St. Mark's Episcopal Church

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Blessing of the Pets Sunday 2010
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Rev. Bonnie Campbell
 
I’ve had an earworm this last couple of weeks-a song in my head that I’ve actually enjoyed. It’s Wendy Francisco’s GoD and DoG.

I saw and heard it first on Facebook and when I searched the internets to get permission to use the lyrics, I found there was a lovely little book.  I ordered it last Monday night and it came in the mail on Wednesday--isn’t Amazon grand?  I know you won’t all be able to see it so I will have it out for you to enjoy after the service. The drawings are delightful.

When God made that covenant with Noah’s clan and the animals on the ark, not one of them could imagine how interconnected our world would be someday by virtue of things like YouTube and Facebook and e-mail.

Yet, here we sit in pews--all of us incarnate as we Episcopalians like to say, in plain words: in the body, flesh and blood, living and breathing--some of us panting and squealing.  There is something about interacting with other beings in the flesh that is more fulfilling than chatting via the internets.

I am reminded of pets I have loved and pets that have loved me.  We have pets because they are always available when we need them.  They give us a reason to get exercise and a reason to take care of ourselves so we can take care of them.  And, some of us have a concern that if we don’t take a pet in, that the pet will go homeless or have its life shortened because no one wants it.

So, let’s look at Wendy’s book and see what it tells us about our relationship with our animals and with God.  [Rev. Campbell read from the book.  There is also a video link for this book, with music, at:  http://www.wendyfrancisco.com/ ]

I love that Wendy can see how God is reflected in all creatures.  God is up there, transcendent and down here in the other creatures (including humans) that we encounter, imminent.  God and our pets want to have an intimate relationship with us but we humans walk away and do our own thing.  We are surprised to find them waiting for us--joyfully happy at our return. Their love is unconditional to the point that when we screw up, forgiveness is always forthcoming and immediate.

Wendy suggests that the dog reflects the heart of God--I like that.  “I’ve seen love from both sides now--it’s everywhere.”  Yet, none of us is capable of loving God as much as God loves us.  If you can see the love of God in the eyes of a dog, more power to you.

I have also been thinking about how we care for our domestic animals.  Because they could not survive without our care, we are in many ways their hands and feet—well, especially the hands with the opposing thumbs.  I think there is a dog treat commercial that mentions this--the dog could open the bag if he had thumbs.  So, as we care for our animals, I am reminded that we are also the hands and feet of God.  We are here to not only care for our pets and the whole creation.  We are also here to minister to one another and to those who cannot take care of themselves.  God and dog do have a lot in common.

Wendy has a prayer in her book: “…thank you God for filling the earth with authentic thinking loving beings who reflect who you are.  We flourish when we are loved, animals flourish when they are loved.  You are the God of love, and you’ve woven that message into the fabric of creation.  You love each of us far more than we can imagine.  I hope and pray that after people read GoD and DoG, they will look up, and down, in a new way.”

Amen. Bowwow.


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