Bread in the Arab World
In the Arab Middle East the word bread reeks with symbolism. Saying, “There’s salt and bread between us” implies a special relationship. A warning heard at a young age commands: “Never step over bread, for it is sacred.” Another admonition states, “If you come upon discarded bread along the road, pick it up and kiss it before placing it away from walking feet.”
Bread in the Old Testament
In the Old Testament, the sharing of bread symbolized friendship and hospitality. God provided for the traveling tribes-of-Israel’s hunger with a daily provision of fresh manna-a kind of heavenly bread.
Bread for Religious Jews
Religious Jews remember God’s gift of manna during their Friday evening Sabbath (Shabbat) meal by eating hallot, a braided white bread made with eggs and yeast and glazed with egg yolk. The meal begins with the reciting of the HaMotizi prayer: “Blessed are you, O Lord our God, who brings forth bread from the earth.”
Bread and Jesus
Jesus called himself the Bread of Life. When he broke bread and ate it with his disciples at the Last Supper, he commanded them to do this “in remembrance of me.” Bread became a symbol of the sacred covenant between him and all who believed in him.
God revealed his ultimate hand of fellowship when he offered us his Bread-Jesus, his only Son. By following Jesus we can experience his nurturing spirit in our lives. It is up to us to accept his covenant as our own.
Scripture: “This is the bread that came down from heaven.” John 6:58
Prayer: Lord, we know that growing stronger spiritually means our relationship with you must dominate our lifestyle. Help us to commit to that mindset. Amen.