The Word on the Week


This week the milk quotas were finally lifted. To mark the event the Dairy Board coined a new name – Ornua – new gold. At least that’s what the dairymen hope!

Taking a leaf out of the successful marketing of our butter as Kerry Gold and giving it a bit of mystique by dipping into the Irish language the marketing men have done their best. Pity the product is white but when shoppers in a supermarket in Singapore are looking for powdered milk, the hope is that Ornua will trip off the tongue like they came from Killarney!!

There is also the small problem of competition from our friends in New Zealand who have been milking it over the last 20 years while we were stuck in our quotas. Their production is around four times ours so the dairy cows have some catching up to do.

Its launch in Ireland on the 1st of April had news-readers interviewing suited men from the Ministry of Agriculture while standing in the feed passage of a cow shed. Their audience of Friesian cows, chewing their cud, provided a background of disinterested spectators. It was one of those interviews that I suspect the news-reader would like to forget!

Modern milking parlours are high tech affairs. Gone are the days of the three legged stool with the milkmaid’s hands coaxing the milk into the bucket. Her replacement has to be computer savvy to control the programs that allocate the quantities of food each cow gets and, crucially, record its performance in terms of litres of output. Factory farming is now a reality.

The Bible has a healthy association with milk. Such was the fertility of the Promised Land which God’s people inhabited in Joshua’s day that it was described as a land flowing with milk and honey (Joshua Chapter 5 verse 6).

In the settled church situation at the time of St Peter’s writing his first letter he compares believers to newborn babies whose desire for milk is like newborn believers desire for God’s word (chapter 2 verse 2). Both are nourished. The baby is satisfied with milk the believer is satisfied with the milk of the Word.

He concludes the chapter by referring to the unique substitutionary sinbearing death of Jesus where by his wounds we have been healed from the scars of sin (verse 24).

We have gone from new gold of Ornua to the new life in Christ. May it be the milk of the Word that feeds you this Easter.