My dog: A Blessing!

Actually, she’s spoiled rotten. But I’m still going to arrange my schedule tomorrow to bring her to church for the Blessing of the Pets, because hey, it’s that time of year!

Today is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, known to most as Christians’ favorite garden statuary (with the possible exception of a statue of the Blessed Mother appearing in most Catholic yards) and as the guy who wrote that prayer about “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”

Interestingly, there’s no evidence that he wrote that prayer. But he did write the Canticle of the Sun, a lovely prayer / song praising God through the gifts of nature, such as Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Mother Nature.

I’m not going to go into Francis’ background here – there’s plenty of information on the internet and beyond. What resonates with me about St. Francis is that he saw God’s presence in all of creation and lived that way. He came from a wealthy background, saw the futility of it, turned to a simple life and found peace there. He even preached to the birds.

I don’t spend a lot of time on social media, but I do enjoy Quora. There, people ask various questions… and any member may answer. Some answers get upvoted and viewed a lot. One this morning asked the question “Where do dogs go when they have passed? Do they go to heaven?”

Someone answered with a story about the heartbreaking loss of their dog Scooby – and then a few days later receiving an email from someone who knew him and his dog but was unaware that Scooby had died. Out of the blue, the writer felt compelled to share a dream she’d just had about Scooby that sent a clear message: “I’m ok, can you let them know?” – along with a certain toy and setting that she was unaware of but that the writer of the post recognized immediately.

I shared that post with a few pet lovers. We all agreed that it wouldn’t be heaven without our pets. After all, they give us unconditional love here on earth. We are blessed to have these loving, amazing creatures.

I hope I can manage to get home in time to get my SweetGirl off to church. She really doesn’t need a blessing, especially as she IS one…but it’s a nice way to honor what St. Francis saw hundreds of years ago – God’s hand in all aspects of God’s creation.

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First and foremost?

My husband shared a webpage this morning that surprised us both. A page from his alma mater’s website stated, as a headline: “Solidarity with Black Lives Matter.” It went on to state “First and foremost, Black Lives Matter. We stand in solidarity.”

This comes from a university that has many students of multiple races. Black lives matter, before any other lives.

Is this not the very essence of racism? To place one race above all others? To value one race, first and foremost, above all others?

I don’t know what disgusts me more: Is it the fact that a public university stands with an organization that is dedicated to “keep dismantling the organizing principle of this society?” (BLM co-founder Alicia Garza, Maine Beacon, 6/28/19). (what does “stand with” really mean, anyway? You stand next to them? You make donations? You riot protest with them? Or you just say something because…well, you want to say something?)

First and foremost, all lives matter. There are those who might find my comment racist, “code,” or “dogwhistle” or some other insanity. But all lives do matter. We are all made in the image of our Creator, and therefore, all lives matter. Have we made mistakes as a society, as a country? Of course. And the greatness that is America means that we learn from those mistakes and try to right them. In a free society, we can do that.

To state that one race, first and foremost, is above all others goes against our belief in justice, equality, and freedom. It goes against all Christian beliefs and ethics. It goes against the beliefs of millions of non-Christians as well.

The mistake that many make is to assume that BLM is merely a movement to remind us that “yes, black lives matter!” And they DO matter; that should go without saying (yet I say it here to clarify). But the organization Black Lives Matter is founded by those drenched in Marxism and steeped in communist philosophy. Their goal is not to ensure equal opportunity and equal representation for anyone; it is to crush America and diminish other races. If you doubt that, you slept through much of 2020 and were watching Hallmark movies (or CNN, or MSNBC) instead of what was really happening as 140 American cities saw incredible damage, riots, fires and destruction at the hands of Antifa and BLM last year. Small businesses (owned by people of many races) were destroyed, all in the name of “dismantling the organizing principles of society” and in some warped idea of “justice.” Where is the justice for those who lost their businesses, their livelihoods?

I cannot reconcile a movement like this with Christianity. It makes no sense. I have a very hard time reconciling ULL’s (University of Louisiana, Lafayette) viewpoint on this. My husband only saw this today (on the English department page) because a friend sent it to him. A similar statement appears on the university’s history blog in June, 2020, so this isn’t exactly news – but it was news to us. We are saddened, as many of our family attended UL. There is a request for a donation on the kitchen counter. Or…there was one. It’s been filed in an appropriate place; we don’t support this type of thing.

First and foremost. Above all other lives, black lives matter the most. Everyone else – everyone – is a second class citizen. If that’s not what you meant, perhaps you should reword it. After all, you’re English majors…right?

Alleluia!

This is the second Easter of CoVid. How strange it feels. Last year, we understood the need for being locked down. Besides, it was only to be for a few weeks. But a year later, we still aren’t doing the usual Easter things today; no vigil service in the early morning. Easter egg hunts for children – at least public ones – are few and far between. Everything is curtailed, muffled, depressed and suppressed.

In CoVid Year 2, we need Easter more than ever. But then, we always need Easter. Right now, the message of Easter – salvation and the eternal, fierce, unending love of God – is more necessary to our psyches and souls than I can ever remember.

We are a world in uproar; a nation divided by many foolish, superficial things. “How can the saving of human lives be foolish and superficial?!” you may ask? It’s not, and I’m not referring to masks and lockdowns etc. Besides, the saving of lives is never superficial. What IS superficial is where our focus lies. This is no political commentary; rather, I believe we would all be better off if we were to focus on something other than fear, division, who feels insulted and “offended”, what someone’s preferred pronouns are – and instead focus on the promise of Easter, which is open to all of humankind, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, gender, and so on.

For those who might cry “enough of prayer and talk, we need action!” I would ask what greater action could there possibly be than a loving God who gave humankind the greatest gift imaginable?

To simplify (greatly), can you imagine this loving God saying “how can I POSSIBLY make these people understand how much I love them?!? And how much I want them to know me, to join me in heaven to be with me forever? Ah! I know, I will send my own son to earth. Maybe HE can get it through their thick skulls. I will ask him to do whatever it takes to make them realize my love.”

Jesus did whatever it took. That, my friend, is action.

Yet we divert our attention away from the most amazing, freeing, incredible gift in the history of humanity and stand around quibbling about…oh, I don’t know, the correct amount of social distancing at the Easter egg hunt?

The gift of salvation through Jesus Christ is the miracle of Easter, and the core belief of Christianity. It doesn’t matter what Christian tradition you follow, and it doesn’t matter what you read and study as “Science.” It really doesn’t. None of us gets out of here alive in body, but through the love and sacrifice of Christ, we can all get out of here alive…forever. With a God that loves us beyond all understanding. Isn’t that a relief? Isn’t that something you’d rather focus on? We cannot seek the living among the dead, and never forget that the strife and division that we see daily in our country and in the world is death to the spirit.

The cross is empty. The tomb is empty. Alleluia! The Lord is risen!

Another Easter post you may enjoy is from 2017: The Gift of Skepticism.