Rector's Rhetoric - June 2016
Mahatma Gandhi — 'The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.'
Maybe you’ve seen the commercial on TV of the woman who is in the business of buying ugly homes. At the end of the commercial she says, “and please spay and neuter your pets.” I always thought that was an odd remark to make on TV until the problem literally wound up on our office doorstep. Many of you know of my unusual attachment to the alley cats in the parish neighborhood. I’ve been feeding them for quite some time, but have recently had to give it up for the sake of my own sanity. There are just too many and I can’t afford their vet or food bills or adopt them out fast enough to keep up. I’ve taken two to our home and soon to be three, but that’s it! No more. Some of them are in terrible condition and only come to feed at night when no one is watching. Others have the sense that the church is safe haven and that we’re not here to hurt them. They just need someone to love and care for them.
A couple of months ago a female cat that I’d grown especially fond of began to spread out and gain weight at an alarming rate. Knowing how all that works, I began to make preparations for her imminent miracle, and not a day too soon. Thank God it was four kittens and not eight! We’ve set up a temporary kitten daycare in the office kitchen, and it won’t be long until they’re weened. They’ve been a popular attraction for our kids following church, and at this point I think we have them all promised to various members. But that’s it! No more!
I’ve told people that I blame all of this on my Celtic Spirituality class. It sensitized me into seeing God in just about all living things, which can be both blessing and curse. It’s such a painful thing to see and hear the stories of people abusing animals on the news at night, the stories of abandoned pets, the pictures in the paper of dogs and cats in need of a home that may never come. Providing a home for an animal can be an enormous chore, a responsibility requiring our best and most patient stewardship, and the truth is that some people aren’t any more suited to raise a cat or dog than they are a child. But if you are suited, what a blessing it is. In the beginning, God smiled at God’s handiwork and said, “Isn’t it grand! All of these living things! To have and to care for!” And so it is that God gave humans dominion over all living creatures, the responsibility for their well-being. It’s up to us, in whatever ways we can, to love and appreciate all that we’ve been given.