To think about the importance of grass and bread
and to relate it to the Last Supper
Types of grass and cereals
Spring, Lent, Easter
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
In the USA alone, lawns cover
128,000 square kilometres and provide the atmosphere with much-needed
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
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
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.