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)