There is a saying in French “Un bon repas doit commencer par la faim” meaning hunger is the best spice.
We all know from personal experiences instances when we were so hungry, certain foods tasted extraordinary or something we didn’t usually care for was more than palatable. Hunger made our perception of the food change.
Food is interesting to contemplate from a human perspective.
Obviously, like oxygen, it’s 100% necessary to sustain our lives. But unlike animals and plants, we don’t just have to eat what is available in our habitat that our bodies are designed to eat; we can prepare many different things God created and enjoy them in countless ways. Every culture and all peoples have developed signature dishes and cuisines they prepare with detailed attention. And every person is drawn to the “comfort foods” they know from their youth.
Besides simply sustaining life, food becomes art.
It is prepared to behold, to savor and to appreciate with all five senses. The feel of warm bread in the palm of your hand, the smell of a simmering soup, the sizzle of frying bacon and the exquisite detail of a 7-tiered wedding cake draw the human senses together in the wonder of food.
Which brings me to the Bread of Heaven.
It is not something that is relished for its taste but the beauty beyond it is more than humans can perceive. No one talks about how it is overwhelmingly delicious but all who get to know the change it brings to the body and soul are mesmerized and fall more and more deeply in love with the King of the Universe.
What makes it extraordinary is unique to the person receiving.
Their personal experience, their prayer life and their relationship to the Savior cumulate in the life-sustaining and grace-giving reception of the Body of Christ. Their takeaway is exactly what they need because the God of All knows each person uniquely and gives precisely what they need.
Just as eating any food, we can’t appreciate the Gift unless we are hungry. We need to long for Him and ask Him to teach us to yearn for Him. Bread is a simple meal. About as plain as they come. But the richness and fullness that Jesus provides is not of this world. Partake of Him and savor all that is.