By Vicar Jamie
This past weekend’s “Blessing of the Animals” got me to thinking about all the wonderful things that animals can teach us about God and faith. Allow me to share with you some fun animal facts I discovered.
Squirrels can drive us totally nuts by digging up our gardens and flower beds. They uproot flower bulbs and either eat them or rebury the red tulip bulbs in the yellow tulip section of the flower bed! Or they bury acorns or other nuts where we don’t want them. But consider this...because squirrels bury nuts by simply doing what squirrels do, millions of new trees grow every year! As disciples of Christ, when we share our faith through our actions (and sometimes even with words), we plant seeds of faith in others. Just as God created tiny acorns that can grow into tall and majestic oak trees, God nurtures and grows the seeds of faith that we often unknowingly plant in others.
Sea Otters hold onto each other’s paws when they sleep so they don’t drift apart. We can learn a lot from sea otters! Imagine what the world would look like if we all held onto each other so that those on the fringes of society were not in danger of drifting away, alone. Imagine that by holding on to them, we showed them they are part of the community and welcome! God holds us close in this way. God won’t ever let us drift so far away that we are outside of God’s reach.
Elephants show great empathy for others, even for different species. An elephant will respond to another elephant’s distress by acting the same exact way. Researchers have witnessed elephants moving to stand beside a distressed elephant and touching it with their trunk in order to provide comfort. Human beings have, to an extent, become numb to the suffering of others. We have only to turn on the nightly news to hear story after story of violence, death and destruction. We hear it and see it so frequently that it often doesn’t faze us – it’s more of the same of what we heard the day before, and the day before that, and so on. But what if, instead of tuning it out, we took action and stood shoulder to shoulder with those that are suffering? Standing strong beside one another, hand in hand (or trunk to trunk!), we work towards ending violence, we hold up those affected by violence until they are once again strong enough to join the fight?