Pentecost Proper 13
From “Sitting on the Rainbow”
Artwork by Elsa Ingulsrud
Preparation: Bring a loaf of bread that has been broken into pieces and placed in a basket for easy distribution.
I brought some bread in a basket this morning. I’ll pass it around. You can help yourself to a piece of bread and then pass it to the next person. (Pass the bread around; continue talking as the children help themselves.) When we’re hungry, we can eat bread and it satisfies our hunger. Now this doesn’t happen very often, but once in a while we get so hungry that it hurts. And then even plain bread will taste good and it will stop our hunger. But if we eat this bread, will we get hungry again after a while? (Let children respond.) This bread doesn’t keep us from getting hungry again sometime in the future.
Every day we get hungry, and we need food. Wouldn’t it be great if food just fell from the sky and we could go out and collect it and then eat it? Do you know that actually happened once upon a time? Many, many years ago, God’s people, the Israelites, were traveling through a desert with Moses. They didn’t have enough to eat, and they got hungry and worried. So God sent bread from heaven. The people called that food “manna,” which means “what is it?” Every morning they went out and collected the manna. There was just enough food for everyone every day. They didn’t have to worry about being hungry any more.
Manna was bread God sent from heaven long ago. But do you know that God has sent us bread from heaven, too? Jesus is the true bread from heaven. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever be hungry again” (John 6:35 NLT). Jesus was not really talking about tummy hunger, but about heart hunger. People need spiritual food—the kind of love and care and goodness that God can give. When Jesus comes into their lives, they’re never heart-hungry again.
Heart hunger is sort of hard to explain. How many of you have felt tummy hunger before? (Children can raise their hands or talk about feeling hungry.) How many of you have ever really needed a hug or a snuggle, or needed to hear someone say, “I love you”? (Let children respond to your questions.) That’s heart hunger; it’s like spiritual hunger. That kind of hunger can hurt even more than tummy hunger. With Jesus in our hearts, we know for sure that we are always loved. Jesus fills us up with his love and forgiveness and we’re full. We’re not hungry anymore.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, Bread of life, thank you for filling us up and satisfying us with your love.