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Assembly Title

Submitted by
J. Bloomfield

Age Group
8-13 years

To think about the importance of grass and bread and to relate it to the Last Supper

Faith Group

Types of grass and cereals

Time of Year
Spring, Lent, Easter

Other Details
Replace the details in square brackets.

This morning we are going to tell you about grass .

Most of the time we take grass for granted. During the school day, you may be told not to walk on the grass or that some areas of grass are not to be used. But many of [school name’s 85 acres] are covered by millions of blades of grass and they provide a lawn, which is a playing surface for Rugby, Cricket, Football, Rounders and Hockey. This is because, unusually, grass leaves grow from the base, like our hair, and can be cut indefinitely.

Lawns originally were cropped by animals and place names may have “lawn” in them [such as Chapel Lawn near Bucknell]. Lawns used to be cut by scythes and were owned by wealthy men only, but they became common after Edwin Budding invented the lawnmower in 1830 when he saw a miniature one being used to shave the surface of a billiard table in a mill [near here,] in Gloucestershire.

In the USA alone, lawns cover 128,000 square kilometres and provide the atmosphere with much-needed oxygen.

Grass is used as a pasture for animals - indeed meat-eaters will appreciate that beef cattle and lamb are free-range on grassland. The great grasslands of South America and Africa support huge numbers of animals, including the Safari animals we see on TV, or on holiday. Some grasslands and some populations are threatened by the spread of the Sahara desert, partly caused by global warming.

Grass, which is grown for a food crop, is called cereal. Cereal grains are grown in greater quantities worldwide than any other type of crop and provide more food energy to the human race than any other crop. In some developing nations, cereal grains form practically the entire diet of ordinary people. The word cereal derives from Ceres, the name of the Roman goddess of harvest and agriculture. Types of cereal are numerous.

Wheat is the most common here, used to make bread, biscuits and cake. Barley is also common in colder countries, used to make malt for beer, whiskey, and even Shreddies! Maize or sweetcorn feeds millions of people round the world, in fact it is the world’s largest crop, and corn on the cob is like a huge version of a head of barley. Corn flakes are made by rolling cooked corn. Some cereals are fermented to make fuel for cars and trucks, and fragile objects can be packed in puffed corn for postage.

Rice is the staple food of millions of people - the world grows 600 million tons a year.

Other cereals are millet, sorghum, and rye, which again feed many millions of mouths. 

Most of the world’s sugar comes from sugar cane, yet another grass, grown in Brazil and Jamaica.

Bamboo is a giant grass which grows [at school name]. Over the years bamboo has been used for building, scaffolding and musical instruments.

Reeds are giant grasses and are a very important habitat for many bird species and form many of the world’s wetlands.  Pieces of reed are also used in the clarinet, oboe, bassoon and saxophone.

Marram is an important grass which is used to stop sand dunes blowing away.

And of course, popcorn, the most exciting thing to cook. Before it explodes, the steam pressure inside a corn kernel is five times the pressure in a car tyre. When cool, the foam makes our favourite cinema snack. Popcorn can even be used as loft insulation!

In Biblical times, grass products were especially important. Matting, baskets and rope was made from grass, and in the Psalms we learn that grass roofs were not uncommon and that fields were being mown for animal feed.

Wheat bread was, of course, a staple diet and indeed was the main food at the Last Supper, when Jesus broke bread with his friends and invited them to do so as often as possible, in his memory.  Indeed earlier in his ministry, Jesus told his disciples that he was “the Bread of Life”.

And so bread, which we think of as a humble food, made from a variety of humble grass, carries the greatest responsibility of all - it becomes for us the Body of Christ in the Mass. It becomes so special that the priest is not allowed to waste a single crumb.

And so, at this time of year when the grass is starting to grow once again, and cereal crops are germinating in the fields, let us give thanks to God for his gifts of cereals and grasses - the most ordinary of plants in many ways, but, in their huge variety, some of the most useful.

Let us pray

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Generous, loving God we ask you
to give us today our daily bread.
Creator of the world we share
Give us today our daily bread
And when we store the crops
And fill the barns
Stack the shelves
Pile high the tins
And wander the aisles
Of [supermarket choice]
Show us how to see the world
Through the eyes of the hungry.
Teach us how to share with all
Our daily bread.


S. Daly 2000

Last updated 26-7-12.