Friday, April 27, 2012

Who Is Being Blessed?

Who is blessing whom?  When I look into the eyes of a pet that seems to know only love and offer it a blessing, who is really blessing whom?  If you are a pet owner by choice, I think you know exactly what I intend.
Our congregation had never held a pet blessing celebration.  Our tradition has nothing official against such celebrations, nor anything particularly for such an event.  If you want to know more about that event, here is a link to the press release.
Nearly 30 pets were brought by almost 20 families to our first such celebration.  This even found only dogs and cats gathering.  It was a bit chilly.  From large and lumbering huskies and dobermans to small short haired kitties and bright eyed chihuahuas, we gathered beneath the sun on the front lawn.
After some opening remarks and a general prayer, I made the rounds to offer blessings.  As I approached, each owner introduced their pet.  And it was then that the magic truly happened.
I went straight for the pet, stooping or kneeling.  After a short greeting / sniffing, I would stroke the pet’s head feeling the soft fur.  With words that seem to ramble but full of intent I blessed the animal, their owner, the family and the relationship they share.  May God help the pet bring their family the joy God intended.
I was receiving so much joy in those moments, who was blessing who.  Jesus, in the gospel of Matthew, points to the birds of the air as models of faith.  They do not store up food but trust the creator.  These pets exhibited such trust in their owners, me and the scene.  Some might have been anxious but nary a one was ill behaved.  
Some weeks ago in worship, we discussed “thin spaces / moments”.  Those times when the distance between heaven and earth drawn thin.  A Celtic concept of moments when we experience God more fully than most of the moments of our lives.  
As I blessed the pets, I experienced a thinness between myself and the creator.  As I rose to give the pet owner a card with more blessing, their smile was like an affirmation of my experience.   A moment of magic was around us.
God has blessed us in many ways.  Through our pets we witness a model of faith.  Our pets are a declaration from God that creation is meant for our joy ... a fertile place for our faith to grow.  The relationship with our pets is a place for us to develop / hone the aptitude to love our neighbor and God.  
Thanks be to the one who gives us the responsibility and rejoicing as pet owners.