Bread of Life

Exodus 16:4a, 13-14, 31
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I will rain down bread from heaven for you.  The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day.’…That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp.  When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost appeared on the desert floor…The people of Israel called the bread manna.  It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.”

John 6:35, 57
“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life.  Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty…Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.’”

Acts 14:17
“Yet he has not left himself without testimony:  He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”

Heavenly Father, you provide a table where we can taste everlasting life.

Our hungry cry stirs your ready compassion.  Daily we receive your wondrous flakes of honey upon our desert floor.

breadRain down upon us the sustaining bread of heaven.  May we gratefully feed our starving souls with the manna of joy.

This we ask in the name of Christ Jesus; his body the sweet bread broken for us, given for mornings without end.

Listen to ‘At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing’ by Wen Reagan

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2 Kings 5:2-3, 14a
“Now bands from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, ‘If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.’…So [Naaman] went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored…

Matthew 20:26b-27
“‘…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’”

Ephesians 2:4-5, 8b-9
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved… through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Father God, you choose the small, the weak and the poor to bring hope to the world.

captiveA powerful stranger to grace receives healing through a lonely, lowly child of God.  The miracle of restoration is not the result of reluctant and seething obedience, but the faithfulness of a servant.

Remind us that our freedom comes at the cost of a Saviour’s captivity.  It is not by our own diligent efforts, but by the generousity of one who owes us nothing.

We ask this in the name of Christ, who as a servant to all offers us a baptism into wholeness.

Listen to ‘Pensive, Doubting, Fearful Heart’ by Red Mountain Music

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Job 23:10
“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”

Isaiah 60:17a, 19b
“Instead of bronze I will bring you gold, and silver in place of iron…for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.”

1 Peter 1:6-7
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may prove genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

Glory to you, great King above all kings.

Gold We come to you, tarnished and unshaped, and with the touch of a merciful flame you purify us into precious gold.  The dross of pride you consume, the nugget of faith you refine.

Take us from earth’s dull ore and transform us so that we shine with the lustre of authentic love.  By the purity of our lives may we reflect your light.

Our prayers we lay before you in the name of Christ, who surrendered to the greatest test to purchase our most costly gift.

Listen to ‘Come Down O Love Divine‘ by the Gentle Wolves

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Ruth 2:14
“At mealtime Boaz said to [Ruth], ‘Come over here.  Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar.’  When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain.  She ate all she wanted and had some left over.”

John 6:9, 11, 13
“’Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?’…Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted…So [the disciples] gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.”

Hosea 10:12
“Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.”

Great Provider, your hand turns the seed planted into the basketful harvested.

In your economy you bless the ordinary and make it abundant.  By your transforming hand the lowliest offering becomes a source of life for the multitude.

barleyThough we are ungenerous in nature, do not give us permission to think of you as a withholding God.  Release from our clenched fists the small kernels we cling to, so that through them we can feed the hungry with joy and plenty.

This we ask in the name of Jesus; his body broken for us as barley bread, filled with love unfailing.

Listen to ‘Great Is Thy Faithfulness’ by Dave Hunt

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Job 42:7-9
“After the Lord had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, ‘I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.  So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves.  My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly….’  So Eliphaz…Bildad…and Zophar…did what the Lord had told them; and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer.”

1 John 2:1-2
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.  But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.  He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

1 Samuel 12:20b, 22-23
“You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart…For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own.  As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you.”

Righteous Judge, you desire the end of all foolish and evil things.

You do not withhold your anger, but with complementing force you raise up an intercessor.  Without diminishing your wrath against our sin, you strengthened the voice of our mediator.

advocateLet us rest in the knowledge that you faithfully give a hearing to the advocate for our souls.  As we have received mercy, teach us to plead on behalf of those who do wrong.

We know our prayer is heard because of Jesus Christ, who in resurrection power has made atonement to ably and compassionately contend for us.

Listen to ‘Come Ye Sinners’ by Holy City Hymns

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Covenant of Peace

Malachi 2:5-6
“My covenant was with [Levi], a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name.  True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips.  He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin.”

Ephesians 2:13-15, 17
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.  For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations…He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.”

Isaiah 54:10
“‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”

Righteous Lord, in Christ you offer a truce to hearts that battle against you.

We surrender our selfish assertion to obey only the commands we understand.  With reverence we submit to the ways you leave unexplained, and we withdraw from the war our natural selves wage against you.

covenant of peaceMay we accept with gratitude the covenant of peace you freely place before us.  Turn our rebellious fight into reconciliation as we see the beauty of your compassion.

This we ask in the name of Christ Jesus, the binding promise of our saving peace.

Listen to ‘Hymnal’ by Trent

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Genesis 37:23-28
“So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the richly ornamented robe he was wearing—and they took him and threw him into the cistern…As they sat down to eat their meal they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites…Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt…So…his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver…”

 Luke 18:24-27
“Jesus looked at him and said, ‘How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!  Indeed it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’  Those who heard this asked, ‘Who then can be saved?’  Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with men is possible with God.’”

 Revelation 2:8b-9a
“These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.  I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich!”

God of all goodness, you offer the only treasure that turns our hearts from coveting to compassion.

You stripped Joseph of both wealth and arrogance and led him on a camel-back journey, positioning him perfectly as your humbled servant.  His affliction became his salvation.

camelsWhen we cling to gaudy symbols of our own status, free us from the ornaments that hinder our walk with you.  Help us lose our lives so that we may slip through the narrow way and enter the kingdom.

This we ask in the name of the one who became impoverished so we might become impossibly rich through him, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Listen to ‘Upon a Life I Did Not Live’ by Sandra McCracken

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