I anticipate a “blessing of the animals” service in my congregation this week and think about what I have learned from God’s creatures.
I watch the dog play — she chases a stick,
returning it, again and again –
for the joy she takes in her muscles
and in her companion,
now she snuffles in leaves
for the smell of a fallen summer.
I watch the kitten play — he, too, chases
a ball of hunter green yarn —
forever entertained by the
mysterious unwinding wiggle of things.
I have seen small rabbits
roll on one another,
fox kits wrestle,
a dolphin bump a swimmer
and whistle, swimming away,
a gerbil, speedy on his personal
diminutive Nordic track,
the raccoon family who regularly tips
my empty garbage can,
a sparrow splashing
a bird bath of water and sunshine.
There are no winners and losers
in their play –
except perhaps for the fruit-ball game
of the spider monkeys,
who are behind bars in the zoo.
Prayer attributed to Albert Schweitzer
O God, I thank you for all the creatures thou has made, so perfect in their kind — great animals like the elephant and the rhinoceros, humorous animals like the camel and the monkey, friendly ones like the dog and the cat, working ones like the horse and the ox,
timid ones like the squirrel and the rabbit, majestic ones like the lion and the tiger, for birds with their songs.
Hear our humble prayer, O God, for our friends the animals, especially for animals who are suffering; for any that are lost or deserted or frightened or hungry; that we entreat them all the mercy and pity, and for those who deal with them we ask a heart of compassion and gentle hands and kind words. Make us to be true friends to animals and to share the blessings of the merciful. Amen
My cousin Eve’s friend, Masquerade!