Bread has become a delicacy. When my wife sends me to the store for a loaf of bread I stand dumbfounded in front of the shelves. Which bread to buy? There’s white bread, whole wheat bread, gluten free seven grain bread, garlic bread, rye bread, and a dozen others. Then there are bagels: plain bagels, blueberry bagels and everything bagels. And what about donuts? I think donuts are included in the bread family. Okay, I choose donuts.
From ancient times “bread” has represented the staple of life. Even today, in all its various forms, bread is still the most widely consumed food in the world.
Scholars have found evidence that people started baking bread 30,000 year ago. But the first breads were “flat.” They lacked leaven. It is the leaven that makes it rise, light and fluffy and sweet. Historians believe that the Egyptians were the first to develop leavened bread, somewhere around 1000 years before the great pyramids were built. The most famous “unleavened” bread was the Passover bread, cooked up in a hurry by the Israelites to escape Egypt.
In 1917 Otto Rohwedder invented the first bread-slicing machine. He set the standard for all other inventors who searched for an idea that would be“better than sliced bread.” In spite of Rohwedder’s invention, there is nothing quite like pulling apart a fresh steaming loaf of bread and adding butter.
Jesus referred to bread to help us understand who He was. “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me will not hunger, and he who believes in me will never thirst.” John 6:35). “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word ...” Through Jesus Christ, God nourishes our soul and satisfies our innermost emotional, personal and spiritual needs, a nourishment more important than the nourishment of our bodies.
Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” He reminded us that we need nourishment each and every day. Just as God provides for us daily the nourishment that is necessary for our bodies, He will provide for us each and every day the nourishment that is necessary to replenish our soul.
When Moses led Israel in the wilderness, God provided bread every morning so that “he who gathered much had no excess and he who gathered little had no lack.”(Exodus 16:18). They could not store and keep the bread. It had to be eaten when God gave it.
Like the Israelites in the wilderness, our relationship with God is daily and constant. We cannot put our faith in a religious box to be taken out occasionally. Just as our bodies need bread in order to live, our souls need a daily and constant conversation with God, the bread and substance of life.