BREAK THOU THE BREAD OF LIFE
Mary Ann Lathbury, 1841–1913
I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)
As Christians, our supreme occupation must always be with Christ Himself—not merely our church, denomination or religious system. Reading the Bible and spending time in prayer are vital to our spiritual well-being. But even these activities are a means to an end, the end purpose being that they bring us into a closer relationship with God Himself. Notice the words of this hymn:
Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord …
And in Thy book revealed I see the Lord.
Although it is often used as a communion service hymn, this hymn’s real teaching is that God’s Word—“the Bread of Life” should nourish our spiritual lives and bring us into an ever closer relationship with our Lord.
The hymn’s author, Mary Lathbury, was a longtime associate with the Chautauqua Assembly, a Methodist camp meeting located on beautiful Lake Chautauqua in New York. In 1877 at the request of the camp director, Miss Lathbury wrote these words to be used as a theme song for the Bible study sessions. The music was composed by the gifted music director of Chautauqua, William F. Sherwin. The hymn has since been widely used at the camp grounds, as it has been by Christians everywhere for times of quiet reflection upon the things of God.
Break Thou the bread of life, Dear Lord, to me, as Thou didst break the loaves beside the sea: Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord; my spirit pants for Thee, O living Word.
Bless thou the truth, dear Lord, to me—to me, as Thou didst bless the bread by Galilee: Then shall all bondage cease, all fetters fall, and I shall find my peace, my All in all.
Thou art the bread of life, O Lord, to me; Thy holy Word the truth that saveth me: Give me to eat and live with Thee above; teach me to love Thy truth, for Thou art love.
O send Thy Spirit, Lord, now unto me, that He may touch my eyes and make me see: Show me the truth concealed within Thy Word, and in Thy book revealed I see the Lord.
For Today: Psalm 63:1; 119:45; Jeremiah 15:16; Matthew 14:13-21
Determine that your life will reflect complete peace and contentment as you allow Christ to nourish and fill you with Himself. Use this hymn to help in this spiritual quest.
Osbeck, K. W.
- O God, thou art my God, early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee: my flesh longeth greatly after thee in a barren and dry land without water: Psalm 63:1
- And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts. Psalm 119:45
- Thy words were found by me, and I did eat them, and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for thy Name is called upon me, O Lord God of hosts. Jeremiah 15:16
- And when Jesus heard it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart. And when the multitude had heard it, they followed him on foot out of the cities. And Jesus went forth and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. And when even was come, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is already past: let the multitude depart, that they may go into the towns, and buy them vittles. But Jesus said to them, They have no need to go away: give ye them to eat. Then said they unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. And he said, Bring them hither to me. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were sufficed, and they took up of the fragments that remained, twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten, were about five thousand men, beside women and little children. Matthew 14:13-21