Blessing (of) the Animals

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Francis. Mennonites don’t generally do a lot with traditional saints or feast days, but I know Saint Francis holds a special place in many of our hearts because of his connection with Creation and the natural world. 

There are many different stories and legends that swirl around the person of Saint Francis, some of them more fantastical than others. Born to a wealthy family, he eventually renounced that wealth, stripping naked in the town square to show the depth of his conviction. He ended up giving much of his former wealth away and turned toward a life of simplicity and following the call God had placed on his life. Two of my favorite stories about Francis are that he was called on to settle a dispute between a town and a wolf, and that he was known to preach the gospel to the birds. 

One tradition that many congregations hold on this day is an annual service of Blessing of the Animals in Saint Francis’ honor. While CMC doesn’t (currently?) do this, I wanted to offer a blessing for all those animals that are part of the families of our congregation even though we rarely get to see them on a Sunday morning. (Side note: please put your pets in your Zoom window more often…) I offer this blessing knowing that these creatures are companions for us and offer us their own blessings in many different ways.  

Blessing for the Animals:
May all the creatures of earth, sky, and sea,
Know God’s love and share abundantly.
May squawks, and meows, and arfs, and chitters,
Be hymns of praise from all God’s critters.
For those whose lift our spirits high
With boops and purrs, with puppy-dog eyes,
Grant them grace for all they do
To help us know God’s love anew.