It’s quiet around here this morning. If you know me at all, you know I’m not complaining. Solitude and silence are good for me—life-giving you might say.
It’s quieter here today because Aoife (pronounced Ava), our nine-year-old Springer has gone to her reward. So, she’s not rustling around in the living room or scratching at the back door or barking at golfers or golf course workers at the back fence. None of that. This “quiet” is one of something missing. Our buddy-dog is gone.
Here’s what I think: I think that we live in a culture that dances dangerously close to worshiping the creation rather than, or alongside of, the Creator. That’s unfortunate because it actually reduces proper respect for “nature” and diminishes our enjoyment of the creation. If I look at an airplane and say, “My, what a lovely car,” you’d agree that something is amiss in my thinking.
So, to gently frame appropriate thinking toward creation, may I offer a paragraph or few about that?
All of creation reflects the glory of the Creator. The creation has no glory of its own; every created thing points to the glory of the Creator. Consider these words from Colossians 1:15-23 (The Message):
We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of Angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.
He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the Cross.
You yourselves are a case study of what he does. At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of him, giving him trouble every chance you got. But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God’s side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence. You don’t walk away from a gift like that! You stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message, careful not to be distracted or diverted. There is no other Message—just this one. Every creature under heaven gets this same Message. I, Paul, am a messenger of this Message.
–from The Message: New Testament In Contemporary Language, Eugene H. Peterson
Having said—quoted—all that, here are the Top Ten Things I Liked About Aoife:
1) She wagged from her shoulders back…
2) She’d get up on the chairs or the sofa if she thought we weren’t paying attention.
3) Though she never caught one, she never tired of chasing birds.
4) She let me teach her to sit, lie down, speak, and go to her house.
5) She got upset if people walked or drove carts the wrong direction on the golf course.
6) She somehow figgered she was still small enough to sit in Windy’s lap to watch TV.
7) She was always unconditionally forgiving when i was a dumb or unkind human. (A particular reflection of the Glory of God.)
8) She liked pancakes on Saturday mornings.
9) She liked bacon juice on her cheap dog food.
10) She looked good in the back of my truck.
I was stroking her brow when she breathed her last yesterday, telling her it’d be alright. When life left her eyes I felt the loss of one of God’s works, a companion to me.
Windy taught me a lot about life one day when she said that it had occurred to her that Aoife would only get one life, and we should try to make it the best it could be. In that, I learned a good reason to respect the dignity of every human being for the same reason. A pet has given us a glimpse into our mission in our community. Not a bad life’s work, Aoife. Not bad at all.
Friends, if you have a pet, I hope you enjoy him, her, or them greatly, stopping short of worship. I hope you perceive your pets to be gifts from God, and that you’ll know Him through his gifts. He is good, and He brings forth good. Peace to your house!