There is a tradition (though it is a fairly new one) at my church of doing a Blessing of the Animals service in May. The service is short, informal and held out on the lawn of the church. People bring their pets and the minister blesses them.
It’s a bit of a strange thing to do, in some peoples’ eyes, but I have to admit, I love it. For me, it is a time to preach about the idea that when we disrespect creation, we disrespect the creator. It’s a time to preach in the open air and be interrupted by sounds you don’t normally hear on a Sunday morning (chirps and barks and the like). It’s a time to gather with other animal lovers and affirm the relationship each of us have with our various pets.
Some might scoff at the idea of blessing a bunch of cats and dogs (and two very vocal birds). But I found that in doing this service, I was the one who was blessed.
I had the pleasure of baptizing my “adopted” niece on Sunday. It was a precious day for me. I had baptized her two older brothers (on the same day), a couple of years ago. I was touched that my friends (her parents) wanted me to be the one to preside over this moment in her life. It meant a lot to me that I got to baptize each of the Jeffrey children, and it meant a lot to them that I was willing and able to do it.
So this past Sunday the whole lot of the Jeffrey’s drove all the way to Brampton for 1o:30am. We had a lovely time in the service (Dad and I sang “In His Time”), and afterwards everyone headed back to the Manse for a shared lunch. It was beautiful, and I was reminded how deeply blessed I am to have these friends in my life. Even though we now live in different cities – an hour apart – we continue to grow in friendship and to keep in contact with each other.
God has blessed me with really great friendships over the years and the one I share with the Jeffrey’s is especially beautiful to me because it is a friendship with the entire family. I knew Rob as a teenager, became friends with his wife, Michelle, about 4 years ago. I have been at the hospital when each of their children arrived. We have been through good and through bad together. We are better than friends, we are chosen-family.
I am blessed. And in case you don’t know how much I am blessed, here are a few pics from the baptism, to prove it to you!
Tonite was the second Weight Watchers Party with some of my colleagues who are also trying to lose weight. We get together once a month and every body brings somethings WW friendly. Then we have a meal and talk about where we are at – in our ministry, with our WW journey, with life in general.
Tonite we had some good old-fashioned (or maybe new-fashioned?) girl-talk. And it was awesome. There are some people you just know you can trust with the honest truth about all things. And these girls are some of those people for me.
I am struck by the idea of how important it is to have an inner circle. Some folks with whom you can just be 100% you. I am blessed to include a number of folks in my inner circle. Some of them interact with each other, some of them have never met and the only thing they have in common is that they know me. Either way, it is good to know there are those who I can turn to when I just need to talk.
Jesus had an inner circle, too. They were less than perfect. They sometimes completely missed the point about where his life was leading. They abandoned him at his most painful hour. And yet he trusted them. And through them, the message spread. Through them the world came to know about the resurrection and the new life available through Christ.
I was reminded today that they were just “12 ordinary men,” but the face of history was changed by them. And in that I find a great sense of hope. Jesus doesn’t need perfect people. He doesn’t need people who’ve got it all together or who get it right all the time. He needs people who care and people who want to share what they’ve found with others.
-getting a new hair cut
-visiting a friend I haven’t seen for a while (had lunch and played word games)
-great warm weather
-wore a skirt and no socks (yay!!! I love leaving behind sock weather!)
-visiting with friends I see regularly
-going for walks with both friends that I visited
-being able to leave Koski on her own for a bit (crated) without the cone of shame
-having BBQ for dinner
-all the kind things that friends on FB have said about my hair
-watching movies with friends
-got two pairs of crapris at Value Village….one pair is from the Gap and it still shocks me that a size 12 fits me now – even a Gap size 12!!