Note: It is recommended that the word document provided in the "related assets" below should be used when printing the Leader's Edition of the I AM series.
I AM Leader’s Edition with Instructional Notes
Title: I AM Session 9: I AM the Bread of Life
Age: 8 to 12 years
Liturgical Time: Any
Doctrinal Content: 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
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?
Note: This session must be done after Divine Liturgy or prior to a major meal. Opening Activity: Once gathered after Divine Liturgy, inform the participants that there was an unfortunate accident and that there were no snacks and no coffee hour/parish fellowship available. If you get grumblings, just say you are sorry but they will just have to wait to eat. Ask them to be patient while you get a few items for the session. When you return, ask them for their forgiveness because you told them a small white lie: there is a snack and there is coffee hour! They will ask questions but indicate that all will be revealed soon!
10 minutes: Have participants finish workbook section from the end of The Light of the World and review previous lessons. Then introduce the topic of the day with the Bible verse below.
"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.”
10 minutes: Begin the session by asking the participants whether they have every really, really wanted something that it was almost like they were hungry for it, they wanted it so badly. Ask them to give some examples, and whether they ever got that thing. If any say yes, ask them how long they used it before they got bored with it and put it on the side and started wanting something else.
Ask them how they felt when you told them that something went wrong with snack/coffee hour and that they would have to wait almost another hour to eat. Did they feel even hungrier at that point? How did they feel when they were told that we were only kidding? Did they feel less hungry? How did their breakfast taste that morning? How do they feel if they don’t eat for a long time? Tired, grumpy, irritable? How do they feel after they eat? Better, happier, their usual self?
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.
15 minutes: At this point ask the class to just sit for three minutes – in silence, not moving. When the time is up, ask them how they felt.
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!
Ask if any of them took those three minutes to pray!
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.
10 minutes: Ask the participants if they know the story of the loaves and fishes. Review the story. Ask them, How is this like what Jesus tells us about Him being the Bread of Life? The disciples doubted Jesus and yet, what happened?
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 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, Holy Communion
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father Who Art in heaven , Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven . Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we _forgive_ those who trespass against us. And lead us not into _temptation_, but deliver us from the Evil One .
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?
In their workbook, have them write all of the different ways that they can come to Christ.
Wrap up class by reading the last paragraph on page 20 (“I am the bread of life….) to the end on page 21, which gives some examples as well.
Prosphora baking. Invite someone in your parish to come and teach the youth how to bake prosphora. Ask your parish priest if he can explain to the class what the seal means and how he uses it for Divine Liturgy.
Prosphora Baking Website - http://www.prosphora.org/
Lesson on Baking Prosfora – Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Youth Department http://www.goarch.org/archdiocese/departments/youth/youthworkers/sessions/prosphero
http://orthodoxeducation.blogspot.com/search?q=bread Optional activities:
- Ask one of your parish family to come and teach the group how to bake Prosphora or Pascha bread.
- Bake regular bread together and donate it to a local soup kitchen.
- Ask your choir director to teach the group how to sing a communion hymn and then have them begin singing it during Divine Liturgies. A perfect hymn to learn might be Bread from Heaven, which may be found in the book of Ukrainian Orthodox Hymns published by the Ukrainian Orthodox League.
Written by Natalie Kapeluck-Nixon and Kira Senadak
Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
Click on the title below to obtain each lesson currently available within the series.