This post, in addition to being a part of Rookie Anglican, is part of a series on the Collects of the Christian Year (ACNA), called “Collect Reflections.” If you’re just jumping in, make sure to check out the introductory post, “Announcing Collect Reflections.” All Collect Reflection posts can be found here.
The Fourth Sunday in Lent
Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
“Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.” (John 6:35-36)
One of my favorite foods is fresh bread, especially when it is brought to you at your table at a restaurant. It smells so good and the butter melts right into the bread. Oh, it is so good. I have to be careful not to eat too much.
This is what is going on with Jesus and the crowd who had witnessed a miracle. Jesus made the bread and fish to be multiplied to feed thousands and there was some leftover. WOW! But now the people wanted Jesus to do it again to feed their physical beings. Their physical hunger was one thing, but Jesus knew their spiritual hunger was serious.
The people didn’t get it. They wanted more physical bread, but not Jesus. Then Jesus declared the third “I am,” or ego eimi.”I am the bread of life!” Jesus did not come down from heaven to provide only physical bread, but also the bread of life for the whole world.
Bread was the basic stuff of life in that day. The people Jesus spoke to knew that they could not live without their daily bread. So Jesus used this symbol of bread to teach them about their spiritual need.
What bread is for the body, Jesus Christ is for our hungry, aching hearts. He alone can satisfy this deep spiritual hunger inside of us. Just as He didn’t’ do another miracle to provide more physical bread, so too He doesn’t want to ease our hurts and heartaches with quick fix solutions. He wants to heal us deeper at the real source of our emotional pain.
How does Jesus heal us at the deepest level of our being? He proclaimed I am the true bread that the Father gives you from Heaven. I came down from heaven to give life to the world. Looking at this claim in the context of this passage,(John 6:51) we can discover the three ways that Jesus feeds ours profound spiritual hunger and heals our deepest hurts. The true Bread of Life saves us, satisfies us, and strengthens us forever more.
In the season of Lent, we reflect and evaluate our lives in regards to our relationship with God as we prepare for Easter. What are we really hungry for? The true bread that came down from Heaven to gives us abundant life? Or, are we hungry for the desires, appetites, and pleasures of this world which are only temporary like the manna in the Old Testament which lasted only one day?
Father, during this time of reflection, help me to hunger for the right thing. Help me to be present to the Presence in the present!
Lenten Thought: Our spiritual hunger pangs are but our response to the aroma of the fresh bread of life that Christ has provided for us.
Michael Rosengren is a semi-retired Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in Bakersfield, CA. Michael and his wife Nancy are involved in St. Luke’s Anglican Church. He is the Senior Warden in the Vestry. Also, Michael is the chairman of the Parish Commission on Ministry and a member of the diocese (San Joaquin) Commission on Ministry.