Blessing of Animals

This is a new one for me but I'm excited about the opportunity for Crossroads UMC to participate in a Blessing of Animals this Saturday, April 19th from 11am-2pm at the Bentwater activity field. It is part of the Pet Adoption and Doggie Fun Day. I think the whole idea for the day was a great one especially since it came from a local Brownie Troop.

My first exposure to doing a Blessing of Animals came from watching the Vicar of Dibley, which is still one of the best BBC sitcoms. But as a UMC, we also have a liturgy for such a service.

In the UMC archives, Rev. Dan Benedict writes...
With other Catholic and Protestant denominations, we United Methodists do not teach that animals have souls and therefore need redemption and forgiveness or heaven in the same way that humans do.

However, we do teach that "All creation is the Lord's, and therefore we are responsible for the ways in which we use or abuse it [including the animals and diverse forms of life on the planet]." (¶ 160, 2004 Book of Discipline)

Further, "We support regulations that protect the life and health of animals, including those ensuring the humane treatment of pets and other domestic animals, animals used in research, and the painless slaughtering of meat animals, fish, and fowl. We encourage the preservation of all animal species including those threatened with extinction." (¶ 160C, 2004 Book of Discipline)
It seems to me, animals have a way of revealing our humanity (and inhumanity). There is a whole Jewish cosmology that I need to explore more. While I'm comfortable with doing the blessings, I'm not sure my cat will feel the same way!

May I Ask: Where do you stand on the spiritual life of pets and animals?

May I Suggest: It is worth considering not just the liturgy but the theology behind. You may also consider whether it is in the best interest of your LOL Cat whether they need to be present at such an event! ;)


DogBlogger said...

Well, you probably can guess I have a high theological view of the animal kingdom (see a post at my work blog last month).

My first dog, Cub, the one who is ailing now, was and is a gift from God. The opportunity to rescue her came at a time when I needed rescue myself, so we wound up rescuing each other. Now we are focusing on being faithful stewards of her life right up to the end.

Ken L. Hagler said...

Thanks for linking to the post. I love animals in general, and have had cats, dog, fish, gerbils, hamsters and turtles in my care.

It has only been more recently though that I've considered the part animals play in God's design. My wife seems to think our cat knows exactly what we're saying. I think he is a goof ball ;) but she probably knows better than me.

Art said...

I had never heard of blessing animals until our Pastor suggested it a few years ago. It was a great service! I wish more congregations would do this.

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