By Brooke Holt
“Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.” The Collect for the Fourth Sunday in Lent, Book of Common Prayer
One can find a plethora of diet plans on the market today. One particular plan, the keto diet, has gained incredible traction in the past few years. The keto plan instructs the user to eat primarily fats and proteins while limiting carbohydrates. Low glycemic vegetables and fruits make up the allowable carb options. Unless those on this plan make or buy keto bread (which is not true bread but a high protein attempt at it), there is simply no bread – no sourdough bread, no whole wheat, not even sprouted bread is permissible. How does one function without bread? Why this deprivation? The Keto program reduces carbs in order to teach the body to burn fat for fuel; it looks to a different energy source which can help those looking to lose weight.
While I am not here to discuss the pros and cons of any diet plan, considering the ways our bodies produce energy intrigues me. This consideration reminds me of the conversation between Jesus and his disciples from last week’s Gospel reading. Jesus talked with the woman at the well in Samaria while the disciples went to the village for food. When they returned to the well, they were surprised to find Jesus speaking to a woman. Instead of questioning his conversation, they encouraged him to eat. Jesus responded, “I have food to eat that you do not know about” (John 4:32).
Like those on the keto diet, Jesus was energized without partaking of physical bread. As the disciples floundered to understand Jesus’ source of nourishment, he explained: “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work” (John 4:34). Doing the work of ministry nourished Jesus; it fed his heart and soul.
In today’s Collect, you pray to find your nourishment. not from store bought bread, but from the bread of heaven. As you hear the words spoken in communion, “The body of Christ, the bread of heaven” (Book of Common Prayer, Holy Eucharist p. 365), you are reminded of the spiritual nourishment. Jesus offered himself on the cross to make the way for your salvation and provision. Often, people look to him for salvation alone. Yet, the prayer of the Collect and the partaking of communion are reminders that Jesus wants to forgive you and strengthen you for this life while reminding you of the life to come.
As you continue in your spiritual disciplines this Lent, are you looking to Jesus to meet your needs, to be your salvation, strength, and provision? He has everything and is everything that you truly need. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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