‘I am the bread of life’

Published 8:55 pm Thursday, June 18, 2015

One can hardly read a single book of the Bible without coming across a scripture about bread, as reporter Matthew Ward pointed out in his story in Sunday’s paper about the bread ministry at Oakland Christian United Church of Christ.

In the Old Testament, the Israelites were fed with manna, a bread-like substance. Jesus Christ told followers that He was the bread of life. On at least two different occasions, He used a few loaves of bread to feed thousands. He used it as an object lesson to demonstrate that His body would be broken to atone for the sins of each individual who has ever lived.

“Biblically, bread is very symbolic,” said Jason Stump, director of Christian education at Oakland Christian.

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Spiritually symbolic and everyday-practical are the reasons bread ministries are such a popular outreach in today’s church. Oakland Christian is no different in that it has turned to bread ministry as one of its many programs to serve the community and ultimately show others the way to salvation.

But while some churches simply hand out bread at their locations, the young people at Oakland Christian are getting a bit more involved.

Last Saturday, they visited a local park to hand out 50 loaves of bread they had purchased at Walmart. The heat and other factors kept away a few church kids as well as a few potential recipients, but there were still plenty of people in need of a little bread — perhaps physically, perhaps spiritually.

Each loaf of bread had one of those many aforementioned scriptures attached, and the church also did a bit of advertising for folks to come to their Vacation Bible School.

Previous bread outreaches in the neighborhoods surrounding the church have found that some people are truly in need, not just of bread but also of social interaction.

“People are shutting themselves in more than they realize,” Stump said.

If the bread ministry reaches even one person in need of physical or spiritual nourishment — and it likely already has — it will be a worthwhile endeavor.