The roots of Mary Lathbury’s hymn which we just sang lie in the sign revealed in the miraculous feeding of 5,000 people by Jesus - and in Jesus’ Own Words “I AM THE LIVING BREAD That came down from heaven.
Break Thou The Bread of Life,
Dear Lord, to Me,
The Bread of Life Mary Lathbury was writing about and God’s people prayerfully study is The Word of God incarnate in Jesus Christ and inerrant in The Truth in The Holy Bible only God Himself can open.
In the sign Jesus performed the day before and the words He spoke in our text, Jesus indeed opened The Bread of Life to all gathered around Him – as Jesus does today in the words of The Holy Bible and beyond the sacred page in the sacramental meal in which we in just a few moments will so intimately receive Him.
Break Thou The Bread of Life,
Dear Lord, to Me,
As Thou didst break the loaves
Beside the sea.
Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord; My spirit pants for Thee, O Living Word.
Break now the bread of life
My spirit waits for you, O living word
Our prayerful hymn remained unchanged from 1877 until 1978 – about a century – when the editors of our then new hymnal made some changes – preferring an emphasis on our calling upon God to get on our schedule rather than continuing to make Jesus The Subject. Also cautioning about getting too excited about The Word of God – waiting is good enough – panting for is too much.
Show me The Truth made plain in Thy Word.
Show me the truth concealed in your word.
They had even bigger problems with the last verse changing “Show me The Truth made plain in Thy Word” to “Show me the truth concealed in your word” - perhaps where those so disposed can claim to reveal truths whose meaning they label concealed until they can make it coincide with their own agendas.
Certainly, what has happened to this profound hymn is a relatively minor part of a much larger picture – and, yet, where is our faith more revealed than in our worship and in the words used to express that faith.
Recently a teenager attended a Church Youth Convention. When he returned, his grandfather asked him about the convention. The boy replied, “I really enjoyed the social activities – but I was surprised there was no Bible study and no one mentioned Jesus’ Name in the presentations.”
When we approach God’s Word prayerfully in the knowledge that “With God, all things are possible”, God’s Truth is made so plain even a child can understand it and live by God-given Faith in Jesus. And, beyond that, there is so much more to be revealed – not because it is concealed through some Divine Plot – but there in God’s Word to be made plain to all who approach it prayerfully and faithfully.
Jesus reminded the people — and us — “It is written in the prophets- in ISAIAH (54:13) - ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore, everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.”
By the Grace of God, we shall all be taught by God. What glorious lessons they are — how wondrously taught! For those willing to see with our Holy Spirit given eyes of faith, the lessons are so clear … and so life-giving.
Whenever the aroma of bread baking drifted from the bethlehem across the village, the people were hungry. The bread baking there certainly was essential to the physical well-being of the people living there. How abundantly God nourishes us with our daily bread!
Jesus had miraculously fed a number of these people on Mt. Magdala just a day before — and now they were hungry again. Such is life.
Today they would eat again and tomorrow they would be hungry again.
And no matter how much they ate each day, they would be hungry the next day and one day each of them in turn would die.
But Jesus offers something far more essential than that bread baking in Capernaum’s bethlehem. In a village bearing the same name as those village ovens, God came among us as The vulnerable flesh and blood Christ Who truly is The Living Bread Which came down from heaven … The Bread of Life Who promises “Whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst.”
Jesus said, “And The Bread That I will give is My Flesh.”
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the Flesh of The Son of Man and drink His Blood you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on My Flesh and drinks My Blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
The Living Bread came down from heaven and gives eternal life and eternal relationship with God in abundant ways – in God’s Word incarnate in Jesus Christ as The Word became flesh and dwelt among us
- in God suffering and dying for our sins and reconciliation with God as a vulnerable flesh and blood human being God shows His Love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us -
- and in the absolute closeness of the Sacrament of Holy Communion where Jesus offers His Body given for us and His Blood shed for us – no closer communion is possible than that which only God Himself can offer.
“Break Thou The Bread of life, …” -“Living Bread” to feed the Image of God in us--“Living Bread” to feed our souls--“Living Bread Which endures to everlasting life”.
THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH PASSES ALL HUMAN UNDERSTRANDING KEEP YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR MINDS IN OUR CRUCIFIED AND RISEN LORD AND SAVIOUR — JESUS THE CHRIST — THE ONE AND ONLY TRUE BREAD OF LIFE AND THE PROVIDER OF THAT BREAD. AMEN.
13th Sunday Of The Trinity Season
August 19, 2018
Dr. Kurt Borows
Pastor, Resurrection Lutheran Church, Catawba Island, Port Clinton, Ohio