Each day I feed the birds, amazed by how much they can eat, and how many times during the day I have to refill the feeders. We have created a ‘Wild Side’ at St Mary’s, setting aside part of our gardens as a nurturing spot for the natural world – for their good and for ours. Hopefully, the birds that have found a rich feeding ground here will stay to breed in the Spring.
We forget, at our peril, that we too are part of the natural world, an intricate network of relationships and interdependence. We have a responsibility to care for the world of which we are a part. Humanity is beginning to feel the pinch and the horror of ignoring this truth.
Lord of all Creation
In the Eucharist, when the priest takes the bread, we Bless God as “Lord God of all creation, through your goodness we have received this bread to offer you, fruit of the earth and work of human hands it will become for us the bread of life.” Likewise, with the chalice, ‘Blessed are you, Lord God of all Creation , for through your goodness we have this wine to offer, fruit of the vine and work of human hands, it will become for us our spiritual drink.”
The gifts we present at the altar are given to God from the gifts that he has already given us. We use these gifts and our God given skills and creativity to make bread from wheat and grapes from wine. It is a symbol of fruitfulness.
“Lord God of all creation, through your goodness we have received this bread to offer you, fruit of the earth and work of human hands it will become for us the bread of life.”
In Genesis, Adam and Eve are commanded to be fruitful. “Humankind has a mandate to change, to build, to master creation in the positive sense of creating from it and with it,” says Pope Francis in his book, ‘Let us Dream’. “So what is to come doesn’t depend on some unseen mechanism, a future in which humanity is a passive spectator. No: we’re protagonists, we’re – if I can stretch the word – co-creators. When the Lord told us to go forth and multiply, to master the earth, he’s saying Be the creators of your future.” (Pope Francis, Let us Dream, p4)
“Humankind has a mandate to change, to build, to master creation in the positive sense of creating from it and with it”Pope Francis
One of the great ways in which both the natural environment and human beings is affected is through food waste, a scandalous symptom and side-effect of the way we live in the West. When so many people within our midst and further afield do not have basic necessities, and many go hungry, we throw so much good food away.
At the end of the Eucharistic meal, nothing is wasted. When all are fed, the fragments are gathered up and consumed, and some may be reserved for consumption later by those unable to gather at the altar due to sickness of some kind.
It reminds us of what Jesus had his disciples did when he fed the crowds. All the leftover fragments are gathered up into baskets. God is generous with his gifts but this doesn’t mean that we should take them for granted or throw them away to rot.
We cannot celebrate the Eucharist without offering to God something from his own Creation, and acknowledging that he is ‘Lord God of all Creation.’ This means that we should have a divine outlook upon the whole created order: valuing, cherishing, caring for all that God has given, being worthy co-creators with him, letting nothing go to waste, and no one go in want. The Eucharist is a prophetic gesture to this world of waste and want.