That was weird. Chatting with pals on a Facebook page, we were on the subject of disposing of consecrated elements in the Presbyterian tradition. We, with Calvin, believe that the elements are more than a mere “memorial” – something Jesus told his followers to do; we believe that the bread and wine convey to the soul, in faith, the “virtues” of Christ’s body and blood, which feed us spiritually as we are nourished by the elements.
So we dispose of them reverently – and as a friend said, lots of us do so by putting the bread out for the birds. And in the prose of her observation, a poetic couplet jumped out at me, and became the first couplet of this….
Tomorrow’s birds are well-blessed birds
That get to eat this bread;
The Word that speaks to people’s souls
Has spoken – folk were fed
Now crumbs from Jesus’ table fall
And blessings shower round
The sparrows that God knows and loves
Can peck them from the ground…
But folk there are who do not know
The love Christ has for them
Lost in life’s crush they simply seek
To touch his garment’s hem;
“Think of those sparrows!” Jesus says
“God knows and loves each one;
And you’re worth so much more! Take! Eat!
For you all this was done…”
If you can use this, please do, with appropriate acknowledgement.
(c)John Owain Jones, 2013