1 Break now the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
as once you broke the loaves beside the sea.
Beyond the sacred page I seek you, Lord;
my spirit waits for you, O living Word.
2 Bless your own word of truth, dear Lord, to me,
as when you blessed the bread by Galilee.
Then shall all bondage cease, all fetters fall;
and I shall find my peace, my All in all!
3 You are the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
your holy word the truth that rescues me.
Give me to eat and live with you above;
teach me to love your truth, for you are love.
4 O send your Spirit now, dear Lord, to me,
that he may touch my eyes and make me see.
Show me the truth made plain within your Word,
for in your book revealed I see you, Lord.
Psalter Hymnal, 1987
|First Line:||Break thou the bread of life|
|Title:||Break Thou the Bread of Life|
|Author:||Mary A. Lathbury (1877)|
|Liturgical Uses:||Songs of Illumination, Communion Songs|
The words to this hymn were authored by Mary Lathbury, who often wrote hymns to accompany various parts of the Bible. Eventually known as the “Poet of Chautauqua,” Lathbury was seen as a kind and gentle Christian soul whose creativity was immense. “Break Now the Bread of Life,” is one of her two most widely known hymns. Many have been misled in thinking that this hymn is a reference to the Lord’s Supper, when it is actually centered upon studying God’s word. This hymn can be seen in reference to John 6:35 which reads, “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth in me shall never thirst.” In some hymnals, the third and fourth stanzas are omitted and the text is modernized.
The tune most commonly sung for this hymn is BREAD OF LIFE, specifically written for the text by William F. Sherwin in 1877. The notes are both gentle and reassuring, complimenting Mary Lathbury’s lyrics, and allowing the singer to focus on each word of the hymn. It is a slow, flowing tune, but uplifting nonetheless.
Suggested music for this hymn:
Luke Getz Hymnary.org