Bread of Life
“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’”
I frequently drive on East Washington Ave. between Sun Prairie and Madison. When I get near the Gardner Bread manufacturer and bakery I often smell the bread being baked. The smell of fresh baked bread can last for several blocks in either direction. I remember growing up in Madison and when we drove down East Washington Ave., we would start sniffing several blocks in advance of the bakery to see who could smell the bread first.
A couple of weeks ago on Communion Sunday, throughout worship I could smell the fresh bread that was on the communion table. Then, when I went to uncovered the bread for the blessing, that wonder smell of fresh bread was even more profound.
In this growing season of Advent, we are turning our hearts and attention toward Bethlehem as we approach the celebration of the Christ child’s birth. The name ‘Bethlehem’ means ‘house of bread.’ In the Hebrew language, Beth-lehem is two words. ‘Beth’ is short for ‘Beth-el,’ which means ‘house of God’ and ‘lehem’ means ‘bread.’ The Hebrew language is read from right to left, so Bethlehem is read as ‘bread-house.’
Jesus the Christ was born in a place called ‘house of bread.’ Later in Jesus’ ministry, he will break bread with his followers and say, “I am the Bread of life.” As we near the end of the Advent season and enter the days of Christmas, may we be reminded in the breaking of bread and the smell and taste of bread that Jesus is the Bread of life, who came to show and share God’s love and light to all the world.