Remembering All Creatures of our God and King

I am writing this post with a heavy heart this week. I found out on Wednesday that our family dog of 12 years has terminal pancreatic cancer. Libby is half yellow lab half golden retriever and is, as my dad says, 100% crazy. I still remember the day we got her. I had been at a Brewers game with a friend and his family and was waiting to be picked up from their house. My parents rolled up in the minivan, they threw open the sliding door and out bounded Libby, an irrepressible and ridiculously exuberant puppy. Needless to say her inexhaustible energy and dynamic personality quickly won us over. Indeed, she has been a welcome addition to our family and my parents without hesitation think of her as their third child. We were blessed to have her be a part of our lives for so long and I am thankful for her ability to love, comfort and make us laugh.

It seems a happy coincidence that the day celebrating St Francis of Assisi is this coming Friday. St Francis was born into a wealthy family of merchants but as he matured became disillusioned and renounced his place becoming a monk dedicated to serving the poor. He founded a monastic order in the 13th century known as the Franciscans. It is an order predicated on mercy and kindness through service. He also developed a deep compassion for creation in its entirety. Indeed, the words from the great old hymn “All Creatures of our God and King” are credited to him. Francis had a profound sense of the interconnectedness of creation and its relation to God in a way that we modern Christians are only now beginning to rediscover. Through disciplines like ecology and climatology we are coming to understand just how tightly the web of life on this planet is nit together. We although powerful and innovative, are fellow creatures and are dependent upon God’s good creation.

Being a nature and outdoor enthusiast I have had the opportunity to see this reality first hand. The intricacies of creation and its superb design and craftsmanship point to a loving and thoughtful creator.  The book of Job says it best:

  But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being. Job 12:7-10

The glory of our creator is attested to in the wonder of creation. The animals and plants do this by being what God created them to be and in so doing they glorify God. As we read in the text we have a thing or two to learn from the animals and plants who live for the God who gave them life.

At Central’s Sunday service on October 6th we will be holding a service to” Bless the Pets” to honor the animals that enrich our lives and brighten our days. Although she will have passed on by then, I will of course be bringing a picture of Libby to be a part of this special service. It seems a fitting way to honor a beloved member of our family and a faithful witness to the goodness of God.

    

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