Saturday, 08 May 2021

Only true faith can satisfy our needs

HERE in Ipsden, as in other parishes near Henley, we have been celebrating Harvest Festival.

But due to covid-19, our annual service of thanksgiving to God has been held via Zoom.

We cannot meet in person to give thanks to God for his goodness, for food from the earth and for providing for our needs.

No possibility of Harvest supper and, above all, no Harvest loaf, beautiful bread made in the shape of a wheatsheaf, baked with a golden crust and traditionally shared at the supper.

So why is bread so significant in Christian belief?

The centre of all Christian worship is the sharing of bread and wine in the sacrament of Holy Communion, which we believe is the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

And when we say the Lord’s Prayer, we ask, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Bread is therefore one of the symbols of our faith: we are asking not only to be given enough for our material needs, such as food each day, but also to be sustained and strengthened daily by God’s grace. Bishop Steven, our Bishop of Oxford, explains the prayer as, “Give us this day just enough and help us to be content and to trust you for tomorrow.”

In other words, ordinary food and drink cannot satisfy our deepest needs; only true faith in Jesus, who describes himself as “the bread of life”, can do so.

Advertising seizes our attention at every opportunity, so that we have come to believe that acquiring more and more possessions will make us happy.

But we are not meant to be just consumers restlessly seeking novelty and material goods. It often leads to a sense of emptiness, so that we find ourselves wondering, “Is that all there is?”

God’s wish is for us to live a deeper, more fulfilled life by following him in faith and by trusting in him to provide for us.

The sharing of bread in worship, with prayer to be given enough for all our needs each day, can be, if we choose it, the path to true contentment in our lives.

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