Archive for September, 2010

Aren’t we thankful for the pets that share our life’s pilgrimage with us?

Beloved Wesley Departs. In March, we had to put our beloved 17 year old cat named Wesley (named for John Wesley) to sleep. He was our first family pet, he had orange and white long hair that was beautiful until about a year ago. We found 6 month Wesley at the Southeast Texas Humane Society where he charmed us with his antics of chasing a roach on the wall.  At the end of his life, he quickly went from 12-14 lbs. to about 7-9 lbs. He made a miraculous recovery several times, but the last time he was just too sick. Harvey, James, and I had a little family funeral service at the vet’s before he died. We remembered all the fun times we had together with him and we prayed a blessing of thanksgiving over him and asked angels to attend this sweet creation of God to the heavenlies (yes, I believe that there are animals in the heavenlies as they are part of God’s redeemed creation also). James and me blessing our beloved 17 year old Wesley

Our Current Pets.Currently, we have three  cats, a large Maine Coon cat named Luther (for Martin Luther) and two Hurricane Rita kitties named Purry Pumpkin because he sings (purrs)  all the time and and Bird (because the vet tech’s daughter said he looked blue like a bluebird and because of the location of where we found him).

Hurricane Rita Prayers for a Pet (preferably a dog.) In late August 2005, with the warnings of Hurricane Rita’s possibly hitting Beaumont, we decided we had better pack up and head north. On the way out of the driveway  with our car packed to the gills with our worldly possessions and cats jammed into whatever crevice they could find,  I told God that whatever little animal that he wanted us to take care of we would do so….just knowing in my child-like heart that a dog would be waiting in our driveway when we returned home. Thousands of Hurricane Katrina victims had been living in our city in the month since Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. We had heard stories of their pets being left behind and needing a new home, so my yard and my heart were available for a pup that needed a home.

Hurricane Rita Gifts from God. We returned to Southeast Texas about 2-3 weeks later after the Hurricane hit Beaumont and the Gulf Coast, to our home with a huge pine tree through the dining room, the balcony knocked off, and the front yard resembling old photos of Civil War battlefields. We drove in the driveway and like a child expectant at Christmas, I was craning my head looking for that new pet, that new dog. I just knew that a beautiful pup was going to come around the corner and let out a “welcome home …I’m your new dog kind of bark.” But alas, there was no doggie gift.

Later that day, we went to Harvey’s office to clean up the hurricane mess there. I was in the back office trying to cool off in the air conditioning as his office’s electricity had come back on and ours at home had not. Harvey was picking up a tree that had been blown down in his parking lot. I heard a knock, knock, knock on the window and there was Harvey beaming, tenderly holding up for me to see a tiny 2-3 week old yellow and white fuzzy kitten in his hand. I ran out in the stifling humidity and heat and cuddled that little precious bundle of purry fur in my hands and said, “Oh great…gee thanks God, now I am in the crazy cat lady category!!” I was now the owner of four cats.

A few minutes later, another tap, tap, tap on the window and he lovingly holds up another little bundle of grayish-blue and white fur. I ran outside and found myself holding the answers  to my prayer, a tiny kitten in each hand. “Now I REALLY am in the crazy cat lady category!” I prayed and You answered…just not how I expected. According to a neighbor, those two precious little babies had been carried up in the tree by the neighborhood ferrell mama cat when she sensed the hurricane was coming to keep them out of the flood. When the tornadoes came through, the tree tumbled down, and the limbs and leaves protected those tiny furry babies under the tree until we found them. They have been such a joy to us.

Welcome to the Family. Luther, the big 23-25 lb. Maine Coon, had been in subjugation for two years to the senior Wesley and he was almost neurotic. He must have been lonesome. I remember one day not long before the hurricane, laying my hands on Luther’s head and praying for him and placing the sign of the cross on his big beautiful head. God answered that kitty and human prayer.

Harvey and I were wary of showing those tiny kittens to Luther, because he is so large and he could harm them very easily if he desired. When Luther saw the “blue” one he just sort of opened one eye , but when we showed him that  little orange and white kitten, he sighed the most heartwrenching sound (like “I’ve been waiting for you, what took you so long!”), he took his huge paw and arm and pulled the little orange and white kitten up to himself and snuggled him in as his own baby and from that point on Luther has been a much happier kitty cat. Luther and Purry Pumpkin are inseparable friends. That singing Hurricane Rita kitty was the answer to Luther’s and my prayer. As long as I live, I will never forget Luther’s pure sigh of  pure joy, it still sends shivers down my arms.

Luther with his arm around his dear friend, Pumpkin

Blessings of the Animals. Several years ago, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) where I pastor, started having a Blessing of the Animals each Fall close to St. Francis’ Day. The church members and neighbors bring their beloved pets and we gather around the labyrinth on our grounds. The dogs, cats, and even a horse gather and they are usually rather noisy and having fun rough-housing on our grounds. But the minute, we begin the service, each and every time, those beloved creations of God settle down, become quiet and reverent. It is a sacred time as we thank God for our pets and each pet receives a blessing and a treat. Our next Blessings of the Animals is Saturday, November 9 at 11:00 am.

