Bread and Light
Everlasting God, may the light of Your holiness and love expose any sinful ways that I am comfortable with.
Read Exodus 25:23-40
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Guide me, O thou great Jehovah, pilgrim through this barren land. I am weak, but thou art mighty; hold me with thy powerful hand” (W. Williams, 1717-91).
A curtain hid the most holy place, shielding the ark and atonement cover, but God ordained that powerful and abiding symbols, bread and light, be placed in front of it. The Hebrew slaves had known not just physical hunger but spiritual hunger. Slave-masters keep the slaves emotionally and spiritually starved, ensuring that overwork denies them time and energy for organized symbolic life, and that poverty and oppression so weigh them down that they are bled of hope. They had eaten the “bread of affliction” (Deut. 16:3). How powerful a symbol, then, is the bread of the presence, the invitation to offer bread to God and to eat in God’s presence, the promise of abundant nourishment today and forever! How significant the symbolism of bread was to Jesus’ ministry! Little wonder he ordained its use as an enduring, tangible sign of his death and rising. This is the bread that Pharaoh could not give, the bread that the world cannot give. It is “indeed right and our bounden duty” (Holy Communion, Book of Common Prayer) that we should remember Jesus in actual bread, bread that is seen, blessed, broken and distributed. It is enough for us, and more.
Light is a universally powerful image. We know the fear of darkness and we know the comfort of light. But there are places of worse darkness, places of the internal darkness of pain, fear, despair, enslavement and hatred. The lampstand looks back to the God who drove darkness away to defeat the forces of chaos, and forward to Jesus, the light of the world, in whose light there is no terrifying lostness, no fear of the power of death. The psalmist knew it: “They feast on the abundance of your house … in your light we see light” (Psa. 36:8,9).
Ponder how you are fed and ‘enlightened’ by Jesus. Pray for any further feeding or light that you may need from him.
Lord, how grateful I am to be nourished spiritually by You, the Bread of Life. May I feed on You more and more each day.
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