Bread of life — Family faith formation @ home: August 8



Invite various persons to bring a designated item and use this liturgy to begin your time of learning together. 

One:    Come, let us gather around and see how the Spirit will nurture our faith today.

All:      Who is with us?
One:    Christ, the light of the world.
(Place a candle on a table in your gathering place and light it.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:   The Love of God, who came to meet us in the world.
(Place a cross on a table in your gathering place.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:    The Wisdom of God, who speaks through the Scriptures.
(Place an open Bible on a table in your gathering place.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:    The Grace of God, who proclaims we are children of God.
(Place a symbol of baptism – a bowl of water, a seashell – on a table in your gathering space.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:    Our risen Lord, who meets us at the table.
(Place a symbol of communion – a plate and cup, a loaf of bread, grapes – on a table in your gathering space.)

One:    We are here, Holy Spirit, ready for your leading.

God sightings and prayer offerings 

Invite each person to share where they saw or experienced God this week. Invite each person to share something — a person, community, experience, event, etc. – for which they want to offer prayer. 

Good and gracious God, we thank you for all the ways you were and are present in our lives and in the world. [Invite each person to say aloud the sighting they named earlier.] We bring our prayers to you, prayers for… [invite each person to say aloud the prayer need they named earlier]. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen

Connecting with Scripture: John 6:35, 41-51

Read the scripture aloud the first time using the New Revised Standard Version or the Common English Bible.

For the second reading, invite someone to read the narrator part, another to read the words of Jesus and the remaining people to read the crowd part.

Connecting through story

“Something Inside So Strong” is a song used every day in the Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom Schools. The servant leaders (college students) and student scholars (grades K-12) have added motions. In this clip, servant leaders (current and alum) have gathered for CDF’s 40th anniversary celebration. You can learn more about Freedom Schools here and here.

  • What is the message of this song?
  • What is the “something” inside each person that is so strong?
  • Why is the “something inside so strong” important?

Connecting with our lives

Engage in dialogue:

  • What does it feel like to be hungry or thirsty?
  • In what ways does it interrupt life?
  • What do you think Jesus meant when he said “I am the bread of life”?
  • Jesus was talking to a group that included his fellow Jews. What story from their faith do you think they thought about when the heard the phrase “bread from heaven”?
  • How is God providing bread in the wilderness and God providing Jesus as the bread of life similar or connected?
  • The Jew’s ancestors complained in the wilderness and they are complaining now. Why do you think they are complaining?
  • Jesus is not literarily bread, so how does he provide life?
  • What does it mean for Jesus to give us life?
  • The text mentions “they shall be taught by God.” What were the ancient Israelites taught by God giving them bread to eat each day in the wilderness? What is God teaching us with Jesus as the bread of life?
  • How is living in Christ different from just living?
  • What empowers us to live as Christ raised us to live?
  • What gives you strength when we are struggling?
  • What is the “something so strong” in you that gives you life and strength?
  • How do you know it’s there?
  • What can you do to remind yourself that Jesus (the Holy Spirit) continues to live in you and give you life and strength?

Teaching points that can be incorporated into your discussion:

  • Last week we explored the story of the ancient Israelites in the wilderness who were hungry and complained to the point of wishing they were still enslaved.
  • God heard their cries and gave them bread from heaven to eat and relieve their hunger.
  • They were taught God’s ongoing providential care through the command to only pick up enough bread for one day. They learned to trust that God would provide.
  • Jesus’ people, the Jews, had waited and hoped for a very long time for God to send the new Messiah. They had endured exile and a significant loss of power through the years as a consequence of their own unfaithfulness. They had lived for many years under the rule of other government. They wanted their own sovereignty and power to be restored and believed in the prophets’ message that a new Messiah would be sent by God to deliver them.
  • Christians believe Jesus was the new Messiah sent by God and the fulfilment of the prophecies.
  • Jesus’ idea of deliverance was very different than his people’s expectation. They had in mind a military messiah as a means of release from bondage.
  • Jesus as Messiah came to set captives free from all that shackled and kept people from full, abundant and faithful life.
  • In the preceding verses in John 6, the disciples and the crowd ask for a sign so they would know they could continue to do the work Jesus’ had set before them. Jesus, the rabbi, took the opportunity to teach them that it is God who does the work. It is God who gives life through the bread the God provides. In verse 34 they reply, “Sir, give us this bread always.” It is here today’s passage picks up.
  • It is God, through the gift of Jesus, that gives and empowers life. It is the continuing presence of God in Christ through the Holy Spirit that makes us strong and faithful — not our own doing or the doing of any one leader, but God’s work and presence in and through us.

Play the song “Something Inside So Strong” again and this time stand and join in the singing and the motions as a reminder that the Bread of Life, Jesus, lives in and through you, giving strength and courage.



Close your time together by praying for one another, your neighbor, community and the world.


REBECCA DAVIS is the associate professor of Christian education at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina. A teaching elder and certified educator, she served congregations for over 20 years before moving into academic teaching. In addition to teaching and mentoring students, her passion is child advocacy and ministry.