bread when it is all around us. You can’t bake it yourself, but you can be ready to recognize this bread, this manna, this "Bread of Angels" as the Psalmist says, when it is offered.

     Manna wasn't found in the Israelites’ houses, they had to go outside to gather it. We find this bread in paying attention to God in others, in relationships, in attending worship, in getting outside our own problems and helping another. We this find bread in scripture and in prayer.

     Never underestimate yourself – you are someone’s priest. Someone you might not have even met yet or someone you know well is looking to you this very day for bread. They’re looking to you for compassion. They’re looking to you for forgiveness. They’re looking to you for love. They’re looking to you for grace. They’re looking to you for the Bread of Angels.


  1. "You are someone's priest." Bill Countryman said something similar in his "Living on the Borders of the Holy." Some years ago, when I did my intern year, I taught a class on Anglicanism and used some material from that book. I hadn't realized the long-term impact it would have, but this summer while in Vienna, the associate priest remembered what I said and mentioned it in her sermon. " Sometimes we don't recognize bread when it is all around us."

    Thank you for the thoughts.

  2.      I've not read Bill Countryman's book, but it sounds right up my alley.

         And here I thought I was being so original in my little sermon.

  3. It's a good book. I've given many copies to people. I'm a big fan of his The connection of bread with being a priest to someone is a great one and not one I remember Bill making in the book. He does, however write about the fact that everyone has priestly gifts.


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