Beloved Members of St. Martin’s,
This Saturday, on October 7, we call all animal lovers to gather at 4 pm to commemorate the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, which actually occurs on October 4.
Francis is remembered as one who extolled the integrity, the oneness of creation, one who saw all of the universe, from the Sun and the Moon to even the tiniest creatures, as giving praise to the God and Creator of All. Our two readings today reflect that spirit of the joyful honoring of creation that Francis taught.
In the gospel for Francis’s feast day, Matthew 6:25-33, Jesus tells his followers not to worry about anything—that God’s love for even the littlest birds and the grasses of the fields, a love that is filled with delight and wonder, nonetheless pales in comparison with God’s love for us.
Luckily, we are also reminded of God’s love especially in the love and faithfulness of our companion animals, whose steadfast joy in us models to us the love and devotion we ourselves are made to exhibit toward our God.
Canines and cats,
reptiles and rats,
Cows and conies,
hamsters and ponies,
Sugar gliders and hedgehogs
turtles and tree frogs
Guinea pigs that crawl
(though not from Guinea, nor pigs at all)---
they show their devotion to us unswervingly. The very presence of all these living creatures in our lives remind us of God’s love. They remind us, also, that we are charged from the very first story in scripture with service to the earth and all the living things upon it and within it. Even the smallest creature has been placed on Earth to support the web of life on this planet, from humans to honeybees, and none is dispensable—not even wasps or mosquitos, who, I have to admit, are not my favorites.
Our companion animals’ devotion exemplifies the devotion and joyful worship we owe God.
Our pets’ love exemplifies the love we are called to bear for each other, no matter our differences.
Each creature is a reminder of God’s blessing to and love for us. It is that holy and limitless love that binds all things together, just as mutual forces of gravity and attraction hold galaxies and stars in their courses as they dance through space—and held together through laws of attraction—the law of love. As we celebrate the love and delight our animals give us, may we too embody that same love toward God, and toward each other, here at St. Martin’s and in every moment.