Sunday In The Park With Dogs
THIS PAST SUNDAY MORNING was different than most Sundays, but an absolute delight nonetheless.
Taking advantage of a sunny and comfortably warm day we held church services, followed by a cookout, in a lovely spot in the park. We do that every year, but this time something new was added to the usual service. This time my wife, the lovely and Ordained, Dawn, conducted a “Blessing of the Animals.”
We don’t have any animals in our home, not counting the bat that got in a few weeks ago, but Terre Haute (That’s French for, “Get off the couch!”) is a town that loves it’s dogs, cats, birds, lizards, snakes and other critters. Having a Blessing seemed quite appropriate and long overdue.
Dawn decided to have the Blessing of the Animals before the Service for the Humans. This enabled folks with pets that were feeling a bit skittish to have them involved and then put back in the SUV for a nap. It turned out that only dogs were brought along to the park. The rest of the beloved pets stayed at home – watching the early football games and sleeping off their Saturday Nights.
Speaking to the humans and the dogs, Dawn reminded us all that the Divine Creation was more than for the people alone. It was for all creatures, big and small; two legged and no legged, four, six and eight.
The dogs were gathered around and they were quite well behaved. Dawn held the leash on one dog as she spoke and, of course, it was that pup who decided, on the spur of the moment, to try to break the land speed record and almost took Dawn along for the ride. After a couple of tense moments order was restored and the Lord was asked to bestow His blessing upon, not only the dogs in attendance, but their kindred canines around the world.
I think St. Francis would have been pleased. The people cared for their animal family members and the dogs snuggled up to their people. A message was offered and it was received. We are all here together and we have much to offer to each other.
After this Blessing and the Service for the People, we all sat down for a cookout with burgers and dogs (no offense) and a wide assortment of Church Lady side dishes. No one, Man nor Beast, was going home hungry.
It was during this part of the gathering that I got the chance to meet some of the doggies. Some of them were moving slow, feeling their years, but still having a good time. Some of them were still in their puppyhood, feeling frisky and curious. They were all relishing the smells coming from the grill.
I am fortunate in that I am a person whom dogs, cats, and just about every animal I meet, tend to find likeable. I consider that a blessing bestowed upon me. So, this past Sunday, I was busy petting every dog in sight and being vigorously licked in return. Its either that or I just taste good.
I hope that the Blessing of the Animals becomes an annual event. It may have been a blessing asked for the dogs, but I think we all received such a benefit from it. We all shared the day with each other. There were smiles everywhere and no growls were heard. Tails wagged and bits of burger were slipped down to the guests of honor as they sat next to their very favorite humans.