Blessing of Pets
this Sunday, October 3
at our 10:00 am service of
Many churches offer a blessing of pets and animal companions these days in observance of the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. Francis, one of the loveliest of all saints in Christian observance, was at times gentle and meek, at others, severe and demanding. Having received a vision wherein he heard a voice from the cross in the ruins of San Damiano to “repair my House which ,you can see, is falling into ruins,” Francis began to rebuild the little country church stone by stone. He renounced all property in an age of rampant acquisitiveness, and soon drew a handful of followers who followed his example of poverty and service to the outcast. His movement became so popular that within a handful of years, the numbers of his followers grew into the thousands.
Two stories connect Francis to the animal kingdom: one, where he was observed preaching to a flock of attentive birds, and the other, an account of his intervention with a wolf that had been savaging the young children of Gubbio. The story says that he brokered an agreement whereby the townspeople of Gubbio would feed the wolf (who had only acted out of hunger) and the town dogs would refrain from harrying the creature while the wolf agreed to leave the townspeople in peace.
Today, Francis is recognized as the patron saint of animals and the environment. In his honor, we celebrate the blessing of God’s diverse creation, the multitude of creatures on land, in the air, at deep in the oceans. At the same time, we confess that we are the only species on earth that kill other creatures for sport and work for the day when the breach that we have created between ourselves and the animal kingdom can be healed.
I must confess that I have reached a point in life where I not only experience deepened gratitude for the diversity of living things, but also actively look for examples of my belief that a Peaceable Kingdom can exist, and that we can be enriched by attending to those who commit no sin, but simply live into their nature.
If you want to feel good about the possibilities of peaceful coexistence with the creatures with which we share the world, take three minutes and click on the following link to watch something that will touch your heart and give you hope for us all: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiGKWoJi5qM
And bring Fido or Felix (restrained, please!) on Sunday as a mark of the blessing you enjoy together!
Our Wednesday evening Adult Forum will begin looking at Evelyn Underhill’s classic text The Spiritual Life. We meet in the Birch Room immediately following the 6:30 pm service of Holy Communion and Healing and will be together for bout an hour. Copies of the book are available when we gather.
If you would rather spend your Wednesday evenings ringing than reflecting on reading, remember that The Shared Joy Bringers meet on Wednesday evenings in Fellowship Hall. No experience is necessary to join the bell choir — just a desire to learn and grow. The Shared Joy Bringers play throughout the year at a variety of venues, both sacred and secular. We will be privileged to have them with us once again on October 14 as we celebrate the fest of our patron, Saint Luke the Physician. If you would like to know more, feel free to visit their website at www.sharedjoy.org.