How much is enough? That is a question we ask ourselves every day. How much is enough money? Enough room in our apartments? Enough time with people we love? Enough food to eat.

King David gave a terrible answer to that questiuon. He had all the money and women and power, but all that was not enough. He wanted more when he looked down from his palace at Bathsheba bathing and decided that he wanted her too. So, as we heard last week, he arranged for her husband to be killed and took her as his latest wife. Today’s reading tells us of the confrontation with Nathan the wise prophet. Nathan describes a man who had everything and still wanted a little ewe lamb, wanted it enough to kill the master and take the lamb. David was angry and said that the man should be killed. Nathan said, “You are the man!” David saw the truth of Nathan’s confrontation and repented, but Uriah was dead and he kept Bathsheba.

There may be no more terrible example of the greediness of humankind.
But we are alll more or less in the same boat. All of us have known times when we wanted more, more than we really needed. Just wanted more food. More drink. More room. More poweer. More appreciation by others.
Maybe the most common wish for more is the wish for more food.We all know what it is like to be tempted by more food than we really need. Tomorrow I will do right. Today I will have a second helping. Or a third. As someone in the Tuesday Bible Study said, “We want to fill some empty place inside of us that is not filled by more food.

Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. He who eats of me will never hunger.” One of the most inspiring phrases from the whole Bible. It is filled with many meanings.
Mother liz preached at the beginning of this season of Pentecost about the great mystery of Springtime, the mystery of big flowers and even bigger trees that grow from tiny seeds. 

Today, Jesus gives us the occasion to consider the mystery of bread, rising from a lump of dough.

We can imagine people living many centuries ago, still living in caves, who first discovered leaven, yeast. They put together some flour, itself extracted from the miracle of wheat, added a little water and or oil and then, somehow the yeast, the leaven was also added. The lump of dough was left, and then miraculously, the lump began to rise. All by itself. Perhaps some wise men said some prayers. Maybe people chanted. When the lump of dough, now bigger, was put into the fire, it rose even more. Like snakes who could walk without legs; birds who can fly in the sky, it was miraculous. We take such things for granted, foolish as we are. But they, those primitive people, could appreciate what they beheld, and could be amazed. 

So Jesus was saying, “I am Bread. I rise from a wet lump and fill your life with fragrance, with delicious taste, and I nourish you! I keep you alive”
And so we pray, “Give us this dy our daily bread. The Lord did not suggest that we pray for sushi or caviar or filet mignon, but just for bread.

I have a confession to make. I love bread. I even imagine that I could live on bread alone. Especially if it were bread and butter. Is there any finer feast than warm bread, right out of the oven, dripping with butter?!
But I digress.

The earliest mention of bread in the Bible is in the curse of Adam. Because of his disobedience, his exercise of freedom, God decrees that he will have to work. From the sweat of his brow, he will do all that he must do in order to eat: till the soil; plant the grain; harvest the wheat; grind the flour; mix the dough and bake the loaves in order to eat. Lots of work!

So for centuries hunger has seemed to human beings to be an insatiable enemy, never satisfied for long, always driiving us to do more, to get the next loaf of bread, just to stay alive.

However, bread also comes miraculously. There is the strange story of Moses in the wilderness. He had led them out of slavery into the wilderness and now they were hungry, probably starving. They went to sleep angry with Moses for causing them to lose the security that they had as sklaves under Pharaoh. When they woke up they found that bread had come down from heaven and covered the ground around them. Scholars have puzzled over the word for bread or manna, not exactly bread. One scholar even suggested that it must have been more like corn flakes. Whatever it was, the story entered into the heart of the memory of God’s people. They were hungry, starving, and they were fed. God fed them with food from heaven.

And then again, Jesus followers, great crowds were hungry and there was not nearly enough bread. But Jesus blessed what bread that they had and, miraculously, it was enough to feed the entire crowd. The loaf was one of the earliest Christian symbols, even before the cross, standing for the sufficiency, the providence of God.

So when Jesus says, “I am the Bread of Life,” he means “I am enough. If you eat of me, you shall never be hungry.”

