We are a few weeks away from one of my favorite events of the year, our annual fall festival and pet blessing! Flyers are available in the church for your use as you invite friends and neighbors for a morning of fun, food, fellowship and activity. In the spirit of Saint Francis, who himself lived in harmony with creation, we will gather that day to enjoy the animals entrusted to our care. Amidst all of the sniffing, barking, meowing, and squawking, we will ask God's blessing upon the animals that capture our hearts and become part of our families.
As another part of this celebration, we recall a vital aspect of our faith as Christians. We believe that all God created is good, as stated in the first chapter of Genesis. And God placed man as the tenant or manager over all of His creation. However, when man turned away from God the consequences affected all of creation.
When man turned to his own interest and desires, it disordered his God-given role in creation. This serves as a reminder to us all that sin always affects others. Sin is never contained, solely affecting the one who sinned. Part of the consequences were that the earth was subject to futility, to borrow Paul's language (see third chapter of Genesis). The ground would not bear its fruits without toil and labor. Man's motives became self serving, disordering his role as manager over the animals.
The amazing, merciful, and beautiful reality is that the story does not end here! When Jesus died for us, He not only redeemed us but all of creation with us. Jesus' blood shed upon the cross covers our sins, and also those of the earth (quite literally). It began God's process of restoring creation. Paul reminds us in Romans that all of creation (the land, it’s creatures, and ourselves) is being freed from the bondage of sin. He uses the image of childbirth to indicate how the process has begun, but is not fully realized or completed.
So as we gather to bless our pets, or perhaps to adopt one, we do so to recall and participate in what God is doing. We celebrate all that God is accomplishing as He redeems the whole of His creation. And as my wife likes to joke, we let our minds wander to envision what more obedient creatures look like in God's fully restored creation and Kingdom! So grab your pet(s), invite your friends and neighbors, and enjoy fellowship during our annual fall festival and pet blessing as we remember God's great plan for us all.