Fair Share

Revd Chris Wood

An interesting sight caught our eye as we were walking alongside the river in Sudbury: a father with his two sons (probably 5 and 3) feeding bread to the swans, cygnets, ducks and their ducklings. The activity had naturally attracted plenty of birds, and others were heading there at speed.

Both boys were enjoying the experience. The younger clearly intent on sharing his bread - taking a number of good bites first, before peeling off a little bread and throwing it as far as he could, which wasn't very far.

The older, wiser brother threw himself into the morning's task with relish, mindful of avoiding the more aggressive mallards and sensitive to the needs of the younger or more vulnerable birds.

It was also fascinating to observe the antics of the birds: a swan soon positioned herself by the bank, immediately under the younger brother, and picked up anything that he discharged, but also aggressively removing any mallard that sought to venture into her space. She clearly was impatient as well, getting ever closer to the younger sibling and almost appeared at times to attempt to take the whole slice out of the boy's fingers ('don't bite the hand that feeds you' came to mind!).

The other birds were clustered together, and fighting one-another for any bread that came within their vicinity, while, at the same time, trying to create territory for themselves that they could control. There was definitely a pecking order within their number...

I'm sure there was plenty to food to go round - they appeared to bring a whole loaf of sliced bread - but that didn't seem to matter, it was every bird for themselves, and some got a lot while others got little or nothing.

To me this was a kind of Parable of Life being played out before our very eyes, and is, sadly, reflected within humankind as well. One of the things we are being constantly reminded in our own country is that the rich appear to be getting ever richer and the poorer even poorer - and yet, there is sufficient for everyone (including within our world village). It also brought to mind the many TV footages of aid being distributed to the refugees, where too easily the weaker become the greater victims as they are muscled out of the way by their stronger companions.

I'm reminded of the Gospel story of the young person who, having recognised the great need in his midst, was prepared to give up his own lunch and offer it for general distribution. Lunch blessed and shared fed the hungry multitude.

I'm also reminded of the Parable of the rich person eating abundantly at their table, totally ignorant of the needs of the poor and desperate soul at their gate. Then Jesus offers a stark warning that those who have had their fill in this life will be under the judgement of God at the end of their lives, whereas the poor and the destitute will be warmly welcomed into the Kingdom of God.

Let us continue to pray and work for a fairer distribution of God's generous creation, for He has given enough for all.

God Bless


July 2017