So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got
into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, "Rabbi, when
did you come here?" 26 Jesus answered them, "Very truly, I tell you, you are
looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27
Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his
seal." 28 Then they said to him, "What must we do to perform the works of
God?" 29 Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him
whom he has sent." 30 So they said to him, "What sign are you going to give us
then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? 31 Our
ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from
heaven to eat.' " 32 Then Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, it was
not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true
bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives
life to the world." 34 They said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always."
35 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. (NRSV)
Exodus 16:2-15 2 The whole congregation of the Israelites complained
against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 The Israelites said to them, "If only we
had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and
ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole
assembly with hunger."
4 Then the LORD said to Moses, "I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and
each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test
them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. 9 Then Moses said to Aaron,
"Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, 'Draw near to the LORD, for he has
heard your complaining.' " 10 And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the
Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the LORD appeared in the
cloud. 11 The LORD spoke to Moses and said, 12 "I have heard the complaining of the
Israelites; say to them, 'At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall
have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.' "
13 In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a
layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the
wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. 15 When the
Israelites saw it, they said to one another, "What is it?" For they did not know
what it was. Moses said to them, "It is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat.
Sermon - It takes a great big
its all about food thats what our scripture lessons conclude this morning.
Life is only possible when you have food. We all know that. And we all know that life is
more than difficult when you dont have enough food.
A friend of mine Anna and her family, immigrated here from Poland in the 80s. She told me
what life was like before they left Poland. in the early 80s when Poland was
struggling with dock strikes, unrest and impending war, strikes snowballed until the
economy began to collapse. Russia, who had amassed troops on their border took
whatever food they could get. The grocery stores in Poland were empty, they had only
mustard on the shelves. People who had been considered prosperous found themselves without
food. Meat was rationed and families especially those with children struggled to
eat every day. My friend tells of standing in line for meat, with her meat stamp for 5
hours holding her infant in her arms, all this time her baby cried, he was so hungry
because his mother was hungry. only to be told that the meat was gone, come back tomorrow.
It took her 3 days of standing in line to get her ration of meat. one pound for her
family for a week.
There was no gas for their car so she would walk to her mothers house, in the
country once a week, Her mother would give her vegetables which she would carry
back home in a sling strapped to back, with the baby in her arms. This was in1981.
Today she is glad to be in America.
Food is necessary for life. People will do anything to get it.
That is what Jesus saw in the people that followed him Of course the middle east is
not the bread basket of the world at best food - is scarce. Arid and sandy, with
small bodies of fresh water, that are over used. The people following Jesus were looking
for healing, and instinctively knew that adequate food was part of the solution. he
fed them bread and fish good fish sandwiches - and they were willing to follow this
food maker anywhere.
Life is all about food, for those poor hurting people that followed Jesus, for the
starving people of the world and for us today. All of us here know that. When the
statistics about overweight Americans are slammed in our face repeatedly, when every other
sign you see along the road is for fast food, when you have to plan your trip to the
grocery store for early morning to avoid the crush, especially if a holiday is near
when you can find someone cooking on cable TV, anytime day or night, and nearly always
find an infomercial for weight loss or exercise equipment or cooking equipment. Our
culture is all about food.
And I wonder if Jesus would say the same thing to us as he did to the crowd.
Hey, dont follow along because of the free food, I am not a deli-clerk. Follow
me because I can give you something that the world can not give. I can give you an even
better bread, the bread of life. After all - not all bread is created equal.
Now there is the thin sandwich style bread, elegant bread, it is so thin.
It is thin like your check-book, thin like your credit card, thin like your stock
certificates, thin like the deed to your home, thin like your impressive resume with all
of your accomplishments named.
Thin, elegant, high-priced bread lets see if it can hold your life together.
So here is your bread - and here is your life
Mayo, - sticky, connective, your relationships with other people. Mayonnaise
Mustard/ horseradish sauce to spice it all up
Lettuce, Let us - representing all of the choices you make some good, others
not so good.
A pickle for those problems that seem to arise dont we all get into pickles
Beef, your complaints, the injustices, the unfairness of it all, the anger, your beefs
with the world
Ham, salty, like tears, your disappointments, the losses, your grief, the wounds that make
Chicken your fears and frustrations, the times that you were confused and lost.
And some good Munster cheese, your wonderful memories, your family and friends. Say
And finally a slice of tomato, that rich surprise in your life. Those moments that are so
filled with joy that you laugh right out loud is there anything better than the
first juicy ripe tomato of the season?
Add another slice of bread
So, I ask you, how well will this thin bread hold your life hold together?
It has a tendency to fall apart unfortunately. Maybe not right at first, but before
you get finished, some part of this will end up in your lap. Bits and pieces of your life
will end up all over the place.
Jesus says to the crowd, I tell you there is a better way. I am the bread of life I
am the thick crusty style bread - I will wrap around your life, and hold it all together.
let me show you.
Your joys and your concerns, your celebrations and your fears, the spice and the
glue your anger and your choices I will wrap around them and hold you together
no matter what comes, your life will be in my caring hands, it will never fall
Jesus clearly knows that we need both spiritual food and real food to fill our stomachs,
that is why he made sure that all who followed him were fed both the bread and fish and
the bread of life. And my friend Anna from Poland said that when the government ran out of
food, the churches stepped in and offered both food and prayers and in fact both were
critical to their survival. We do not live by bread alone.
This morning we hear the invitation from Jesus - Come to me for the bread that will fill
your life with assurance - come to me with your trust and you will receive bread that will
endure. With me you will never be hungry, with me you will never thirst.