Earthy Wisdom: Fauna
The Liturgy after the Liturgy
Johanna came home today from an early morning grocery store run and told me about her encounter with a lonely wood duck standing guard in the middle of the road. Worried it would be hit by someone, she stopped her car and tried to chase it off. To no avail. It simply hissed at her and waddled a bit further down the middle of the road.
Her verbal warnings to the duck about the dangers of “rogue truck drivers who run innocent ducks over for kicks” didn’t work. She continued her by now rather humorous attempts to chase it away to safety. Finally, she gave up and got back in her car, leaving the duck standing in the road.
On her return trip she was relieved that it had made its way to safer grounds. For her it was a comical story of a stubborn duck. For me it was a moment of living liturgy.
The Orthodox tradition speaks of “the Liturgy after the Liturgy: After worship ends, the liturgy of life continues. Every aspect of life is worship.”
Authors Annika Spalde and Pelle Strindlund noticed this addition in the 2003 Lutheran liturgical handbook: “the Eucharistic bread left over from mass can be crumbled and given to birds in the church yard”. The liturgy continues as the bread is shared with the birds.
Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia wrote that the Eucharist is offered “in all things, and for all things, involving service not just for all persons, but ministry to the whole creation, to all created things.”
I find it a comfort and an encouragement that God receives simple compassionate acts—such as scattering bread for birds, or stopping to save a stubborn duck—as liturgy. As the work of the people.
I wonder what living liturgy will look like for you this week?
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We’re observing the Season of Creation over the Sundays leading to St Francis of Assisi day on Oct 2.
With readings in a liturgical pattern similar to that of Advent, the series follows a broad pattern of creation, alienation, passion and new creation, giving special attention to the story of the Earth, which complements the story of God and the story of humanity in the Scriptures.
Celebrating Kinship with Creation
Sun. Sep 18Storm Sunday
Sun. Sep 25 ALL IN
Sun. Oct 2St Francis Sunday
Blessing of the animals
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