Our guests who come to the Soup Kitchen might argue with me, perhaps with some heat, disagreeing with my pious words about hunger, about Jesus being enough. Who am I to argue back. I have never unwillingly missed a meal in my life. So I cannot speak from my own experience, but only tel;l of those who have prayed their way through times of terrible hunger. Some of them have continued to say, “Jesus is all I need. Jesus is enough.”

The Greek word for body is “soma,” and the Greek word for loaf is also “soma.” For us, they come together in the glorious nourishment of the Eucharist. We receive Jesus’ bread. We receive Jesus Body.

But there are more meanings, more to be learned. In putting together the Body and the Bread, Jesus is helping us to be more appreciative of our bodies. Christians have had  a nervous relationship with our bodies ever since we read St. Paul to see the body in conflict with the spirit. The body was supposed to be bad, ther spirit good. This parish has a long tradition of speaking against that false dichotomy. If we are led into temptation, we are as much led by our spirits as by our bodies. If we find strength and inspiration, it is as much from our bodies as from our spirits.
When I think about these things, I think of my mother. She had a painful relationship with her own body. She even said that she thought that the Creator had an off day when he created the means by which we reproduce ourselves. She thought the whole thing, sex, pregnancy and childbirth was a flawed arrangement. I have needed zillions of hours of psychotherapy anbd much prayer to climb out of the mess all that sadness of my mother left in me. She did not see the body as a beautifulk thing to be loved and appreciated.

So when she finally went to be in a retirement home, I was not surprised to get a call a few days later from the Social Worker. “Do you know that your mother is a very determined woman?” “Yes,” I said, “I am very well aware of that.” “Well she is very determined not to take a bath.” I said that I could believe that. “Well, do we have your permission to give her some medication to calm her down and make it more possible for our staff to bathe her?” “Yes, you certainly do.” 

When I went to see her a couple of days later, she was sunshine itself, bathed and qoiffed and happy. As I wheeled her down the corridors, she was waving, like Queen Elizabeth to other people and even to the vases of flowers on the shelves.
 I love my mother and do not wish to demean her. It was a blessing that the medication she received was able to make her more truly herself. She, in her late 80’s, like me in my mid seventies, had a body a little more like dough than she or I would like it to be. There are alll kinds of beauty, all kinds of bodies. God offers us the opportunity to recognize the beauty in our own bodies. We can appreciate the miracle of all our parts that work well even if there are some parts that do not work as well as we would like.

My mother would rather have died than have any other human see her without clothes. Doctors appointments were a battle ground. It is sad to think of all that meant about her sense of herself. Many of us share at least a little of that same feeling. In putting together the Bread and the Body, Jesus is offering to set us free from all that. I am not suggesting that we form a nudist society here at Holy Apostles, but we can be part of a secret society that is happy with our bodies, happy that they work as well as they do, happy about partners and lovers over the years who appreciated them and help us even today to be glad about our bodies.
Virginia Satir, great leader of the human potential movement told of a woman, Polianka, years ago who was brought to her by her children because she was having increasing trouble walking. Her legs were weakening. Virginia had her sit down and put her legs on a low chair. Virginia said that they looked grey, like dough. She then heard a little of Polianka’s story, a long one. She had been in Poland, a girl of seventeen, when the Nazis came. She barely escaped with the clothes on her back, running into the woods. She then walked and ran all the way across Europe and got to England finally, where she lived the rest of her life to that moment. Virginia said, “Polianka, I want you to pull up your skirt a little bit and stroke your legs very gently. And Polianka shyly did as she was told. Then Virginia said, I want you to say thank you to your legs. “Thank you legs for carrying me all my life. Thank you legs for helping me walk mile after mile to escape danger. Thank you for running, when I needed you to run, so that the Nazis would not catch me!” Polianka did as she was told. Virginia asked that she do that several times each day. Polianka had felt that her body was her enemy when she was young because she was pretty and men were mean to her so she had to learn to make friends with her body. You have guessed the ending, her grey legs turned pink under Polianka’s new love for them. She walked finally, without trouble.

Life’s problems are not always so easily solved. But all of us can give thanks today that we are about to receive the Bread of Life, The Bread we receive is the Body of Christ and we rejoice as we eat it and feel it becoming part of our bodies. We, who are many are one Body for we eat of one heavenly food. Thanks be to God for the Bread of Life! It is enough.