Why are United Methodists celebrating saints and blessing animals?
October 3, 2018
Our Senior Minister Andy Stoker authored today’s post on our recent Blessing of the Animals event. Read below to learn why we as United Methodists are giving a nod to a revered Catholic saint.
On Saturday. Sept. 29, six days before the Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assisi, the clergy and staff of FirstChurch hosted a “Blessing of the Animals” event for our neighbors. We have been so blessed by the growth of our neighborhood, and we noticed that many of our new neighbors have beloved pets accompanying them. As a Christian community, we recognize the deep and compassionate care pet owners have for their extended family members. So, a “Blessing of the Animals” was in order to give thanks to God for the pets in our neighborhood.
Why would a United Methodist Church celebrate Saint Francis in this way? We believe in celebrating God’s good gift of creation and creativity. Francis of Assisi transformed our way of seeing the world, all of God’s children and God’s creation. By recognizing these special creatures that live in our homes, our prayer is that this recognition translates to a deep and abiding respect for the entire world, from climate justice to ending every abuse of our neighbors.
Here is a prayer attributed to Saint Francis. It is a challenging prayer but gets to the heart of Francis’ call to compassion and love for all creation.
May God bless you with discomfort,
At easy answers, half-truths,
And superficial relationships
So that you may live
Deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression,
And exploitation of people,
So that you may work for
Justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless you with tears,
To shed for those who suffer pain,
Rejection, hunger and war,
So that you may reach out your hand
To comfort them and
To turn their pain to joy.
And may God bless you
With enough foolishness
To believe that you can
Make a difference in the world,
So that you can do
What others claim cannot be done
To bring justice and kindness
To all our children and the poor.
May we continue to show the love of God to all of God’s Creation!