Animal Padre's
Christians Against All Animal Abuse
"Christ’s redemption is for the whole of creation!"

From the Christmas 2006 Issue

Animal Blessing Service

Looking in to God’s House & then warmly welcomed in!

What a privilege it was to share a service of animal blessing in the parish church of Meliden, Denbighshire, in late October. Indeed, on the kind invitation of the diocesan chancellor, Canon Reece, one was also invited to give the short sermon. Well – as most of you may already know, I never write out a sermon but rely upon the Good Shepherd Himself to give me the appropriate words to impart, and this occasion proved no exception as several folk asked me for copies of what I’d preached. Consequently, I later went in to a quiet room and began to write down the sermon as I recalled it. Therefore, it may not be verbatim but at least the gist of my sermonette – during which the animals were as good as gold! - was as follows:

It is a privilege and honour to be with you all this afternoon. The Good Shepherd Himself is with us as one can feel His presence very much in our midst and so I want to take your minds back to the wild west days of America and to a young lad there who was little more than a toddler. He lived in quite a shack of a home and one day, scuttling across the floor of the log cabin was a beetle which had now somehow got on to its back and appeared unable to rectify itself by getting on to its feet. The little boy spied the situation and when he got to it, much to the amazement of ma and pa, rather than stamp upon it, he turned it on to its feet and then watched as the beetle scuttled away to disappear in a crack between the wall and the floor. Well, the proud parents never forgot the incident!

The years past and family fortune began to build up, resulting in the little fellows family moving to a farm a good many miles away. The furniture and all other relevant paraphernalia were put into the covered wagons and the wagon train started for the new destination. Well, all went well until they came to a swift running ford on the journey. Indeed, it proved difficult indeed to get the horse drawn wagons across to the other side. What a relief it was when they got there. But then – horror of horrors – the yapping of a little dog was heard at the other side. It was the pet of a servant girl recently acquired. ‘Can’t be helped’ said the boy’s mum and dad. It’ll just have to be left to fend for itself’ And hardly had those words been uttered than had their young lad – now quite tall and lanky – entered the waters and was struggling to get to the other side. Thankfully, he made it and soon had the grateful dog beneath an arm. And, more remarkable still, with much difficulty because of the currant, he was back with the family; and not before he’d returned the little moggy to it’s grateful young mistress. Well, ma and pa looked to each other with a gulp in their throats as if to say ‘this is our boy!’

Again, time passed – the years came and went – and their young lad eventually began to study for the law. Indeed, he hadn’t been off to college for long until one day, possibly off to some assizes - and in the company of a group of other students - they were passing a tree when one of his mates said ‘look at that fledging: it must have fallen out of the nest. Ah well, it’ll make a nice taste on the pallet of some roaming predator’. But then, to their embarrassment – and regardless of the young fellows Sunday best clothes, this young man was now struggling up a difficult tree where he then replaced the young fledging back in to the nest. Indeed, his act of compassion no doubt made his fellow students somewhat ashamed as not having initiated the same moral path. One thing was sure: they didn’t forget the event.

And then there came the day when the young thin lanky fellow became a man – nay a gentleman! – of twenty eight or nine; and – once again he was in the company of comrades. They were now, possibly – along with him - qualified lawyers. Indeed they were – if my memory serves me right – on the way to an assizes, when the loud grunting of a boar was heard. And soon they witnessed its predicament. It had swivelled on its back in a shallow, slimy bog, and couldn’t right itself. Well, hardly had one young lawyer opened his mouth in horror than had their friend walked in to the mud, arrayed in clothes appropriate for the judiciary, and with great difficulty got the petrified pig on to its feet and out of the bog hole.

Well, my dear friends, the young fellow I’ve been referring to was Abraham Lincoln, and he went on to later lead a civil war, the purpose of which was largely to liberate the slaves. He was a fellow whose love and compassion was all embracing and the following words – though sometimes attributed to the earlier William Pitt – are also, most certainly, later attributed to him: -

‘I expect to pass this way but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it; for I shall not pass this way again’.

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