Thank you all for being here today with your pet friends!
We are celebrating St. Francis and his love for animals with our service today. Your worship bulletin tells more about his amazing life about 800 years ago.
A meme I saw yesterday may describe our pet dogs: (3 dogs)
- I help blind people, I give them independence
- I protect people, I help them walk around without fear of criminals
- I eat shoes
I have no pets and have never really had one, although pets have been around in my time growing up and as an adult. Our family lived in the farmland country west of Indianapolis and had a few dogs who had free run of the fields with us kids. I remember one dog who was born in a storm in which his mom died, so we called him Stormy. We had another German breed dog we called Heidi. Our daughter and my wife Bonnie have had pet rabbits—Mr. Grabbit, Lady, Daphne...
We had a cat called Miss D (short for misdemeanor), who would hide in our house for hours and we would look for her, and it would turn out she was sitting up on some shelf up high just watching us looking around for her. She would “announce” her entry in a room with a myrhh sound.
Our daughter’s family has two rescue dogs, Snoopy and Crackers, who she told me yesterday were her therapy dogs as she worked to move from prescription pain meds and get her life in order with medical marijuana. Those who know her will tell you she is a different person now, and her dogs were her companions. These two dogs go crazy any time we visit them and want us to pet them and bring them treats. (Which Bonnie does!)
I don’t really like cats, but somehow they know this, and any time I visit anyone who has a cat they come to me first and sit on me, like—“take that, I know what you’re thinking about me”. I think cats are very smart and control the world. Dogs just go along for the ride.
We have been doing this worship service for about 15 years now, and it has grown to what it is now. One year a while back our back door off the kitchen somehow got left open (or opened itself), and two neighborhood dogs wandered in and came into the worship area without their masters. They were well behaved dogs, so we blessed them with all the others.
Another year Elaine brought her two mini horses before the service to be blessed in the church like all the other animals, but so they could leave and not be upset by all the dogs that come. We have blessed pictures of animals that haven’t been able to come. And as you will be able to do in a short time, we have a table here with candles where you can remember pets from your past with lighting a candle and saying their name.
At our offering time, we have a tradition now where all of the money collected (loose bills and checks written to St Mark’s for this Pets Sunday) goes to the local Grays Harbor PAWS and to the Freedom Tails dogs training program at the Stafford Creek prison. Last year we collected over $400 to give to these efforts.
Animals are so important in everything about life, and our pets even more so. So, when we get to that time to bless each pet here, everyone be sure to say the words in your program as the priest blesses each animal, and let them know they are special to all of us. The priest will come to each animal for their blessing so everyone can be as settled as can be. And after the service, join us for a pets blessing cake for the humans and fellowship.
Again, thank you all for being here, and God Bless Pets everywhere!