The Sun Being and the Bread of Life
‘I am the bread of life’ is the first of Jesus’s I AM sayings in John’s gospel (chapter 6:35). And it’s about a need fundamental to us.
The statement relates to the miracle of the feeding of the 5000, which appears in all four gospels. We can imagine that the beloved disciple witnessed this event. In John it is called a sign, semeion, one of seven the author chose, which point to the Christ power becoming embodied in the man Jesus.
Chapter six tells us that a crowd had gathered on the eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee eager to hear from the prophet and to see him perform some marvel. Jesus saw that the people were hungry, but the only food anyone had was five barley loaves and two fish. Nevertheless, Jesus told the disciples to go among the crowd and feed everyone. And amazingly all were fed with plenty left over. Jesus then instructed the disciples to collect this up so nothing would be wasted.
That evening the disciples were crossing the lake to Capernaum when a storm came up. Through darkness they saw Jesus walking on the water. The ‘apparition’ terrified them, but he said, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’ In the Greek this I is ego eimi (without the ‘it is’) – Jesus’s first self-reference as ‘I AM’. This interlude, as an introduction to I AM carries a teaching for us to have faith rather than doubt and fear - a good place to start the journey on the stormy ocean of life.
What of the crowd? Even more people were now looking for Jesus and they found him at Capernaum. ‘You seek me because your bellies were filled,’ he said. ‘Don’t seek the food that perishes. Seek instead for spiritual food.’ It seems that at least some listeners were open to this, and an exchange took place based on their familiarity with the Torah. It was then that Jesus made the revolutionary claim:
I AM the bread of life.
The deeds of Jesus described in the gospels are alive with deep significance beyond any literal meaning. The first Christians would hear and read about them with this understanding. In John’s gospel the discourses Jesus gave linked to the I AM sayings added depth for them to contemplate and grow in recognition. Likewise, today we are enriched when we explore the intention beneath the surface.
During the miraculous feeding, Jesus in whom the Christ, the divine I AM, was working offered spiritual food, and the power of Christ was released temporarily through the disciples as they walked among the people so that every person in that gathering felt nourished, although it was by the spirit. In this saying, lies a powerful truth concerning the I AM.
The ordinary human situation is that life is built around the senses – the needs and emotions arising from sense experience, and the mind’s ability to interpret and judge what comes from the sense world. We say this is real life. Experiences, imaginations and dreams that sit outside this may awaken a feeling for something more but usually this is not enough to intrude on ‘reality’.
‘I AM the bread of life’ speaks of a different reality. The Christ power of I AM brings nourishment on a higher level of life that belongs to the eternal realms. And this food that nourishes the soul offers us that wonderful gift of life.
But why is bread chosen?
It concerns the interaction between the power of the Sun Being, the Word, and Wisdom. Word and Wisdom, Logos and Sophia always come together in harmony in the higher realms. And they can do so on earth.
Working through the sun, the power of life fertilizes the seeds of the earth. Mother Earth nourishes those seeds and encourages them to reach for the sun that will enrich the growing seed heads. In this way the Sun-being works in harmony with the Earth soul. That is a model for us.
Human consciousness is extraordinary. We have discovered so much. If we had worked in harmonious tandem, our spiritual self with the earth soul, advances in thought, technology, medicine, science and culture would still have taken place. And there are many such discoveries that bless us. But from our lowest impulses has arisen the urge to use knowledge to dominate and destroy until that dreadful power has led us to a dire predicament for all life.
I have always felt that women discovered how to make bread – for they were in touch with the living earth’s wisdom and could contemplate this in their souls. Bread has not been plucked from a tree or pulled from the ground. Humans learned to choose, cultivate and harvest the raw materials for bread. Wheat is the most common, but other seeds and nuts have been used around the world. The idea of bread would follow. Human imagination, inspiration and intuition led us to the idea of bread. And then to bread making. What a marvel that the sun’s power was harnessed through human creativity and effort to make something completely new: life-giving bread.
There was an honesty in this creative activity in the realm of nature. But before any action, there had to be openness and receptivity to the voice of spirit. That is a quality of the feminine, the yin aspect of self that listens and hears what is true.
The Soul work
I AM the bread of life – I acknowledge your truth.
The sun that shines light on the world has long been associated with divine light. The sun’s light-filled rays are an image of the Christ, the Word, the I AM whose light is the life of human beings.
The Life in us is I AM. The truth is that the source of our creativity must be I AM. Any artist or scientist who wishes to bring something good and true into being experiences this.
In our myriad creative and innovative activities, however insignificant they may seem, it is important that we are nourished by spiritual food, the bread of life that comes from the divine Sun, the true light. I acknowledge this in the affirmation I work with. Creating anything in the world without this bread of life, without integrity, honesty and truth to purpose, is to welcome the lies that limit, distort, or destroy. For then we are blind and work in darkness.
When quietly contemplating the words of this saying, we allow them to enter our feeling levels and our consciousness. How does this image of I AM speak? Do any pictures arise? Any memories? Perhaps there is guidance for the onward journey. Or there may be a new personal truth-telling that brings unexpected nourishment. To acknowledge the truth of our spirit is to allow it to awaken our soul to life in its full potential.