This morning I took my crazy red-eyed Boston Terrier, Baxter, to get blessed. Every year around the Feast day of St. Francis, my children’s school has a Blessing of the Animals service. It’s always such beautiful chaos- dogs and fish and hamsters and bunny rabbits and cats and who even knows what else, all jumping and hollering and yapping on the lawn as the chaplain and a whole slew of helpers come through to pray for them. As my daughter said at our first go-round, “He could use all the blessing he can get!” (Those of you who know Baxter P. Wax are laughing at this.) Last year, Baxter returned the favor by urinating on her leg. I’m not sure either of us have ever laughed so hard.
It’s always a crowd-pleaser with kids to invite their pets to share in a small part of their school day (think of all those bestselling childrens books where the pet follows the child to school), but I have to say, it’s such a lovely thing to do. I appreciate eccentric St. Francis who preached to the birds and fed them communion, because he realized how wide God’s love for all of creation reached. To watch my proud children beam today as they squatted beside Baxter and put their hands on him and prayed for him is precious. I also appreciate the reminder that in their love and care for him, they can show forth the love of God in a real and tangible way. We should create more places for children to feel that sense of connection between creation and God and the way love weaves itself through it all. Because through all the commotion this morning, that lawn was overflowing with love and laughter.