Thought for the Week : “well-wormed” ground

Having an early morning cuppa, Radio 4 carries an item on earth worms. The Science Museum is staging an exhibition in which children are encouraged to get up close to earth worms. An enthusiastic scientist bubbles over with information about the humble earth worm. Its a bit like the humble  honey bee (no, I  know the difference between worm and bee!)  in as much that we tend to take both entirely for granted, to the point we barely think of them until its too late. Yet earth worms are really important. Worms eat dead leaves and so on, without them we would be knee deep in detritus; worms burrow deep into the ground (six feet plus) so “well-wormed” ground is like a sponge and  will soak up rain water enabling  plants  to grow and reducing the threat  of flooding. Thirdly, as they burrow, worms oxygenate and enrich soil so that it grows crops for our food supply. You see the parallels between earth worms and bees?: Bees (and other insects) pollinate the crops so without bees, without worms, we would  be hungry, yet we take both for granted and all too often our greedy lifestyles mean they are facing extinction. Why a bit of biology on the back of a church leaflet? Later on  walking with Ebba dog before saying Morning Prayer I try to count the number of species of flowers and plants in the churchyard, all mutually dependent on bees and worms. I reflect how often Our Lord gets us to “think God” by drawing our attention to plants, soil, crops, farmers and so on. Jesus teaches us to pray. A key form of prayer is simply, with Jesus, to notice– to notice each other, to notice the world around us, to notice children, to notice people’s needs and yes, to notice flowers, sheep, vegetables, bees and worms. To notice and to give thanks. To notice and to care, to become more deeply aware that all life is of God. God creates sustains and holds all in being. Really look at a flower, really look at an earthworm, and we see the glory and wonder of the love of the Holy Spirit at work among us, within us. We may then realise how often our greed and lack of care damages God’s earth. So then, through Christ, we may better see the cost of greed (sin) both to the natural environment and to Christ on the Cross, for all holds together (“coinheres” as the theologians say!) . A bumble bee buzzes  past and my eyes are drawn  from the churchyard to the houses around, the homes of those we seek to serve. I go into church , to ring the bell and to offer the morning Office of the Church - praise, thanks and intercession for this patch of earth that is our parish where humans, animals, insects, bees and worms all share together thanks to the love of God. Words from a second century Christian letter (Epistle to Diognetus) came to mind: “the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body.” Our shared vocation as Christ’s Church is to offer Daily Prayer for all among whom we live, in thanksgiving for all on whom we mutually depend. Our Daily Prayer, often unseen and disregarded, is something like the humble worm and the buzzing bee: quietly, faithfully we go about our task and unseen almost unknown to us and to others, God uses our little offerings for the well-being of the world.