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31 January, 2012

BREAD OF LIFE FOR THOSE WHO HUNGER

U. S. Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, World War One flying ace.
I periodically review some of my father's literary work.  He was not highly educated from an academic standpoint but I never cease to be amazed by the breadth of his knowledge and the depth of his faith.  He did not have the luxury of a typewriter in those days, of course, and every word was written by hand with pen and ink while sitting at a family heirloom secretary in the living room of our home in Dresden.
A. Kenneth Wright

I was especially taken the other day by one of his columns published exactly 63 years ago by the Chatham Daily News.  In this particular "Voice of the People" piece entitled "Bread of Life" he referred to the biblical account of children of Israel and a gathering of thousands being fed from five loaves of bread and two small fishes and thusly emphasized  how God looks after His people.

What impressed me most was that he incorporated a Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker story to illustrate his point.  Here's how he related it.

"Many will recall the experience of American flier ace Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker and his associates who crash landed from their assault plane in the mid-Pacific, October, 1941.  All they were able to salvage from the wreckage was two life rafts.

"After days afloat in the ocean with no food or water, they became desperate.  They decided to try prayer and it was then that a sea gull landed on Capt. Rickenbacker's shoulder.  The bird was caught and cleaned.  The crew ate the gull and used the intestines for bait to catch fish which they also ate.  Then rain began to fall and they were able to collect the fresh water in receptacles and rags.

"In time Rickenbacker and his crew were rescued and to a man they gave full credit to God for answering their desperate prayers while hopelessly afloat in the Pacific.

"To have that sense of spiritual well-being that all mankind hungers and thirsts for, one must embrace Christianity in a serious, personal way.  Food for the body to sustain life does not suffice.  To satiate the instinctive human longing for spiritual well-being, one must turn to Jesus who proclaimed to the children of Israel and the gathering crowd: 'I am the bread of life.'

"It is of vital importance how we as a people, conduct ourselves and how we as a nation carefully choose our course to insure that we are on God's side.  No one needs to tell Canadians what is right and what is wrong.  We go into the year 1949 well read and with our eyes wide open.  It is up to us to decide if we are for or against the word of God and the teaching of Jesus Christ."

Two years later Ken Wright, who often signed off on his newspaper submissions with the pen name "Columnite", passed away at 52 years of age.  I was only 14 at the time.  He left me a legacy -- "From each and all we glean much that helps a little as we go about our daily duties."  I often wonder how seriously the writings of father and son have been taken over the years.  Somehow it doesn't really matter.

Heredity can be a mysterious thing, but we take it along with us on whatever path we choose in the journey of life.  The pride and faith of parent and offspring is mutual in the partaking of the bread of life -- and the written word.

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