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I compose and post these articles with only one desire in my heart: to praise God and to offer modest help on your spiritual journey.

Friday, October 3, 2014

BLESSING

This past Sunday I joined the pastors of Grace Lutheran, St. John's
Methodist, and Trinity Episcopal to bless the pets at the dog park.
What does it mean to bless? The Psalmist sings: "I will bless the Lord
at all times" Ps. 33:1 This is a thanksgiving to God. Blessing is
giving thanks for some thing, person, place or event that can turn us
to God in gratitude. Thus when we say a blessing at meals we are
thanking God for provisions as well as thanking God for those who
prepare and often adding a prayer for those who do not have food to
eat. We often hear someone say "you are such a blessing" thus giving
thanks for an individual's act of kindness, skill or friendship which
reflects the goodness and kindness of God.

Pastors are called upon to bless events and occasions in life's
journey. Priests are asked to bless things, medals or objects that can
be used to turn our attention to the source of blessing God. Some
erroneously take this as some form of magic which is contrary to God.
The difference is between thanksgiving and control. Magic (not the
entertaining type) claims control over God to use an object for their
personal will. Blessing designates an object as occasion to thank God
or surrender to God.

1 Timothy tells us in chapter 4:4-5: "For everything created by God is
good, and nothing is to be rejected, provided it is received with
thanksgiving, for it is sanctified by God's word and by prayer."

Therefore it is only right that we should take the opportunity to
bless those creatures who reflect back to us the unconditional love of
God. Pets have the great capacity to take our attention away from pain
or sickness as well as the undying devotion of a dog jumping in
excitement to see us, or unassuming graciousness of a cat who deigns
to give us affection. Each creature we take into our home has a
special reflection of God's goodness and love for us.

Some of God's creatures can be "working" animals. Dogs serve as
detectives on a police force or eyes for the blind. These same hard
workers become attached to their handlers and often considered part of
the family just like those who simply exist in our homes and ask
little more than to be fed.

I adopted a dog who upon graduating from therapy training preformed
duties in the hospital as well as our public schools. She loved being
read to at school. I've come to know great loving dogs brought to a
hospital room or a nursing home who could get a smile and or response
the hard working nurse just couldn't get accomplish.

Nothing makes my day like a cold nose and a lick to the face from a
happy dog. There seems to be no limit of what people bring into their
homes each with their own special grace. Birds, snakes, turtles, fish,
et cetera. A friend of mine has even recently adopted a potbellied
pig. These wonderful creatures of God's creation bring laughter,
joy, peace and especially affection in an otherwise stress-filled day.

They are teachers as well for children to learn how to care and be
responsible for another living thing. They connect us to the gift of
creation and our responsibility for the earth, living things, and our
environment. They can soften the hardest criminal. So let us take the
occasion to bless our pets by specifically giving God thanks for these
extraordinary creatures. For they truly reflects the lavish and
unconditional love of God.

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