First Day Reflections on “The Bread of Life”

Saying Grace, painting by Norman Rockwell
Saying Grace

I saw this message on a plaque recently; Grace isn’t a little prayer you say before a meal. It’s a way to live. Do you give thanks or say Grace before “breaking bread”? Where does this custom come from? This painting from Norman Rockwell speaks to the way that a lot of people feel about this practice.

Isn’t it fascinating that the most humble and everyday food, bread, is used to represent Jesus/God in the Bible? The miracle of the loaves and fishes precedes this quote from the John: 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. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” 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.” (John 6:32-35, New Revised Standard Version)

Jesus later ritualized the use of bread to achieve Communion with the Spirit at the Last Supper;
And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke:22-19 English Standard Version)

Note that Jesus gave thanks before breaking the bread.

Do this in remembrance of me…what would it look like for your daily spiritual practice if you literally do this every time you eat; pause, give thanks and remember the spiritual path? In this light the line from the Lord’s Prayer takes on a more spiritual meaning; Give us this day our daily bread, (Matthew: 6-11)

6 thoughts on “First Day Reflections on “The Bread of Life”

  1. Whine And Cheers For Wine 04/10/2015 / 11:49 am

    I often see people bowing their heads before eating. I am always surprised and somewhat impressed by their dedication. Considering it myself now after reading your post. Thank you for making me think about this.

  2. Roger Vincent Jasaitis 04/10/2015 / 12:01 pm

    No matter what you think spiritually speaking, research has shown that pausing and “being present” will make your food taste better. 🙂

  3. Georgie 04/10/2015 / 1:51 pm

    Thank you Roger. Tracy and I often give thanks and offer a prayer with meals, especially when our family and children are gathered and present. Her Dad was a Deacon, and her family are devout Catholics. Although, brought up Catholic, in my adult years, as you may remember, I did a lot of soul searching and have a more universal spiritual belief these days, but I respect all walks of faith when the recognition is to an all loving, forgiving spirit. No hate, no judging based on color, race or sexuality, you know, all the cool stuff. Just good intentions, live and let live kind of thinking. But I do pray and give thanks . . . in the attitude of gratitude, to use a cliche.

    • Roger Vincent Jasaitis 04/10/2015 / 4:05 pm

      Hi George, I’ve never heard of that cliche “in the attitude of gratitude”. I guess that means it’s not a cliche for me. 🙂

  4. avidseeker 04/11/2015 / 12:58 pm

    Thank you for this post, Roger, and reminding us of that simple but meaningful ritual of thanksgiving. Will definitely be mindful of it myself. Love the painting too. The image and detail are amazing.

    • Roger Vincent Jasaitis 04/11/2015 / 5:30 pm

      Rockwell never called himself an artist….he called himself an illustrator. To me he was adept at capturing simple truths. As an aside, Nancy and I have eaten at the restaurant that he used for this painting. It was located on Main Street in Manchester Center, Vermont.

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