A small table covered by a white cloth, bearing a plate, a glass and two securely mounted candles
Some reddish liquid in a bottle or carafe
The science, history and theology are a little simplistic, but sound in outline.
There are a few slightly more complex words and ideas that younger listeners may not get.
The interactive questions are optional. Feel free to adapt.
Above all, make it lively.
I wonder if you can guess what I'm going to be talking about. I'm going to give you some clues. As soon as you think you know the answer, put your hand up but don't shout out. (Emphasise the underlined words in the clues):
- You start by gathering seeds from a special kind of grass whose scientific name is Triticum.
- You grind up the seeds into powder, then you mix it with water and a special type of fungus, to make a sticky paste.
- The fungus converts the natural sugars in the paste to gas, and the mixture swells up with a mass of tiny air bubbles, becoming soft & spongy.
- Finally, you put the mixture in a low oven for an hour or two. Then you eat it.
- But most people don’t bother with all this. They just buy it from a shop.
Get them to chorus the answer, then put the bread roll on the plate, and light the candles on either side of it.
Question: Who likes bread? What are some of the ways we eat it? (Optionally prompt for favourite sandwich fillings and related products like pizza and pasta. Be sure to show appreciation for all answers.)
Let me tell you something about bread. It’s the most common kind of food there is. But bread is more than just the world’s favourite food. It’s nothing less than the foundation on which modern civilisation was built. Does that sound crazy? Let me explain.
Before humans discovered how to grow wheat and make bread, they lived in tiny wandering tribes. It took all their time and energy just finding enough food to stay alive. But once they knew how to grow wheat and make bread, they began to settle down, to plant crops, and to build permanent towns.
Over time the towns grew into cities. It was no longer necessary for everybody to spend their time gathering food. The cleverest people had time to gather knowledge, to research more efficient ways of farming and organising the community. The long term results of that were science and technology and law and schools…and us.
So, bread is so much more than just the world’s favourite food. Bread was the great invention that allowed lots of other inventions to take place and made a global civilisation possible. It's no surprise then that bread is an important symbol to people.
Question: Can anyone think of a Bible story concerning bread?.... (Feeding the 5000, Temptations, Last Supper, etc.)
Let me tell you what I think are the two most important Bible sayings about bread. The first is where Jesus says: “I am the Bread of Life”. After all I’ve said about bread, about it being the foundation on which everything was built, don’t you think that is a remarkable thing for someone to say?
Question: What do you think Jesus might have meant by that?
And then on the night before he died, at the meal known as the Last Supper, Jesus told his followers something very surprising: Whenever you eat bread or drink wine, he said, I want you to think of me.
On the night before he died, he took the bread and broke it (tear the roll into several pieces and hold it out) saying, "This is my body, broken for you." (Put the pieces of bread back on the plate, then pour the 'wine' and hold it out) Then he passed the wine round the table, saying, "This is my blood, poured out for you." Then he gave them a command: "Whenever you meet together, do this as a way of remembering me." (Put the glass back on the table)
Just like there are many different types of bread, there are many different types of Christian around the world. But there's one thing we all have in common: When we meet, we still follow Jesus' last command: we share bread and wine together to help us remember all that Jesus said and did for us – especially his dying on the Cross. It’s our way of saying, "Jesus, you are the Bread of Life: the foundation on which our lives and our society are built. You’re as important to us as food and drink. We worship you and want to follow your teachings."
And there’s one particular teaching of Jesus that’s really important to Christians. As you all know, not everyone around the world gets all the food they need to stay healthy and happy. In fact, thousands of children like you are dying from hunger every single day from hunger. And Jesus says, if you care about me, you’ll care about the poor. You’ll make sure they have enough to eat, enough clothing and shelter to keep warm and dry.
Wouldn’t it be great if every time we ate bread, we remembered something: It’s not just our bodies that need feeding. We need to feed our minds and our hearts. For Christians, a big part of that is learning about Jesus and talking to him in prayer. But for all of us, whether or not we're religious, the key thing is to care for one another.
Let's bow our heads in prayer...
Backup question (if there is time in hand): What sort of things can we do to help people who don’t have enough to eat?