March 1, 2023 Weekly Update
Happy Wednesday Friends!
Last Sunday we began our “Lent in Plain Sight” worship series by focusing on the symbolism of bread throughout scripture. Thanks to Shirley and Nancy for helping us smell and taste fresh baked bread in the sanctuary, and for the yummy cinnamon rolls after worship!
Our devotional book’s scripture for today comes from Ecclesiastes 11: 1-6. It includes the famous advice – often attributed to Ben Franklin – that goes like this: “Send out your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will get it back.” I had not heard or remembered reading this verse before. It struck me as difficult to interpret and discern. Bread on the water? Why, and huh?!
Much of this section of Ecclesiastes – an old testament wisdom book – is focused on work and seasons of life. It’s prudent and holy wisdom. The author is encouraging readers to recognize that much of what comes our way in life, in faith, in work, and in family is pretty unpredictable. Bread can be understood as seeds. Therefore, our faith encourages us to trust God with the gifts we have been given, and use them like seeds planted on an irrigated farm field. As waters of uncertainty recede, and the sun shines, God will help those seeds sprout and grow.
Author Jill Duffield writes, “A life of casting bread on the water is a life of patience and long views, and such characteristics do not get lauded in a culture of quarterly returns and instant messaging. Daily, diligently, we are called to ask ourselves: “Of what do I need to let go of in faithfulness and for the sake of the gospel? What bread should I cast on the water today?”
She continues, “These questions invite us to lean into God’s promises of provision, God’s certain providence, and the confession of faith that Jesus is Lord of all. Our lives are not left to luck, faith, karma, or change; we believe in the Triune God who creates, redeems, and sustains. Therefore, we cast our bread on the waters with abandon and with joy, trusting the one who rules heaven and earth, to use it and bring it back to us, a beautiful mystery, divinely certain, humanly impossible to fully understand.”
May you trust God and release your gifts into the uncertainty and unpredictability of life this Lenten season.