Friday, February 24, 2017
theology of foraging
It was John Calvin who called nature God’s second book. In creation we catch a glimpse of the Creator. I follow a daily lectionary pattern, reading from the Psalms and Gospels daily. It is a way for me to pay attention to God through Scripture. But if nature is God’s second book, then what might a daily creation lectionary look like?
I pondered this in the cool of a summers evening this week as I harvested wild blackberries. These were brought inside, mixed with lemon yoghurt and served with great delight in the team Taylor household. Such is the joy of eating freshly foraged berries.
Every year, around the 21st of February, foraging blackberries for instant eating becomes possible. They grow wild on the roadside beside our driveway. Every year, without any effort, I am blessed by abundance. It is a gift, something to be enjoyed without any need for weeding, pruning or spraying. Such is the abundance of creation.
So, as I enjoyed the berries, I pondered God’s second book and foraging as theology. I found myself naming other moments of grace, of unexpected gifts, things I had never worked for and can simply enjoy.
I shared the story and the theology of foraging from God’s second book as the KCML team gathered the next day for our weekly prayer and community building. I offered around the room the berries that had ripened between the cool of the evening prior and the morning next. I invited the team to reflect on a recent moment of unexpected blessing. As we shared, our week past seemed shot through with the abundant grace of God.
Scripture of course has a number of instances that broaden and deepen a theology of foraging. In Israel’s book of Law, the sides of fields are to be left, to be foraged by the alien and landless. It is a fascinating approach to social welfare, providing ways to feed the poor without diminishing their humanity through handouts. It is such gleanings that provides for Ruth, the migrant from Moab and makes possible her encounter with Boaz. In the Gospels, the disciples forage on the Sabbath, picking corn. They gain the disapproval of the Pharisees, but Jesus turns the foraging in a teaching moment, affirming that sabbath is for humans, not humans for sabbath. In other words, in the abundance of grace is how we are to understand ourselves and our relationship to creation, to humans and to religion. The encounter with God begins in the blessing of unexpected gifts.
Such is a theology of foraging, the gift of wild blackberries in the cool of a summers evening, the blessing of God’s book of nature. I wonder what else could be part of a daily lectionary reading of nature?
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