what I do

what I do

Friday, April 18, 2014

The slaughtered lamb

Last fall, I went up to the farm where my youngest daughter lives to witness a lamb being slaughtered. As part of her internship she takes educational classes and this was to take place in one of her classes.

It was not something I could even process to be honest.  And yet I wanted to be there. I thought it would be a way to connect with the work that my daughter is doing and experience the profound moment with her. I was nervous. We have become so far removed from the food we eat that most of the time I don’t think we even consider that the meat we are eating was once a living creature. For that reason as well, I wanted to be there. I wanted to be reminded of the cost. The sacrifice.

The man who was in charge of the slaughter did an amazing job. He was there to teach and he spent a good amount of time explaining the process and what to expect. He made it as easy as it could have been, considering the gravity of what was about to happen, for the observers, the students who performed the slaughter and most importantly, for the lamb. 

I was not sure how I would feel about what I was going to experience, and to be honest, I don’t think even now, that I can fully articulate everything that I felt, being there.
But what I can say, is that it was one of the most profound, beautiful and even spiritual experiences I have ever had. It was also one of the hardest.

There is such a cost to this food we consume.  I pray I will never take it lightly.

After the teacher explained everything that was going to take place and prepared his students for what they were about to do, he read us a passage from a book:
     "I’ll pause above this food, and know I am of this world, carbon and breath like my parents, my siblings, the creatures great and small, single-celled or green, that create the miracle the rest of us consume.”
     “I have looked my food in the eye. I have raised some of it myself, loved it when it was small and defenseless. I have learned to kill. And I’ve learned to say my own grace. It’s a prayer of thank you, a petition for the unfolding communion I call home, and a promise to protect the world entire, to stop the agonizing bleed of species and the rising scorch of heat.

       “To save the world we must know it. We must face where the damage lies – what human activities, in whatever mixture of hubris and ignorance, have done, no matter what it means to our identities, our securities, our dreams.”
Note: Excepts of the passage were taken from, The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith, Flashpoint Press, 7th Edition, Chapter 5, page 271-272.

I could not help but think of Jesus. Jesus, our slaughtered lamb. The Lamb who came to save the world. The God man who came down here to see where the damage lies. Who gave his life for us. So that we might live.

Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of differences. The lambs on the farm did not suffer. Their slaughter was fast and painless and their life before was good. They were fed well and cared for and when it was time for their sacrifice, it was done in a loving manner. But still, as they held those pure lambs down, their heads on the pile of hay that was to catch their blood, and their utter silence while they waited for the teacher's instructions ... I could not help but see the correlation. The sacrifice so huge. The cost so great.

So on this Good Friday, (and always I hope) I will pause before my Lord, with gratitude and know that I am only who I am because of what I have been given. Life.

"For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God." - 1 Peter 1:18-21