By Diana Bridges
The Roman Empire was well known for its bread and circuses strategy. The idea was simple. Keep people fed and entertained and they’ll be easy to rule. Though the term was coined in the century after Christ, some who were attracted to the ministry of Jesus seemed to be looking for that kind of spectacle. They wanted to see him heal. They wanted to see how he’d respond to the latest ploy of his enemies. And they wanted a free meal. It was a little like dinner theater. Jesus, of course, was happy to heal and feed all who needed it and to show that the Kingdom of God was much bigger and more wondrous than previously imagined. However, he didn’t want any to settle for bread that would satisfy for only a few hours. He wanted them to welcome the bread that gives life to the world (John 6:33).
This bread, though truly satisfying, is paradoxical. While it nurtures the ones who receive it, it also awakens a new hunger to share life with all those for whom it was intended. Churches which have feasted on this bread are hungry to live out the priorities of Jesus in bold ways and unexpected places.
We are reminded of the wondrous incarnation of Jesus, the Bread of Life, each time we taste communion bread, each time we really hear the carols we sing, and each time we are enabled to see our community with his eyes. Just as in the days when the gospel was new, our neighbors need an encounter with good news that has a pulse, and that is no stranger to laughter or tears.
This Advent, may God satisfy us with the Bread of Life while making us hungry to live for the good of others.