Sunday, January 12, 2014
God and a Dog
God and the Animals
Paul and Valerie lost Libby, their 11 year old dog this morning. They are very sad. They have no children and those of you who know and love your animals and pets know how devastating it is to loose one of God's creatures. I remembered how I felt when my dog Major died when I was a boy so it became important for me to remember stories that would help our hearts.
There is, of course, the wonderful story of creation where God created "the swarms of living creatures; the birds that fly above and all those that move upon the earth and all the the fish in the sea" ~Genesis 1
I remembered the time God saved Noah and the animals, and what a very important place the animals play in God's salvation plan. ~Genesis, Chapters 6-8
And then I remembered the time of the Savior's birth, the animals gathered at the Manger to help keep the baby and the Holy Family warm.
Here then is a prayer for Libby.
We thank you Jesus for all those we love in our families and among our friends. We especially thank you for the animals that gladden our hearts; our cats and dogs and for our friend Libby who has given us so much happiness.
Give her a home with the Angels we pray. As you loved the animals at the creation, as you saved them in the ark, as they kept you warm in the manger, so now enfold all those we love with the love that never ends in the power of Jesus Christ we pray.
I wrote this prayer for our kitty Cleo just last year. She was a wonderful hunter. She proudly laid her trophies at the doorstep of rectories where we lived in Methuen, Massachusetts and Saint Albans, West Virginia. There was one unforgettable day when she brought a chipmunk home to play with inside. The ensuing commotion was impressive! And then when we lived in Salem and in Lynn Massachusetts, she retired from her labors and then in Douglassville, Pennsylvania, she was gathered to her ancestors.
For me it is yet another timely achievement that my church (The Episcopal Church) has developed rites and liturgies for the care of the Animals. Contrary to the rather dismissive and uncharitable way in which Jay Akasie characterized the work of the Episcopal Church in his scathing attack on us in the Wall Street Journal, I love the animals. I love Cleo. I love Libby. And I believe that the One who created them, saved them, and enjoyed their warmth at His birth, loves them too.