Bread. The simple sustenance of flour, oil, eggs and maybe yeast. It transcends culture and time. Either bread or rice still nourishes the majority of the world. Yet, I don’t fully grasp the implication of Jesus’ words in John 6:22 and following.
In chapter 6, John recounts Jesus’ feeding the five thousand with five barley loaves and two fish. Then, there was after dinner excitement for the disciples on the lake, only to be rescued by Jesus, walking on the water. Verse 22 opens the next day with a crowd remembering their miraculous meal.
The idea here, as expressed by Jesus, is that as bread is the central physical dietary staple for the ancients, he would be the central spiritual dietary staple for the ancients and those after them. But Jesus is even better than bread! Yet, looking at my own life and the lives of others I know, I wonder if Christ has become the tortilla chips at La Parota [insert favorite Mexican restaurant].
When I think of approaching the Communion Table, is my partaking of the bread/body central to my life as a Christian? Most of evangelical American churches dole out something more akin to the corner of a saltine, rather than bread. And a saltine is definitely not what I think of as the Bread of Life. It would more likely be a nice hearty multi-grain peasant loaf, or a beautiful Challa. I can remember visiting a church in east Tennessee shortly after I was married. There, they gave visitors small loaves of real, delicious bread! It stuck to my ribs and to my heart. I work for a University, and I know what foods sustain college students: things like Raman, pizza, beer. But I don’t think most college students would see saltines as a staple of their physical diet, but evangelicals accept a corner of a saltine all the time for their spiritual sustenance. Shouldn’t we expect, want more!?!