Even the Critters Know

posted Oct 11, 2019, 12:30 PM by Tricia Sheffield

Grace and peace to you!

This Sunday is one of my favorite Sundays on our church calendar. It’s the Blessing of the Animals! Certainly, there is joy in God’s house every time we worship together, but what I love about this Sunday is the chaotic rejoicing that happens when people bring their animal companions for a blessing. The occasional bark, a soft meow, and the sound of the birds around us all remind me that there is something special about worshiping God outside in creation. Perhaps, this was how worship was first intended. 

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light . . . 

And it was so. God saw everything that God had made, and indeed, it was very good.

So begins the Book of Genesis, illustrating God’s creative power through light and darkness, water and dry land, swarms of living creatures, birds, cattle, wild animals, creeping things, and finally humans. When God created, God had a vision for the world to be one of unity, peace, and order in a covenantal relationship.

Wonderfully, I get to witness God’s vision almost every day as the beautiful creatures of Olivia’s Forest amble in for their morning or evening feeding. After four years of living in Coventry House, I have borne witness to generations of critters allowing me to share in their world. Some have stayed around all this time, while others have moved on or died. To be sure, tending to my “farm,” I’ve been given an extraordinary gift from God as to how all of creation may live in peace. Sure, there are squabbles between the deer of who gets to eat the corn first, complete with a hoof whacking on the backside of the one who is eating, usually followed by a snort of disapproval. The birds often contend with one another for the best perch on the feeder, pushing the other aside with his or her wings and letting out a squawk of dismay. And the chipmunks and squirrels squeak out their claim to territory as to who gets the few niblets of corn left over by the deer, or the seeds dropped on the ground by the birds. I’ve lost one “barn” cat, but another litter came and now I have Chloe, with Mama Molly and Father Charlie still going strong outside and greeting me with a sweet meow.

There’s snorting; there’s feathers flying; there’s squeaking; there’s meowing. But, they all manage to live in harmony and peace together. And because they have negotiated this peace, guess what? Every creature eventually gets something to eat, miraculously trusting me enough — a human — not to harm them and to provide food.

This Sunday we will celebrate the swarms of living creatures, birds, cattle, wild animals, and creeping things as examples of the harmonious, peaceable kingdom. Please bring your beloved furry, feathery, slippery, and scaly companions to worship with us humans. I will be preaching from Genesis 1.1-5, 26-31 and Ephesians 1.9-10 and my sermon title is God’s Speech Creature. What’s more, during worship the children will make Pine Cone Bird Feeders for all who are in attendance to take home for our avian friends. Also, we would be grateful if you could volunteer your time and talents tomorrow (Saturday) at 3 PM to help Lynn Scarano put up the canopies for our worship.

Unity. Peace. Order. Covenant. This is God’s will and purpose for the world, and you know what? Even the critters know it. Maybe one day, humans will too.

It’s going to be a glorious day of worship and I look forward to celebrating it with you on the Great Lawn!

In gratitude for the joy of being your Pastor and the holy call of loving you,

Pastor Trish