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Mornings In The College Chapel by Francis Greenwood Peabody

XI THE BREAD AND WATER OF LIFE

John vi.35. Revelation xxii.17

Here, in the Gospel, the message of Christ is described as the bread of life, and, here, again, in the Book of Revelation, as the water of life. Bread and water -- the very plainest, most essential, every-day needs, the forms of nourishment of which we rarely think with gratitude, but which on no day we go without.

A great many people seem to think that religion is a kind of luxury in life, a Sunday delicacy, an educated taste, an unessential food, which one can, at his discretion, take or go without. But to Jesus Christ religion is no such super-imposed accessory; it is simply bread and water, the daily necessity, the fundamental food, the universally essential and normal satisfaction of the natural hunger and the human thirst. Let us, of all things, hold fast to the naturalness, simplicity, and wholesomeness of the religious life. Religion is not a luxury added to the normal life; it is the {31} rational attitude of the soul in its relation to the universe of God. It is not an accident that the central sacrament of the Christian life is the sacrament of daily food and drink. This do, says the Master, so oft as ye eat and drink it, in remembrance of me.

And how elementary are the sources of religious confidence! They lie, not in remote or difficult regions of authority, or conformity, or history, but in the witness of daily service, and of commonplace endeavor. |The word is very nigh thee,| says the Old Testament. The satisfying revelation of God reaches you, not in the exceptional, occasional, and dramatic incidents of life, but in the bread and water of life which you eat and drink every day. As one of our most precious American poets, too early silent, has sung of the routine of life: --

|Forenoon, and afternoon, and night! -- Forenoon,
And afternoon, and night! -- Forenoon, and -- what?
The empty song repeats itself. No more?
Yea, that is Life: make this forenoon sublime,
This afternoon a psalm, this night a prayer,
And Time is conquered, and thy crown is won.|

E. R. Sill. Poems, p.27 |Life.| Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1888.

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