The Living Bread
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’
So Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.
Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.’ He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.
The Living Bread
Our national economic crisis has challenged our churches to reach out to people who need help in our communities. Several churches in the Iroquois River District have started food programs. One church distributes non-perishable food to more than 1,000 people with several hundred volunteers each month. Another church provides warm home-cooked meals to several hundred people in their community.
Their stories are like the story of five loaves and two fish. I praise the Lord for these feeding ministries!
They remind me of the scripture today in which the crowd comes out to receive free food from Jesus. Jesus, who was willing to provide bread for their physical hunger, challenged them to see beyond their physical needs. Jesus offered them more than physical food; he gave living bread which would bring new life and new hope—Jesus Christ himself.
We see people who are hungry physically, emotionally and spiritually. People who seem to have everything are dying of emotional brokenness and spiritual emptiness. Even the best meal cannot satisfy broken hearts. Only Jesus Christ, the Living Bread, can fill our emptiness and heal our brokenness.
A few years ago, my father-in law visited us from Korea. Whenever he returned home from church potlucks (which he enjoyed), he hungered for a Korean meal—rice, Korean soup and Kimchi. Until he ate warm rice, he was not satisfied. In the same way, until we receive Jesus Christ, the Living Bread, our souls are still hungry.
As we keep feeding hungry people, we need to ask ourselves, what is God saying to us about their spiritual hunger? What is the next step for the people who keep coming to receive food? How can we invite people to share the broken body and blood at the Communion table? How can we include them and form relationships with them? Jesus offered his body and blood to build such life-giving relationships with him and one another.
Loving God, open our hearts, minds and doors to invite and include the hungry people to the table of Communion. Rekindle passion in our hearts to offer the Living Bread with physical food to others. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen!
Rev. In-Sook Hwang is District Superintendent of the Iroquois River District.