In John 6, Jesus confronts the people who follow him from the feeding of the 5,000 to Capernaum because they are seeking more food that perishes instead of eternal life.
There are a wide varieties of bread but they all come from the same basic ingredients: flour, eggs, water and yeast. What types of flour are used, what we add to it, how we handle the dough is what makes the variety of breads.
In the Wesleyan tradition there are four entries into gaining eternal life: Scripture, reason, tradition, experience. Let’s think of Scripture as the flour because it’s the most important ingredient. But think about how you read Scripture: Do you use the white flour approach of literalism? Or do you learn the history surrounding the text or the times in which it was written? How might you relate that to a type of flour?
Let’s look at reason and tradition together because if you value all the theologians who have come before you more than what can be learned from current research, then you may see tradition as the egg that binds your bread together and reason as the water that thins the flour.
Or you may see reason as the egg while acknowledging the tradition as the best understanding of the time.
Experience is the next ingredient and that can be yeast if you’re making a bread or sugar if you’re making a dessert, but it’s the ingredient that gives life to the other ingredients. Experience is both everything that has made you who you are and your faith experience. It is how you see the world and interact with the layered stories in the Bible.
Now you’re going to personalize your bread with the gifts of the Spirit that make us unique or lead us to give back to God in different ways. Ephesians 4 contains an abbreviated list of the gifts. Consider your gifts and how they might relate to food – fruit, nut, icing, flavor.
Now have fun and create your bread of eternal life – either by baking or visually. It doesn’t have to be a loaf of bread, but could be a muffin, biscuit, cake, cupcake – whatever works best for you.