Blessing of the Animals

Published by AV Coordinator on

By Leslie Sawyer (Founder/Shelter Director at Eden Animal Haven)

The opening reading is Blessing of the Animals, by Thomas Rhodes.

You Birds of the Air,
Hawk, Sparrow, and laughing Jay
You embody freedom itself,
delight us with your song, astound us with feats of migration
Grant us your perspective,
for too often our horizon is limited
and we are blind to the full results of our actions.
You Worms of the Earth,
Ants, Beetles, Spiders and Centipedes
You are the essential but oft-forgotten strand in nature’s web.
Through you the cycle is complete;
through you new life arises from old.
Remind us of our humility.
For the wheel of live does not turn around us;
we are not the axle, but merely spokes
no less than unseen, unknown and shunned companions
such as yourselves.
You creatures of the field and wood and field, marsh and desert—
Bear and Bison, Skunk and Squirrel, Weasel and Wolf
Too often we have sacrificed your homes in the name of progress,
clear cutting the forests to fill our desire,
or covering the earth with tarmac, cement, and suburban lawns.
Pray that we may remember that the earth was not given for our needs alone,
and what we do to you, we eventually do to ourselves.
You animals of the farm—
Horse and cow, pig and fowl
Willingly or not, you give your very lives for us,
your milk for our nourishment, your flesh for our sustenance,
Yet too often we forget that the meat on our tables was once as alive as we are.
Forgive our willful ignorance,
and remind us constantly to give thanks for your sacrifice.
You Dearest Companions in our lives
Dogs and Cats, Hamsters and Goldfish
You who are with us today
and you who always be present in our memories
You have enriched our lives in so many ways
endured our shortcomings with calm acceptance
taught us something of our humanity
taught us how to love.
May we hold you in our hearts throughout the days of our lives.

Moment of Perspective – The Cat – AJ Fox

By Uma Krishnaswami, 2006 in The Broken Tusk: Stories of the Hindu God Ganesha. It is a story that has been used In several UU curriculums including Love Will Guide Us.

Earth Was Given as a Garden
Congregational Hymn
Words: Roberta Bard (no known copyright holder)
Music: Rowland Hugh Pritchard (public domain)

The Happy Farmer
Traditional Irish Melody, Arr. Virginia Halberg
Performed by Colleen Appel

A Deserted Farm
No. 8 of Woodland Sketches, Op. 51 by Edward MacDowell
Performed by Colleen Appel

The Final Reading is When Your Best Friend Has Four or So Legs, by Theresa I. Soto, from the UU meditation manual Spilling the Light.

What it means to have a pet is to
love someone who speaks a language
you do not. A dog will bow and prance,
a cat will purr and blink. A guinea pig
will giggle and squeak. A long time ago
a friend of mine had a dog with soft ears,
and considered herself the pup’s guardian.
A gentle way to think of protecting
and caring for a friend, such a small gesture
of respect for a source of boundless love.
The dog’s long pink tongue lolling in a goofy
grin. The cat convinced that kneading
and grooming are crucial to this day. A bird
asking for a treat, bending a wing to wave.
These are friends. They are loves. It’s
kind of a surprise that you should love
someone so much who would eat the butter
on the table if they could get away with it,
and gets endless hair on the sofa when they
aren’t even supposed to be on the furniture.
When they are called companion animals,
it’s such an open, tender truth. The endless
cuddles and tricks and loyalty. The comfort
of fingers to fur and big, adoring eyes.
These are friends. They are loves. They
stretch our hearts and fill them with
their abundance of kindness. When they
are gone, our hearts remain larger,
though their absence leaves room
for expanses of grief. Their love
champions and companions us still.

Categories: Sermon