I’ve often wondered if a commentary on the Bible could be done in poetry. I’ve attempted several times as a means to prepare to preach a passage. But I don’t have the focus to see it through. Maybe someday.
Any language work, however, (translation or paraphrase) has the benefit of slowing the reader down, and slowing them down enough to meditate or masticate (chew) the words. Here are my thoughts on John 6 and the Bread of Heaven passage.
They asked him about the Bread of Heaven.
And so he told them:
“There’s no work that can earn it.
There’s no sin that can’t be overcome by it.
If you are in it you can’t resist it.
If you want it you won’t be denied it.
Moses didn’t give it.
He merely told them about it.
For it was the Father who gave them manna
And in a place they couldn’t make it.
And now, even as you hunger,
I am telling you that you are looking at it.
I am the bread come down from heaven.
The bread which satisfies,
Nourishes, sustains — upon which you can rely,
To which he testifies.
Don’t go spending your work and your toil on food that will spoil.
I am the bread.
The bread of all fulfilling,
The Cosmic Gospel-filling,
The fast-ending feast.
A table set for the least.
I have come to end the slow, hard, soul-famine
And give thrilling, life, joy, and peace.
And all fear ended.
I tell you, I am the bread of heaven.”
Are you hungry yet?
Do you want that filling?
Tired yet of that life you are killing
Yourself for and your spouse and mother and father and friend?
He’s the bread come down from heaven.
The bread of God unleavened.
Pierced and scored in the furnace of affliction,
Bearing for us , God’s malediction.
Cursed for our benediction.
Given for you and your Cosmic Hunger-Thirsting.
Given for you–to you.
It’s him, I’m telling you.
He feeds, nourishes, satisfies, justifies, makes holy and does it solely.
The door is wide open. If to him you’ve been given,
Give in. He’s gonna win
‘Cause the Father has called you–the Spirit will draw you.
Believe in him.
Look to him.
Are you hungry yet?
Afraid you’ve been left out of the feast?
Afraid you’re the least?
He said, “Whoever.”
That’s not you?
He said, “Whoever
Comes, I will never drum out of line
Come while there’s time.”
“I am the bread of heaven,” he said.
“And it’s the will of him who sent me
That I should lose none of those he’s given me.
But I shall win for them a standing in eternity
One long, glorious Olympic victory.
Forever singing the anthem,
‘Worthy, worthy, is the Lamb that was slain!'”
Praise Jesus name.
His love-banner flying overhead in his house of wine.
The love we’ll proclaim and enjoy for all time.
Eternal banquet filling and life and telling:
But with the angels shaking,
Stumped, new breaking in a glorious humility
A person quake,
Shaking our heads,
“Who would’ve believed, that he was the bread
Even for me?”
He said, “I am the bread of heaven.”
Do you hunger?
Do you wonder,
“Will I ever be satisfied?”
Believe in the Son who is himself now alive
Even though crucified.
And even if you die or have died,
On the last day you’ll be there
And full for time upon time
With the Bread of Heaven.