"Happy are those … whose hope is the Lord their God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them." - Psalm 146
Consider the animal kingdom. What sort of God would dream these creatures up? A God with a sense of humor and a love of diversity. The stripe of a zebra and the speed of a gazelle, the inscrutable but humorous face of a cow, and the serious, shimmering buzz of a hummingbird. A God of indescribable power. The shuddering splash of the sea as a thousand-pound whale arcs out of the ocean to breach and crash back into water's cool embrace. A God of endlessly mysterious inventiveness. A fly designed to sit upon a horse's back who has a tail designed to flick that fly away.
A God who knows we need to be protected. A fierce bark and the flash of teeth.
A God who knows it is good to learn of death at an early age, entrusting us and our children with these beloved creatures who fly through their years "racing the arc [of life] as though it were some run they'd gone for, a jaunt in the best of woods"*exhausting their existence far too quickly, leaving us bereft; but also rehearsed for the inevitable greater pain our future holds.
A God who knows that we need to love and be loved. The touch of fur, the play, the comfort, the wordless assurance that you are needed. All of this from the God who gives us the blessing of animals in our lives.
Dear God we thank you for the earth, the sea and all that is in them. Amen.
* From "Ultrasound," a poem by Mark Doty
Matt Fitzgerald is the Senior Pastor of St. Pauls United Church of Christ, Chicago, IL.