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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 78:23–29

Yet he commanded the skies above,
   and opened the doors of heaven;
he rained down on them manna to eat,
   and gave them the grain of heaven.
Mortals ate of the bread of angels;
   he sent them food in abundance.
He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens,
   and by his power he led out the south wind;
he rained flesh upon them like dust,
   winged birds like the sand of the seas;
he let them fall within their camp,
   all around their dwellings.
And they ate and were well filled,
   for he gave them what they craved. (NRSV)

Bread is an essential ingredient in most diets. It is an energy-producing carbohydrate. Not surprisingly, bread appears again and again in our sacred stories. When the Israelites are famished, God delivers manna to the desert to satisfy them. When Elijah is so deep in despair that he begs God for death, God feeds him bread to empower his mission. Jesus fed the multitudes with loaves of bread and fishes. At his final meal, Jesus serves bread and wine.

If you were to have asked my grandmother what the most essential part of her diet was she would tell you with no hesitation: Eucharist. Communion. Bread.

Until the age of ninety-eight, my grandmother would wake up every single day, wash, dress, and march down to her local parish. She began every day with mass, with Eucharist, with bread. Sometimes she would even end her day the same way, making it a twice-a-day prescription.

Some say my grandmother was addicted to the sacramental bread. Boldly and proudly she told her family that she needed it. In receiving the bread and cup, she said, she was beckoned to remember the Christian commission of love and charity. By consuming the bread, my grandmother participated in a feast larger than anything imaginable. Fed, nourished, and energized she set out each day to satisfy the hunger of the world.

For the Christian life, bread is essential. You see, the bread that satisfies our hunger and energizes our mission is not only the bread and cup found at Christ’s communion. God provides the bread of angels as strength for the Christian journey. When we hear again the promises of Jesus, we are fed. When we sing psalms of lament and canticles of adoration, we are fed. When we proclaim and preach that sweet news that life with God is better than life without, we are satisfied. God sustains us with bread that will never run stale or low so that we may be empowered to bring life—bread—to a hungry world.

Bread of Heaven, you satisfy my hungry heart, and I am grateful. Give me an appetite that fills my soul with the courage to feed the hunger of the world. Amen.

Written by Shawn Fiedler, Ministerial Associate for Worship

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