The grain of wheat that dies

Approx. read time: 2:40 min.

Bread, so simple, so elemental. “Take, eat,” the Master says.


I am thinking about Jesus.

I am thinking about bread.

I am thinking about wheat.

I am thinking about the people of Ukraine.

I am thinking about Jesus.

It’s a circular thought, I notice. Coherent, complete.

I think about Jesus on the night of his arrest, at table. His words are spare. Time is short. He meets the urgency of the moment with these words: “Take, eat. This is my body.”

This, this, is my body. This common unleavened bread? My body.

The heralded one, Prophet, Healer, Teacher, Messiah, takes in his hands the common bread, knowing that his life comes down to this: being bread, sharing your life, your substance, with those at table, including the one who will betray you.

He doesn’t lean on his credits and credentials. He takes bread in his hands, bread, so simple, so elemental to life.

This, he says, is the core of me, what my life has come to, hidden, soon to be hidden in the dark of the earth, like seed for new harvests of wheat, new forms of bread.

I think of the people of Ukraine, wheat people for much of the world. They sow and tend and harvest living gold from the rich humus of Earth.

Except now they lie dead in their streets, hands tied behind their backs. I feel another stab to the soul of humanity.

Hands tied behind the back, hands nailed to wood. Jesus knew this tethering.

The reality and sight of it all is one more wound upon the soul of the world, because hands were made to bless, to craft, to caress. 

We know this. You know it, and I know it. And that’s why war on people is so cruel. None of us escapes the wounds. We were made for something more, something beautiful, fruitful, and good.

What did Jesus amount to? He tells us: bread. He was more than his teaching, his healing, his prophetic witness. He was bread, broken, shared.

And he tells us: Go, do the same, in memory of me. Amount to bread. Give yourself away, as nourishment, even to the traitor in your midst.

I’ll share with you something I wrote in an essay titled “Your Attitude Must be Christ’s,” in my first book, Touching the Reign of God:

If I address Jesus as Teacher, I can expect that he will teach me. If I seek to truly pattern my life on the life of my Teacher, I can expect that what I do will be lost on most people and that in fact my ministry will diminish and be taken away from me, the grain of wheat that dies so that God can reap the harvest.

I want to live like this always: the grain of wheat that dies so that God can reap the harvest.

And you? How are you bread for the world you touch? Let me know.

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