“Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you–the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground–so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number upon it.“ (God’s word to Noah in Genesis 8:17)
Today is World Communion Sunday. On this day Christians worldwide share Communion and also reflect on how we are all one in the Body of Christ. The Lord’s Supper should remind us that despite different beliefs and practices that sometimes separate us we are still united in Christ.
Tomorrow is the Feast of St. Francis. Francis of Assisi has come to be known as the patron saint of both ecology and animals. Many churches have a blessing of animals on October 4. St. Francis was known to preach to the animals and considered them his brothers and sisters. He believed that God loved the animals and that so should we.
I find it interesting that World Communion Sunday and the Feast of St. Francis are joined next to each other on the calendar this year. One reminds us of our communion with other believers while the other reminds us of our communion with other creatures. In the world we live in, both reminders are needed.
Over the past few days I’ve been watching the BBC series “Life.” Rob recommended this series to me earlier this year so I bought the DVD set. As I have watched the various segments of this series I have been reminded that we humans truly do share a bond with all of God’s creatures. We tend to focus on what sets humans apart from other creatures but there is really far more that links us with other creatures.
It is certainly worth noting that we all share the same Creator. The same God who made us also created the birds, reptiles, mammals, insects and fish. We also, of course, share the same planet. We are all dependent on the same basic things—the sun, the air, water, and food. We all depend on our parents’ nurture and protection in infancy and we all have a strong will to live and reproduce.
I think that our lives would be enhanced in many ways if we Christians could grasp not just the concept of the “communion of saints” but our communion with all of Creation as well. It would change how we see Creation and how we live out our lives on this planet. God has already established this communion; it is now our task to take part in it.
(The top image is a snow goose I photographed in New Mexico and the bottom a brown bear or grizzly photographed in Alaska.)