Back in October we at St. Mary’s celebrated the Feast of St. Francis with a blessing of animal companions in our outdoor chapel. It reminded me that I’ve been meaning to devote one of our conversations to our relationship with the animal friends in our lives and what we can learn from them. And then I came across the following from an article at the the website Mockingbird.
Animals (the relatively domesticated kind, at least) offer us possibly the closest brush we can have with the realm of grace this side of things. They inhabit virtually every characteristic of the grace of God, or rather a life liberated thereby. Think about it: They are carefree, they live only to lounge, eat, and play.
The author is writing on the occasion of having to put their family cat to sleep after a long illness. One of the things the author touches on is whether we get to be reunited with our former companions in the next life. Let’s just say that the theology of the answer to that question is a little thin.
The article reminded me, though, that just a few short years ago our family had to do the same with our beloved 15-year-old mutt. It was a heart-wrenching decision, and I’m not sure we’ve really recovered from it. Anyway, this article hit home for me with the way that it talks about the role animals play in our lives and especially how they may teach us about loving and living in relationship. Consider the following from the article:
A pet doesn’t judge us. A pet doesn’t interrupt us when we’re venting and unloading our frustrations, seeking nothing but a listening ear instead of a condemning tongue. A pet accepts us as we are. In fact, there’s a curious passage in Romans 8 that indicates, the animals are in a sense waiting on us to “get it together” — not in the sense of judgment and disappointment that we fall far short of what God created us to be, but rather in joyful, quiet anticipation that we will one day step into the fullness of whom Christ died to make us. In other words, our pets, in a sense, believe in us, more than we believe in ourselves.
So we’re going to talk about the animals that have been in our lives over the years, what they’ve meant or mean to us today, and what can learn from them about love, acceptance, and other such things. In short, we’re going to explore this sentiment, taken from another Mockingbird article from a few years back with the very appropriate title Dog is My Copilot: “But if these goofy creatures can give us just a glimpse of what it is to be loved wholly and unconditionally, I’ll take it.”
Join us for the conversation tomorrow evening beginning at 7 pm. You can find the information about how to join the virtual discussion below.
St. Mary’s In-The-Hills is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Pub Theology
Time: Nov 17, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
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Meeting ID: 941 8459 2459
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