Dogtoberfest. Last year, Main Street Beaumont graciously welcomed our church’s suggestion to have a Dog Blessing Booth at their Dogtoberfest in October. Several of our church members were trained to bless the pets and did a great job. Each dog received a personal blessing and a doggie treat bag. We will participate once again in that fun and sacred time on Saturday, October 9 from 9-3:30 at the giant Dalmatian Fire Hydrant in downtown Beaumont near the Fire Museum and Crockett Street.

Dogtoberfest 2010
Dogtoberfest 2010

Our pets share our homes, our lives, and our hearts. They somehow intwine their lives with ours. They are part of God’s creation and we are blessed to have their unconditional love and faithful friendship. They will greet us someday in the heavenlies. Here is a link to a wonderful video on God and dogs: http://www.godanddog.org/

Please join me in a prayer of thanks for your pet:

Dear God, thank you for the great and good gift of (pet’s name). I am blessed that you have allowed (pet’s name) to share his/her life with me. Help me to be a good friend to my pet and to provide for him/her in the same way that you provide for me. Thank you for his/her love  and faithfulness. Help my pet to know Your love through my devoted care and love for him/her. Thank you also for the vet who helps me care for (pet’s name.) Help me to recognize my pet’s needs and may he/she be a happy and well-adjusted part of our family as long as he/she lives. Amen.

Bird, Wesley, Pumpkin, Luther in their favorite place
Bird, Wesley, Pumpkin, Luther in their favorite place

Would you share your story of how your pet came to live with you? Share a story of something special that your pet has done.

Update as of September 2011. Sadly, our beautiful handsome huge Maine Coon Luther died on August 16. His vet and techs attended the little funeral we had at the office and they cried as much as we did. We are very grateful for their loving care of him his last few weeks. He is greatly grieved by his human and cat family. Run Luther run across the Rainbow Bridge. I hope you greet us someday on the other side.


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Doing unto others. The last time I checked, the Jesus that I follow and preach said to “do unto others as we would have them do unto us.” Somehow I think that means respecting other peoples faith and beliefs. We don’t have to agree with them, but heck, we should respect others’ sacred scriptures as we would have them respect our beloved sacred scripture, the Bible.

Finding meaning.In 1989, there was some sort of really atrocious “art” by Andres Serrano with a plastic crucifix in urine that won several major awards and the main ones who spoke out in offense were our Muslim neighbors…they may not believe what the cross stands for but at least they respected the symbol of our Christian faith. It is interesting, yet incredibly sad that the church that Terry Jones pastors is called “Dove World Outreach Center.” The dove represents the Holy Spirit and the promise of peace on earth among all peoples. The next two words in the church’s name are “world outreach.” His terrorism does not reflect an any way the meaning of “outreach,” of caring for others as the Samaritan man reached out to his “enemy” the robbed and beaten Jewish man.

Dove of Peace
Dove of Peace

Mean spirited pastor. It’s hard to believe that a mean-spirited terrorist pastor of some  small congregation could cause such world-wide angst. Shame on him. Shame on us if we don’t speak out in the  name of Jesus who taught us to respect and love another.

An apology and prayer. So here I say, “My Muslim friends of the world, I am sorry that someone who purports to be a follower and teacher of Jesus the Christ would even consider doing such a shameful thing to your sacred scriptures. Jesus taught us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. So, please forgive his stupid and perverse motivation. He does not reflect the majority of Christians  in America or anywhere in the world. In reality, Terry Jones is a terrorist just as there are terrorists within all faiths and culture groups. Sadly, there are those who forget that all the world’s major faiths of the world strive for God’s peace and love. May you know that millions of people are horrified by the evil insanity that terrorists of all faiths try to inflict upon those who disagree about faith issues. We are all God’s beloved creation and should treat each other as family not foes. May we continue to pray that the peace of God will prevail. May terrorists of all faiths be filled with new life and hearts re-created by the Spirit of God.”

Prayer for Peace: O God of love and peace beyond measure, please forgive us for not loving our neighbor as ourselves, for thinking that hate trumps love, that holding to right doctrine wins us points in the heavenlies. We confess that we often think that we have all the answers. We ask that the peace of your Son Jesus the Christ would prevail. Spirit of the Living God hover over Your creation and give us hearts that are soft and not stony, minds that are open and not closed, souls that long for salvation and not destruction, hands and feet that are swift to do good and not evil , and tongues that bring blessing and not bitterness. May we love as we have been loved. May we forgive as we have been forgiven. Amen.

Follow-up for 9-11. Thank you for reading this post. It is good to read that Terry Jones has called off his Koran burning. 9-11 is a very sad day for our country and for our world. Terrorism in any religion is wrong. It has caused havoc upon humanity for thousands of years. Let us continue to pray that the peace of Christ will come upon our earth and may it begin with each of us. The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi has been in my head and heart the past few days, it seems appropriate for today:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me show love;
where there is injury, pardon:
where there is doubt, faith ;
where there is despair, hope
where there is darkness, light
where there is sadness, joy
O divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

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