John 6.35, 41-51
Note: I enjoyed dipping into 52 Loaves by William Alexander as I prepared this sermon.
I can still remember my mother’s wonderful words to me: ‘Fill up on bread!’
She said these words to me often, as I frequently complained that I was still hungry after dinner was finished.
Fill up on bread. I didn’t like a lot of the bread I was given to fill up on though.
I do like good white bread—crusty loaves from the bakery are great—but the white bread I knew as a child was pretty insipid. You know, that tasteless, stick-to-the-roof-of-the-mouth white fluff that has passed for ‘bread’ since before I was born.
That was the only white bread I knew in my childhood, so it’s not surprising that I always preferred brown bread to this so-called bread.
I’m not the only one who thinks a lot of bread tastes awful. The American celebrity cook Julia Child once said,
How can a country be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex? Continue reading
Blessed and broken
I just love the story of the walk to Emmaus. Two disciples walk to Emmaus. They’re at their lowest ebb. (One is named, Cleopas; I suspect the other was his wife, Mary.) A third joins them, and draws them into conversation.
This stranger shows them from the scriptures that was inevitable that the Messiah should suffer; that a blameless life was bound to attract persecution, and even judicial murder.
As they draw near to their place, they invite the stranger in for a meal. Remember, these are two people whose hopes had been dashed; now, through the ministry of the Word offered by this complete stranger, they are able to offer hospitality rather than fall straight into bed and the oblivion of sleep. In fact, they want to hear more.
At the table, the undreamt-of happens. The stranger ‘took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them’. And they know. They begin to comprehend the incomprehensible. Before them is none other than the Lord, the Living One, who has won the victory over death itself. He is there, with them—and then he vanishes from their sight.
I never get tired of hearing this fabulous story. It shows us that even where we have lost all hope—when the absolute worst has happened, and we’ve given in to despair—Jesus Christ is there with us. We are never alone.