It was far too quiet. And by the time I noticed, the sacrilegious deed was already finished. I had purchased the loaf of bread that I would break the following morning during worship in my small congregation in Kentucky. When I left it unattended in the center of our dining room table, our dog, Sophie, jumped up and took a massive bite out of the yet-to-be-consecrated body of Christ our Lord. Jesus wept.
As frustrated as I became, I also was reminded by my better half that “You always say the Table is for everyone.”
This Sunday is World Communion Sunday in the morning and Blessing of the Animals as part of our multigenerational Evening Worship services. We will celebrate the gift of God’s saving grace for humanity at the Communion Table, and we also will bless our companion animals and give thanks for all creation. I hope you’ll join us for both.
In truth, our prayers of thanks and love for all the cats, dogs, goldfish, and hamsters that bring us so much joy is a small reenactment of the love that God has for us, the sheep of that divine pasture who are quick to run from the safety of the Good Shepherd but who get rescued anyway.
Mary Oliver wrote a poem about her dog that I offer here. I can’t help but wonder if it isn’t exactly how God feels about us, rolling over as we do to be reminded that we are loved, and to hear our names called as we are welcomed back into the safety of Home.
“Little Dog’s Rhapsody in the Night”
He puts his cheek against mine
and makes small expressive sounds.
And when I’m awake, or awake enough
he turns upside down, his four paws
in the air
and his eyes dark and fervent.
“Tell me you love me,” he says.
“Tell me again.”
Could there be a sweeter arrangement? Over and over
he gets to ask it.
I get to tell.