February 15, 2010: Behold the Lamb of God
I was walking down the beach this afternoon and was filled with gratitude for the birds trying to stay warm and the animals that gave me their life. Last night I watched a show in HD called “Wild Russia”. It was all about food and survival. Artic foxes eat eggs and small birds and limens. Polar bears eat walruses and even cub polar bears when desperate. The instinct of hunger rules their behavior. But then they showed a snowy owl mother who was unable to find enough food to feed her two chicks. Her big yellow eyes as she tried to get her chick to eat were haunting. How long does the mother hurt before she moves on? It all seems so cruel, but it is also part of nature.
Can all of this teach us how to be more attune to nature and our own eventual death?
When John the Baptist saw Jesus after his baptism, he shouted out, “Behold the Lamb of God!” On the night before he died, Jesus broke bread and said, “Take this all of you and eat it, this is my body which will be given up for you.” And then he took a cup of wine and said, “Take this all of you and drink from it. This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven.” The next day, he did just that; he allowed us to break his body and drain his blood. So often we are too distant from the reality and truth of what we eat. We take our food for granted.
I began to think about how we humans have a choice to be vegetarians or not. We have the intelligence to discover alternative ways of feeding our need for protein that includes not eating other animals or eating less animals. No other creature can make that distinction. A pet dog might not kill another animal to eat, but they can’t make the distinction in their dog food. They can’t read the label; they just eat it if it smells good. On the other hand, I don’t think my pet dog from childhood, Rags, ever took the time to savor his food!
So I was a little ashamed to admit that I had a difficulty in remembering what animals I had eaten this week. I need to pray for the animals before I am about to eat them.
As we embrace Lent this week, may I suggest that we abstain from eating any meat, fish or fruit without first honoring the animal with gratitude and understanding how it once was a living creation of our Beloved God.
Bless you O God for these gifts we are about to eat, which you have given us to stave off hunger, survive and thrive. Help us to not take for granted the animals, fish or plants who have given us their lives. Teach us to walk with reverence in this living world in harmony with the cycle of life. Thank you for those who hunted, fished, planted and gathered this food. Bless them. Amen.
Love, joy, peace,