“Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so. And God saw that it was good. - Genesis 1
Dear friends -
There is a completely foolish argument that has happened over the centuries in religious circles; it's about whether animals have souls. I'm not one who normally drives my stake into the ground too firmly on matters of doctrine, but I'm solid on this. Of course animals have souls. Just look into their eyes; there it is.
In the Creation stories of the Book of Genesis, God creates the animals of the world before God creates humankind. (This squares well, incidentally, with the science as we know it today.) And in the Book of Genesis, God says, after creating the animals - and birds and beasts and things that crawl over the ground, in case there's any uncertainty - "Let us make humankind in our image..."
In that scene, I picture God saying this to the creatures God has just created. The "us" is a dead giveaway. And in those moments when I'm feeling cynical, I picture the animals answering, "Wait a second, God; are you sure that's a good idea?"
But they agree to do so, and I have a hunch that most of us are, in the fullness of time, glad that they so agreed. God has blessed us with so very many things - including the animals we love, care for, and from which we draw physical and spiritual sustenance.
In the spirit of that blessing, we are called to offer a blessing of the animals.
Which we will do this Sunday. When we first did this three years ago, some of us worried about filling the sanctuary with animals. But it ended up being a completely holy time. So, it's time to do so again.
If you are so moved, bring your favorite pet, barn animal, or any other four-legged, two-legged, or no-legged creature to be with us all. If you worry about bringing them into the sanctuary, you may leave them in a safe spot outdoors, or downstairs, as we will offer the blessing on the lawn following our service. Treats and fresh water will be offered as appropriate - mostly for the animals, unless you really like doggie or kitty treats.
Ned Houston and Don Houghton will again grace us with their musical presence, singing songs about animals. We are all invited to sing - or howl - along.
Please join us. God created the animals and us, and we belong together - even on Sunday mornings, in the spirit of joyful worship. We worship at 10 AM; that particular time may not mean much to our animals, but it will help us to be in the same place at more or less the same time.
Sabbath blessings- or, in animal language, "Woof, cluck, meow" -