Saturday, October 8, 2016

Bread that Endures

Today's reflection on the Daily Texts:

The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. - Psalm 119:130

Whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. - Romans 15:4

Two-year reading texts: Psalm 118:1-9; 1 Samuel 30,31; John 6:25-42

In John 6, Jesus notices that a bunch of people are interested in him because he performed a "sign" that gave them bread. Five thousand people were fed, in a meal that began with a little boy's sack lunch of five barley loaves and two fish. A crowd of people follow Jesus, looking for me. He wants them to realize that the true value in what he did was not the bread, but the sign - that he is the one who can give "the true bread from heaven," the "bread of life" which fills and satisfies so that "whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." With a powerful "I AM" statement, echoing the name of God given to Moses in Exodus 3, Jesus says, "I AM the bread of life."

Today I was thinking that daily time with scripture reflects the same principle. The point is not the time in absorbing words, but the One to whom the words point. Today's verse from Psalm 119 uses the images of light and understanding; Paul in Romans 15:4 says that hope is the result of time in scripture. In the words of scripture, we're introduced to the living God who still enlightens and shapes the future of human life. Reading the Bible regularly is like eating bread, in that it gives us strength and provision for the day. But it's even more than that. Time spent in reading scripture, praying, reflecting, centering oneself in God, listening for God's leading, submitting to God's direction, is to dig into the true bread of life in Christ, which will never run out. This time is a way for us to touch and be reminded of the constant presence of God.

In a time of busyness, stress, work, and anxiety, it's easy to run out of energy and find strength failing. Today I'm thankful for God's Word in scripture, for the opportunity to spend time in it each day, and especially for the "sign" it provides, pointing directly to God. I'm thankful for this "food that endures for eternal life!"

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