The meal that Jesus of Nazareth gave his followers, celebrated with grand liturgy and golden chalice, or words pared lean and tiny plastic cups, is the distinctive rite of the church. The Eucharist is regarded as the source and summit of Christian faith—or maybe just a symbol—but what all Christians know is that Holy Communion does something. It’s what and how the supper does what it does that divides us.
In The Hunger Inside, Brad Roth explores the myriad ways the Lord’s Supper transforms lives. As on that ancient gospel hill where more than 5,000 hungry people were fed, the abundance of Jesus’ table touches uncountable human stories. Drawing generously on eclectic theological traditions, Roth takes a narrative-driven approach to plumb the rich depths of symbolism, power, and presence communicated in the communion meal.
This book is a call for all followers of Jesus to encounter again the One who meets our deepest hungers at his table.
Augustine warned that it’s human nature to be confused as to the true source of happiness and the ultimate horizon of our longings. It’s like not knowing the difference between a picture of bread and the loaf itself. Asks Augustine, ‘Could a man escape starvation by licking the painted picture of a loaf, instead of begging real bread from someone who had it to give?’ Jesus has the real bread we need to satisfy our deepest hungers. Do we believe this? I do, because meeting Jesus in my hunger at his table changed my life.
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Writing with verve and wisdom, Brad Roth brings a fresh and insightful voice to the Christian community. His reading of the Christian theological tradition is broad, deep, and loving. He has a good preacher's love of a good story, which allows him to share profound pastoral and cross-cultural experiences with a light and winsome touch. Drawing upon Catholic and Orthodox sources in order to invite Anabaptists, Evangelicals, and Protestants to fall in love with the Eucharist, he cannot help but be provocative—sometimes in multiple directions at once. And yet his arguments are always gracious and invitational indeed. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
Brad Roth lives in rural Moundridge, Kansas with his wife and three sons, where he serves as pastor of the West Zion Mennonite Church. Brad is a graduate of Augustana College, Harvard Divinity School, and Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. While his journey gifted him with a deep passion for the Bible and a practical commitment to everyday faith, it also left him with an enduring longing for something more. He was hungry. Somewhere along the way, Roth began to take Jesus at his word and experience the deep power and presence of the “bread of life” that leaves no one hungry (John 6:35). Now, Roth wants to leave a breadcrumb trail to the riches of the Lord’s table for all to discover.