“Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?” ~Luke 12:24-26
Martin Luther wrote once that, though he’d heard his fair share of soul-stirring preachers, there was one who stood out in his mind as far and away the most effective. There was one preacher who just seemed to bring the Gospel home more than any other. He was, Luther confessed, the little red robin who perched outside his bedside window.
Daily, he remembered, Luther would lay out some crumbs on the windowsill – usually at night – and his little preacher would spring up to gobble up his daily supply. From there, he would usually hop to the nearest tree branch, raise his voice to heaven in thanksgiving to God, tuck his little head under his wing, and drift off into peaceful sleep, leaving tomorrow to worry about itself.
After worship today, about a dozen of us from Historic Trinity spent the afternoon sitting on the outside steps of our campus passing out hundreds of dog treats (Thanks, Purina!) and blessing all sorts of festively-clad pets as a part of the Soulard Beggin’ Pet Parade. One after the other, people brought their furry little ones – and often their furry horse-sized ones – to be prayed over. Blessing pets is one of my favorite Franciscan pastimes in the world, and it got me thinking not only about the joy our pets bring into our lives, but also about the wonderful preachers they turn out to be as we care for them day in and day out.
The one thing all of these dogs, goldfish, and surprisingly-domesiticated livestock have in common is how much they rely on their masters to take care of them. They all someone to take care of them, someone to look after them, to love the and supply their “daily bread.” Truth be told, as God’s children, we’re not so different. We too need God to take care of us, we too need the Lord to look after us, to supply our daily bread as we pray Him to in the Lord’s Prayer
. What a wonderful and blessed sermon our pets preach to us every day!
So, as you hug your pets tonight – remembering the joy they have in their spirits as they bring happiness into our homes – my prayer is that we’ll listen also to the message that they bring; a message of peace, of devotion and joy, and ultimately of complete reliance and total dependence on the Lord who provides for our every need of body and soul. They’re the best preachers the world!
About the Author
Josh Hatcher is a devoted husband and father, hopeless wonder-junkie, and Senior Pastor of Historic Trinity Lutheran Church – an open and caring, radically Christ-centered, deeply sacramental and sometimes eclectic ministry in the heart of Soulard.