John 6: 27-40
At my church in Alexandria, a group of parishioners baked the Communion bread. When my turn came, I decided to try Sally Lunn. As was sometimes my bread-making fate, the yeast refused to rise and time was growing short. I took the loaves to my laundry room and set them atop the water heater.
Like the crowd that followed Jesus, I looked for a miracle to arise. Instead, I got a wild explosion of yeast and flour that coated every exposed pipe in that basement ceiling, along with the walls, clothes racks, and floors. Stalactites of dough hung like something on the set of a horror movie.
It took me a while to clean—and to recognize that the product of my hands was not the true bread of Heaven and that my culinary ego was beside the point. Christ tells his followers that they must not work for food that simply spoils but for food that endures to eternal life. Bread is bread until it is consecrated as God’s grace.
Don’t we all get caught up in the illusion that our own efforts propel us Heavenward? Jesus says that our work is simply “to believe in the one he has sent,” who would lose none of us but “raise (us) up at the last day.” Our over-wrought sense of responsibility often makes it hard to accept this gift of God’s manna.
God may not have made my Sally Lunn bread to rise properly, but instead He gave something better. I could accept rescue by the bakery and—on a much broader level—cease to seek miracles of my own making. If only we are able to receive it, God will indeed raise us all up with daily bread of the spirit, freely given.
— Stuart Dopp