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I AM Series Participant Workbook 9: The Bread of Life

I AM Participant Workbook

Title:  I AM Session 9:  I AM the Bread of Life

Age:  8 to 12 years

Liturgical Time:  Any

Doctrinal Content: “And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.'”

Direct Aims:  The I AM series aims to help young people understand their relationship to Christ and to others based on the I AM statements.

Indirect Aims:  An additional aim is for young people to understand specific ways that they may emulate Christ.

Materials for the Lesson Plan:
I AM Participant Workbook
Orthodox Study Bible Bible
No Man Ever Spoke as This Man: The Great I AM’s of Jesus by Fr. Anthony Coniaris

Lesson Plan:
What does the Bread of Life provide for us?
How do we learn to fill up on Christ, instead of on the things we want in this life?

John 6:35
“And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”

The Bread of Life
Our life is a little like that thing we really wanted, received and then got bored with, only to move on to the next thing. Nothing really make us filled up forever. Sometimes we don’t even know what we want, we just know that we want something. Only Christ can fill us up forever.  When we are feeling grumpy, tired, disappointed, or frustrated with life, lots of things may distract us for a short time.  Yet only Christ can make us feel better, happier, safer, and less frustrated in the long run. Getting closer to Him means getting farther away from those feelings.

Being unsatisfied
Did you ever feel like you just had to do something, ride your bike, get out of your house, yell or you would go crazy? When we feel restless it is because we are not finding the important things in life and are becoming bored and need to do something to liven it up. What we don’t realize is that all we need is Christ to fill it up. Think about all of the ways we could be helping others and doing what God wants us to do to fill that time!

Do you know anyone who has everything that they could think of but still is not happy? Things are nice, but they can’t fill us up and make us happy in the long run.  Only Christ, living in His way, showing His truth by doing good deeds, following His Light, and reading His words will truly fill us up. He tells us “I am the bread of life.  If you come to me you will never be hungry or thirsty.” This can mean physical hunger and thirst, but it also means those feelings of restlessness and dissatisfaction.

Matthew 14: 15-21
When it was evening, His disciples came to Him saying, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.” But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” He said, “Bring them here to Me.  Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Why Bread?
Why does Jesus so often use bread as an example? There are many reasons. Bread is a staple food that is easy to make with just a few ingredients. It makes you feel full easily, and you could live on bread and water alone if necessary.  Nearly every culture or country around the world incorporates some form of bread in their meals on a regular basis. At the time that Christ lived, bread was a necessity to live. Can you think of other ways in which we associate Christ with Bread?

The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father Who Art in ___________________, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your ____________________ be done on Earth as it is in _____________________. Give us this day our ________________________ and forgive us our trespasses as we _________________ those who trespass against us. And lead us not into ___________________ but deliver us from the                                                            .

Holy Communion
Following the Lord’s Prayer, early Christians would receive Holy Communion every day.  Why?  Because the Sacrament of Holy Communion is a gift for the healing of our souls and bodies. Just as we eat food and drink liquid to keep our bodies healthy, Holy Communion keeps our soul and body healthy by receiving Christ, the Bread of Life. If unable to partake of Holy Communion every day, early Christians would take home the Antidoron(Holy Bread) and eat a little bit every day.

Receiving the Bread of Life
Approaching the chalice to receive Holy Communion is one way to partake of the Bread of Life. Any time that we welcome Christ into our lives, we are receiving nourishment from the Bread of Life. Can you think of other ways to allow Christ into your life?

Written by Natalie Kapeluck-Nixon and Kira Senadak
Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA

Below is a link to access the complete I AM Participant Workbook and Leader's Edition, sessions 1-10 for ages 8 to 12 years.