Many congregations hold a “Blessing of the Animals” service on or around October 4, the commemoration of Francis of Assisi (1182-1226). St. Francis was known for his care for the poor, his simplicity of life and his love of nature. Francis exemplified a spirit of honor, love and respect for all living things, regardless of status, and is remembered for preaching to a flock of birds.
When invited to identify specific blessings they receive from their pets, people often name such things as unconditional love, companionship, protection, meeting their need to be needed, motivation to walk daily, playfulness and contentment.
In blessing the animals, we affirm our connection with one another and with all of God’s beloved creation. Within blessing lies promise, commitment and inspiration to care for what belongs to God, to live together in peace and harmony and to embrace our calling to be good stewards of all that God has made.
Today is the 18th Sunday after Pentecost. This message is an excerpt from “Living creatures of every kind” by Julie Kanarr in the October 2017 issue of Gather magazine.