Break Thou the Bread of Life
Break Thou the bread of life, O 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.
Perhaps you have attended a religious or musical event at the beautiful Chautauqua site in New York State. It was for a ‘Bible Study Hour’ there that 2 verses of this hymn were written by Mary Lathbury in 1877, at the request of John Vincent. Alexander Groves later added 2 more verses. In the Salvation Army’s current Song Book, only Mary’s first verse is included.
Mary Artemesia Lathbury was the daughter of a Methodist preacher and a native New Yorker. She served the Lord as general editor of publications for the children/youth division of the Methodist Sunday School Union. Mary felt that God had directed her to use her gift for art and verse to communicate visions that came to her heart, and that she should consecrate these gifts to Him as much as she consecrated her inner spirit. Her hymns have been her greatest legacy, and include Day Is Dying in the West, which she wrote on the shore of Lake Chautauqua.