The bread of life | | – Princeton Times Leader


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“And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” — John 6: 35

Many years ago I realized one of the greatest blessings of life is in the experiences we have. No matter what happens to us, only death can take away our experiences. Material possessions can be taken, but our experiences cannot. Who knows? We may even have those after this life on earth.

In my nearly three quarters of a century, I’ve had many experiences. Some of those I’d like to repeat, and some I would not. Kidney stones were an experience I would certainly prefer not to have again.

An experience many people seem to live for is the food we eat. I’ve noticed for example, in several countries, the types of bread are so different they cannot even be classified as the same product. In many countries, the bread has such a hard shell, the consuming of, could require a trip to the dentist. It is baked that way so it doesn’t have to be wrapped. Meals always include bread and often, bread and wine make an entire meal.

Another type of experience that is a “never forget,” are the people we meet. I often think of my former students, people I’ve met on mission trips and in churches and people with whom I have worked. Carpenters and other tradesmen are a unique, memorable and special breed of earthling that I consider to be the greatest in the world. Their skills and artistic talents in building can be witnessed all over the world.

People I worked with in my years of teaching hold a special place in my heart. The cafeteria cooks, custodians, maintenance personnel, other teachers and administrators are all included in the memories.

My favorite day at school was “hot yeast roll” day. Having had an ambition at one time in life to be a great chef did not work out in my plans. I have tried to make home-made bread several times and miserably failed. Several of my attempts could have been used to underlay a driveway or could have been used as weapons.

Joy, Ocie, Daisy, Louise, Martha, Mary and Gladys will always be at the top of my list of favorite people.

One of those “hot yeast roll” days, I just happened to be in the cafeteria (purely coincidental, of course). I asked “Who makes the yeast rolls?” I was referred to Mrs. Mary Cartwright. This lady was an artist totally beyond the class of Michelangelo or Rembrandt.

I remember her as a sweet lady, very quiet with a perpetual smile. I asked her “Do you mind if I ask, how do you make the yeast rolls?” Keeping in mind, she was preparing for six-hundred students, her measurements did not hardly meet my expectations.

I can see her as if it were happening right now. She pointed to a bucket hanging on a rack above the preparation table. “I start out with three buckets of self-rising flour.” As soon as I heard “three buckets of,” I knew this recipe was not going to work for me.

As the years passed I continued to thoroughly enjoy Mrs. Cartwrights yeast rolls but never attempted to duplicate them in Margie’s kitchen. Any time I worked with flour, the disaster destined to happen was “not a matter of if, but when, and how big.”

The experience of Ms. Mary’s yeast rolls will remain in my memory as a favorite. Of course, a few teaspoons of molasses or honey added to the pure pleasure. The memory of her and the other cooks, custodians, and other teachers will remain for the duration of this life.

Jesus described Himself as “the bread of life” in the leading scripture. He used “bread” in a comparative statement. Just as bread (food) is essential for life itself, Jesus is essential for eternal life. The Bible speaks of eternity (Romans 6: 23), and through His promise, by grace through faith (Ephesians 2: 8), those that believe will live eternally (John 3: 16).

Matthew 26: 26 “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, take, eat; this is my body.” What a phenomenal significance Jesus has placed on bread with this analogy. His body was nailed to a cross on that infamous day in Christian history. We are to consider with the highest regard this comparison He gave us.

No greater honor could be attributed to a food product than Jesus placed on bread and wine. The bread of life eternal and the sacrifice of His precious blood, symbolized by wine, the fruit of the vine, represent the cleansing power He has for our lives (1 John 1: 7) if we simply believe.

The Israelites survived forty years in the wilderness on manna provided by God. He indeed sees this food as the life giving substance for human survival. Manna, essentially is a word that means “what is it?” and is a bread-like substance that fell from heaven (Psalm 78: 24), and tasted like honey.

Jesus asked for bread in what we call the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matthew 6: 11). Bread, in this case, possibly refers to food in general but Jesus did not ask the sustenance of life to be meat or beans. We have learned, every word spoken by Him has great significance and “bread” is certainly no exception.

Woodrow Wilson said, “In the Lord’s Prayer, the first petition is for daily bread. No one can worship God or love his neighbor on an empty stomach.”

I have been given Mrs. Cartwright’s yeast roll recipe as follows: 2-1/4 cups water (lukewarm), 1 package dry yeast, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup shortening, Self-rising flour (no amount given but I’m sure it’s less than three buckets).

Mix water and yeast. Dissolve yeast and add sugar and shortening. Mix well. Add enough flour to make dough the consistency of biscuit dough. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until it is doubled. Punch dough down and put on a floured surface. Knead. Roll dough to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut rolls out with a biscuit cutter. Place on a greased cookie sheet and let rise again. Cook in a 350° oven until golden brown. Brush with melted butter. Enjoy.

Over the last 25 years, I have not seen any of the ladies of the cafeteria, or the custodians, and very few of the teachers with whom I worked. I pay tribute to them and if, by the chance, any read this article, here’s a big HELLO! And I wish you well.

One more thing: I’d love to hear from any of you; [email protected]

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