Why Fresh-Bread: Why Bread and why Fresh?
When we launched the concept of Fresh Bread Ministries, I, Christopher, believe in Jesus as the Bread of Life, and the One who makes all things new, who shares this essence of life in a way that if full of mercy and which is new every day!
In this I was reminded of Henri Nouwen’s four words, in 'The Life of the Beloved', that describe what Jesus is, has done and is doing for us in the symbolic nature of the Eucharist.
"When Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, he summarized in these gestures his own life. Jesus is chosen from all eternity, blessed at his baptism in the Jordan River, broken on the cross, and given as bread to the world. Being chosen, blessed, broken, and given is the sacred journey of the Son of God, Jesus the Christ... When we take bread, bless it, break it, and give it with the words 'This is the Body of Christ,' we express our commitment to make our lives conform to the life of Christ. We too want to live as people chosen, blessed, and broken, and thus become food for the world." (Heni Nouwen)
Jesus gives us what he does with us as genuine Christ-followers: He Took (Chose), Blessed, Broke and Gave.
We look at these one by one:
Jesus took the bread. No one comes to the father unless the Father draws them. God takes the initiative and chooses us, each one, for himself. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made. I am CHOSEN by God! As are you! We are PRECIOUS to Him. Each one of us is DIFFERENT and UNIQUE. God called a shy, insecure, introvert, like me to be His, and that is my greatest honour. I bear witness that God can use very ORDINARY people!
FBM was chosen by God's Grace and the discernment of a group of people, and now supported by many, to assist people and congregations focus on Jesus and Gods mission, by sharing the good news and mission of Jesus with innovation.
God is the One who seeks to always bless. As God blessed Abram in genesis 12, we are blessed to be a blessing. God has a wonderful dream and plan for my life and yours! God believes in us, even before we believe in God! God takes the initiative and places on us God’s abundance of life and love. We are only able to bless others, because we have been blessed. It is modeled for us in Jesus, through His life, death and resurrection how to do this. We are called on to bless and not curse, to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. We are to bless as we are blessed.
FBM has been deeply blessed with rich and real relationship with people and teams, in Fresh.Africa, OC Africa, the FBM Board and team, the University of Pretoria, as well as with denominations and congregations. We have been supported and loved and doors have been opened to us where God guides us to go. There has been much freedom and joy while doing the work.
Jesus breaks the bread. Jesus’ body was broken for us. This is a bread with the old Covenant as it was, affirming what was good about it, yet making a new Covenant built on self-giving love. What do we do with our brokenness? Jesus embraces our brokenness and sin and leaves it nailed it the cross. We have the courage to then embrace our brokenness and let Jesus heal us. Yes, I am a broken, sinful person, and I accept that. I don’t have to be because there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. As I embrace my brokenness and God’s healing, it can become a BLESSING! This blessing is only possible through this break with the past. John 12: 24 says. “Very truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.’ The breaking is a letting go pf the past and receiving a new promise for the new thing that God is doing.
During 2018/9 FBM is moving into and through the season of multiplication. In the Gospels, when Jesus fed the 5000 it was because the bread was broken and multiplied. The miracle is found in the multiplication of the loaf. God is multiplying the offering of the 'bread' we offer. We find this model very helpful and meaningful.
Jesus gave himself to us and for us. His life is given that we may have life. The bread is given that we may be fed, so that we can feed those to whom God sends us. This is the apostolic calling to go to those who are far from God and offer them Jesus. I can GIVE and serve others, for in doing so I lose myself, I so find my true self.
When we are giving ministry away, we release any control of the work of God for God to do God's work in God's world!
Sometimes we feel so ordinary and insignificant. Can anything I could do be of value and make any difference! I do, however, believe and trust in a God who takes the offering of the little child at the feeding of the 5000 and does something amazing with it. I give Jesus what I have, and who I am, and trust that He will do as He wills and has promised. As one of God’s chosen, I seek to bless, to be broken, and give in service of God’s Kingdom.