Seventeenth Day of Easter   14 comments

Eucharistic Miracle at Manciano

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Bread of Life

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

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“I am the Bread of Life,” hymn text by Suzanne Toolan, as printed in Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006):

1.  “I am the bread of life.

You who come to me shall not hunger,

and who believe in me shall not thirst.

No one can come to me unless the Father beckons.

Refrain:

“And I will raise you up,

and I will raise you up,

and I will raise you up on the last day.”

2.  “The bread that I will give

is my flesh for the life of the world,

and if you eat of this bread,

you shall live forever,

you shall live forever.”

Refrain

3.  “Unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man

and drink of his blood,

and drink of his blood,

you shall not have life within you.”

Refrain

4.  “I am the resurrection, I am the life.

If you believe in me,

even though you die,

you shall live forever.”

Refrain

Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ,

the Son of God,

who have come into the world.

Refrain

Acts 7:51-8:1a (Revised English Bible):

[Stephen continued,]

How stubborn you are, heathen, still at heart and deaf to the truth!  You always resist the Holy Spirit.  You are just like your fathers!  Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute?  They killed those who foretold the coming of the righteous one, and now you have betrayed him and murdered him.  You received the law given by God’s angels and yet you have not kept it.

This touched them to the raw, and they ground their teeth with fury.  But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, and gazing intently up to heaven, saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand.

Look!

he said.

I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.

At this they gave a great shout, and stopped their ears; they made a concerted rush at him, threw him out of the city, and set about stoning him.  The witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.  As they stoned him Stephen called out,

Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

He fell on his knees and cried aloud,

Lord, do not hold this sin against them,

and with that he died.  Saul was among those who approved of his execution.

Psalm 31:1-5 (Revised English Bible):

In you, LORD, I have found refuge;

let me never be put to shame.

By your saving power deliver me,

bend down and hear me,

come quickly to my rescue.

Be to me a rock of refuge,

a stronghold to keep me safe.

You are my rock and my stronghold;

lead and guide me for the honour of your name.

Set me free from the net that has been hidden to catch me;

for you are my refuge.

Into your hand I commit my spirit.

You have delivered me, LORD, you God of truth.

John 6:30-35 (Anchor Bible):

So that we can put faith in you,

they [the people] asked him [Jesus],

what sign are you going to perform for us to see?  What is the ‘work’ you do?  Our ancestors had manna to eat in the desert; according to Scripture, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”

Jesus said to them:

Truly I assure you, it is not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, bit is my Father who gives you the real bread from heaven.  For God’s bread comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.

They begged,

Sir, give us this bread all the time.

Jesus explained to them:

I myself am the bread of life.  No one who comes to me shall ever be hungry, and no one who believes in me shall ever again be thirsty.

The Collect:

O God, by the abundance of your grace you unfailingly increase the number of your children: Look with favor upon those whom you have chosen to be members of your Church, that, having been born again in Baptism, they may be granted a glorious resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

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Jesus is the bread of life.  Stephen the Deacon had faith in Jesus.  His faith-based actions led to martyrdom and to life in heaven.  Stephen died, yet he lived.  Before the martyrdom of Stephen, Jesus died, yet he lived.  And, for nearly two thousand years, men, women, and children, trusting in Jesus’ promises, have followed in Stephen’s path.  They have died, yet they have lived.

Yet the bread of life is not for martyrs alone.  It grants life to all who have faith in the Messiah.  And all of us can access the sacramental bread of our Lord and Savior frequently.  Every time we partake of the Holy Eucharist we take Jesus (in the outward form of bread and wine) into our bodies.  May we become more like what we eat and drink sacramentally.

KRT

Published originally at SUNDRY THOUGHTS OF KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on April 6, 2010

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Posted October 29, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2018, April, Easter, Episcopal Church Lectionary

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