Bread of Heaven

Ben Van Arragon

Read: Exodus 16:1-8

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you . . . ” (v. 4)

In 1943, US airman Louis Zamperini spent 47 days adrift in a life raft. He subsisted on rain water and the occasional fish. Once, on the brink of starvation, Zamperini uttered a desperate prayer. Immediately an albatross landed on the raft, providing what Zamperini needed to survive. The bird was more than food: Zamperini experienced it as a sign of divine mercy.

As they navigate a barren wilderness, the Israelites wonder aloud what they will eat. In answer, the Lord rains down manna—bread from heaven. Years later, on the border of the Promised Land, Moses reminds God’s people of this miraculous provision: “[God] fed you with manna . . . that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” (Deut. 8:3).

We are physical beings who need material sustenance. But we are also spiritual beings created for the eternal sustenance of communion with God. God in his mercy offers bodily sustenance in ways that remind us of our spiritual hunger. During his earthly ministry, Jesus says, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35). Jesus then gives the sacrament of communion, a physical enactment of the spiritual sustenance of his poured-out life. In times of material need, we experience God’s miraculous help, while savoring the spiritual intervention of our communion with Christ. —Ben Van Arragon

As you pray, expect God’s help and celebrate God’s divine mercy.