I can’t resist writing about this one and posting something a little different today.
For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.Most Sundays, Kemper goes to nursery during church leaving us with the two older kids to focus on the message. This week, we attended a different church, and because I wasn’t sure about the nursery arrangements, he stayed with us during the service. The squirmy, curious, doesn’t quite understand the word “whisper,” two-and-a-half-year old had me worn out by the time communion came around. (The other two, by the way, perfect angels – God only gives us what we can handle.) Communion time came around and with Kemper on my lap still and quiet for a second, I took the chance to close my eyes reflecting on the Lord and Christ’s sacrifice. As my husband, whisper-shouts my name, I open them to see the bowl of communion bread being passed to me and Kemper reaching in to grab a fist full. I quickly grabbed his hand and passed it on, just able to snag a piece for myself. But Kemper wasn’t about to ignore his chance at, what he saw as, a snack. He tried to grab the bread right out of my hand; quickly making a fist, I thought he would let it go. However, we were near the front, so it took a while for the bowl to be passed to everyone. In fact, he began to attempt to pry open the fingers of my fist to uncover the little morsel he so desperately wanted. He looked at the kind and patient woman next to me also holding bread and growled (really, I don’t think I’m exaggerating the growl part), “I want bread.” Trying to stifle a laugh which relieved my frustration a little, I explained that he could have some bread after church when we went to eat lunch at the park. Finally, I was able to distract him and the pastor stood to speak and the service continued.
At first I was annoyed that my little garbage disposal wanted more food; he had just polished off a package of Smarties and had had a good breakfast. I think I was just as annoyed because I was out of bribe material to get him to sit. Then I thought, “What if we were all that hungry for the bread of Christ? What if I wanted the Lord in my life so badly that I tried to pry open the clenched fist holding the bread? What if we all desired the Lord like that?” Kemper seems to have an overly active appetite for a toddler. Maybe, I should learn from this instead of being frustrated by it. I want to have an overly active appetite for Christ, desiring to consume him every chance I get. Like a hungry toddler, I want to search out God’s will for my life and go after it with all my attention and determination.
In John 6, we are told the story of the feeding of the 5,000. After this miracle and Jesus walking on water, the disciples search Jesus out and find him on the other side of the lake. It is in chapter six where he calls himself the bread of life. He says to the disciples in verse 27, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” Later in verse 33, he says, “For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” What if we spent the rest of this day, this week, this lifetime prying open the hand holding the bread of life? Only the hand isn’t clenched shut into a tight fist, it’s open holding the bread out to us, inviting us to be a part of God’s eternal kingdom. We just have to accept it. The bread of life, the gift of salvation isn’t locked away, it’s free to those Jesus is calling to. When we answer and accept him as our personal savior, through prayer and scripture, we can eat of this bread at any moment. Let’s try to be more like a hungry, squirmy toddler in church and reach for fistfuls of the bread of life, Jesus Christ.
Father, thank you so much for opening my heart to learn a big lesson from my little boy. I desire to have you in my life every moment of every day, help me to stay focused on you. Thank you, Lord, for the bread of life and help me to hunger for it more than ever.