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The Bread of Life; Re-gifting the Gift


Jesus is the Bread of Life. We know that Jesus is Life. What is the significance of bread and life? Let's take a look. John 6:48-50, "I am the Bread of Life. 49Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness and are dead. 50This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. NKJV In John12:24, our Lord says, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain." NKJV So, one grain of wheat is given for many. So is Christ's Life given for many. In Deuteronomy 8:8, "a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey..."NKJV God's promise of a new life. And, the story of Ruth, a Moabitess, widow of her Hebrew husband, stood by her mother-in-law, Naomi, and following the God of her husband, she journeyed to her husband's land, Bethlehem, Judah. There, Naomi and Ruth were alone (at least so it appeared), and hungry. But God, again and always, in His goodness was working. In Ruth 2:2 we read, 'So Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, "Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor." NKJV And find favor she did! Ruth found and married Boaz, a very rich relative of Naomi's husband, Elimelech. And she became mother to Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David, direct lineage of our Lord Jesus Christ. Again, grain, new life. And one more Scripture, among many, John 6:31, "Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" NKJV Bread from heaven to sustain...Life.

The Bread of Life, Jesus, is a gift from our Father God. And to be able to make bread is a gift, a blessing. Being given a gift from the Lord, it must be given as a blessing to others, to whoever the Lord puts in our path. How exactly can we bless others with our bread making? Of course, we can feed the hungry. But not everyone in our path is hungry...physically. When the Lord puts someone in your path, He knows their need. It's not for us to know. We need to be a blessing, a light. So, we prepare, through the gift we've been given to be that blessing through obedience and prayer.

When I prepare to make bread, I pray and thank the Lord for His provision and for the gift of bread making. Then I ask my Lord Jesus, the Bread of Life, to help me prepare His provision with His Hand and His blessing. I even invite Him to come and bake with me. I ask Him to guide me in who to give the bread to. And who and what to pray for as I am kneading and prepping. He answers by touching my heart. This is an uplifting and blessed experience every time. Because, come on now, Jesus is in my kitchen baking with me! This my friends is therapy like no other. I have been blessed to be a blessing to others.

Can bread be holy? Of course, it is holy if it's prayed over and Bread of Life inspired. In the picture I have four different blessed breads. One is a flatbread made with bitter herbs, olive oil and olives, foods of the Promised Land, a good bread for fasting, as in the Daniel Fast. Follow the link for the Daniel Fast at thebiblicalnutritionacademy.com.


Then there is Challah bread, the one with the cinnamon butter. Challah is a slightly sweet, eggy bread with a consistency and taste similar to brioche.  According to Jewish tradition, challah refers to a section of dough which is separated after kneading to be given as an offering at the Temple.  Given that we live in the age of the diaspora, this tradition is no longer maintained, and the meaning of the word “challah” has evolved to refer to the loaves of bread traditionally baked for Shabbat.  Interestingly, the dual Shabbat loaves are themselves a reference to biblical manna, a substance which fell from the sky for wandering Israelites to make bread from.  On Fridays, with Shabbat incoming, enough manna would fall from the sky for each household to make twice the loaves they normally would so that they would not have to bake on the Sabbath. Quoted from www.threebrothersbakery.com, Challah: A Practical Introduction, by Brandon Carpenter, October 17, 2022.

The other braided loaves here, the darker ones, are Tsoureki, Greek Easter Bread, my version made with fresh milled flour. I didn't add red eggs on top. See recipe in the recipe category.

Tsoureki is like Challah but tends to be much sweeter, and contains a spice called mahlab in Arabic/mahlepi in Greek. Mahlepi is the pit from a particular cherrystone and can be purchased ground or whole. To use ground would be like any other ground spice. But to use whole, it would be steeped as a tea and the warm liquid would be utilized in the recipe.

Usually made into a plaited loaf or a wreath, the ring shape represents the Easter theme of renewal. The red eggs that adorn Tsoureki symbolize Christ's blood and rebirth and are placed into the soft dough and baked with the bread. Quoted from www.hillstreetgrocer.com.


And lastly, Prosforo, an offering to God.

The Greek word for Altar bread is prosforo, which means "an offering to God." Bread represents life because it is a staff of life. Once consumed it becomes part of us, i.e., our flesh and bones. Thus, in bringing the loaf of bread to God, we are offering our life to Him as a gift of our love.

Our Offering of Ourselves

That is our part in the sacrifice of the liturgy. When the priest holds up the bread and wine at the altar, he tells God what we intend them to mean. It is not just the priest but everybody in the congregation who is helping to offer the sacrifice through their prayers. We put ourselves into that paten, (a plate usually made of precious metal and used to carry the bread at the Eucharist), with the Altar Bread, offering to God our mind and heart, our soul and body, all that we have and are. We must, as it were, pour our heart out into the chalice with the wine, and put into it all our hopes and fears, our joys and sorrows, our love and adoration, our obedience and commitment of our whole self. For all this is to go to God in the shape of a gift. That is our part at this point in the sacrifice: we are to make this offering a part of our lives by offering ourselves.

Stamped with a Seal

A special seal is stamped on top of the loaf before it is baked. The middle part of the seal contains a square piece of bread with the word ICXC, NIKA. This is a Greek abbreviation for "Jesus Christ Conquers." Since this is the piece that will be changed into the Body of Christ, it is called the Lamb of God. A large triangular piece is removed from the left of the Lamb of God and placed on the paten. This represents the Virgin Mary, our Lord's mother. Then nine smaller triangular pieces are removed from the seal to commemorate the angels, prophets, apostles and saints of the Church. These are placed on the paten to the right of the Lamb of God. Following this, the priest prays for the living members of the congregation especially for those whose names have been submitted to him. As he prays for each name, he cuts a small piece of bread representing the person prayed for, and places it immediately below Jesus, the Lamb of God. Finally, he removes a piece of bread for each deceased person for whom we have requested prayers. Thus, around the Lamb of God on the paten is gathered the entire Church consisting of the angels, saints and loved ones in heaven together with members of the local congregation. All are alive in God's presence, and all constitute the one living Body of Christ. Quoted from www.saintbarbara.org.

And I will finish here with one last tiny but huge analogy regarding bread being life because of the Bread of Life. One tiny grain of wheat, a wheat berry smaller than a sunflower seed, is a superfood powerhouse, full of macronutrients and micronutrients, protein, fiber, iron, zinc, magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, manganese, copper, and pantothenic acid. Our Creator, the Master Scientist, put all this into one little grain for our health. Looks like life to me, the Bread of Life.










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