Every Wednesday night, a small group of men and women from my church meet at my home for dinner and a time of discussion. For the last several weeks, we’ve been working our way through a study of the Lord’s prayer and what it teaches about prayer more broadly.
Last week we studied the phrase, “Give us this day our daily bread,” which led to a discussion on Lent and learning to depend on God.
Being in the business of baking bread (an industry with very low profit margins) while living in an expensive city has forced me into many moments of financial panic over the last few years. I’ve had little choice but to depend on God to provide—if not specifically for my daily bread at the very least for my monthly rent.
Though I’ve not always taken the financial stress in stride—I’ve always been a very anxious person—even in my fits of panic I’m filled with the knowledge that God has consistently provided in the past and a trust that God will continue to provide in the future. Whether it’s a weekend-long gig in retail, a wedding cake order, housesitting, or a few shifts at my old bakery, every time I’ve started to feel worried I might not be able to pay off my latest credit card statement, God has provided.
This Lent, rather than being struck with a deeper knowledge of my own dependence on God, I’ve learned how deeply I reject others dependence on me.
I pride myself on my independence. If I want something, I go for it. I make connections, I get things done. While this is a strength, I’ve lately been confronted with the ways that my own selfishness makes it a weakness as well.
I get so focused on my own projects that I overlook those around me. I grow frustrated when I must sacrifice time or energy I could put towards my own work to care for the needs of people that I love.
But part of depending on God is living within interdependent community—depending on others and allowing others to depend on me. God created us for community; even God exists communally in the three parts of the Trinity. God meets our needs through the communities around us, and so faithfully caring for the needs of those God places before us is a vital part of communal dependence on Him.
Nearing the end of Lent, I’ll admit that this bread series is growing quite tiresome! Writing three posts each week is a lot; I’ve found myself wishing for the past week that I hadn’t made the Lenten commitment. Upon further examination, however, I realize that it’s not a lack of time or really even a lack of desire to write that frustrates me. It’s a frustration that others are depending on me to guide them through Lent and thus the feeling that I must write out of obligation.
I was feeling guilty at the beginning of March for committing to writing and baking for my Lenten discipline rather than choosing an item from which to fast. But as the season has carried on, I’ve realized that this practice is revealing my own weaknesses nonetheless. I’m grateful for the ways that it is revealing my need to make a spiritual practice out of fulfilling commitments and allowing others to depend on me.
1/2 cup sourdough starter
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup barley flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1. 6-8 hours after feeding your starter, mix together the preferement. Let sit at room temperature 1-2 hours.
2. Add in the remaining water, all-purpose flour, and salt. Mix together until it forms a shaggy dough, let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
3. While the dough is still in the mixing bowl, stretch and fold the dough 8 times.
4. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap and let sit 6-8 hours.
5. Turn the dough onto a floured counter and pre-shape into a round. Let rest for 10 minutes.
6. Shape the dough into its final round, place in a floured banneton or bowl lined with a floured towel. Let sit at room temperature for 2-3 hours.
7. Place your baking sheet in the oven and pre-heat to 450°F.
8. Take the sheet out of the oven, turn the loaf onto the hot pan. Score the top of the loaf to allow the steam to escape. Brush the loaf water, or spray the loaf and the oven with water to create steam and return the pan to the oven. Lower the heat to 425°F.
9. Bake for 30-40 minutes. If using a Dutch oven, remove the lid after 25 minutes to allow a nice crust to form.
10. Remove from the oven and let cool before eating!
As you bake today, examine the places where you fail to depend on God’s provision or where you fail to allow others to depend on you. Pray that God would illuminate the ways that His provision comes through the interdependence of community. Pray for the humility to serve others needs, to allow others to be dependent on you, and pray that through that process you will learn to depend more fully on God.