So many hymns of the past, just like this week’s, began as poems meant to convey simple truths about God.The accounts of Jesus feeding thousands of men, women, and children near the Sea of Galilee inspired Mary Artemisia Lathbury (1841-1913) to write the first two stanzas of Break Thou the Bread of Life in 1877. This artist, poet, and teacher shared the hymn with Sunday school teachers during a summer training camp on Lake Chautauqua in upstate New York. William Fisk Sherwin (1826-88) wrote the music, while he was music director of the training facility, and Alexander Groves (1842-1909) finished the lyrics, writing the third and fourth stanzas.
Break thou the bread of life
Break Thou the bread of life, dear Lord, to me, As Thou didst break the loaves beside the sea; Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord; My spirit pants for Thee, O living Word! Bless Thou the truth, dear Lord, to me, to me, As Thou didst bless the bread by Galilee; Then shall all bondage cease, all fetters fall; And I shall find my peace, my all in all. Thou art the bread of life, O Lord, to me, Thy holy Word the truth that saveth me; Give me to eat and live with Thee above; Teach me to love Thy truth, for Thou art love. O send Thy Spirit, Lord, now unto me, That He may touch my eyes, and make me see: Show me the truth concealed within Thy Word, And in Thy Book revealed I see the Lord.