I woke up in the middle of the night last night, asking myself why I decided to have a Blessing of the Animals at the 10:00 service today. I could have done it yesterday; I could have done it this afternoon; I could have done it tomorrow. As I stared at the ceiling, I imagined all the ways the service could go wrong–animals out of control; humans outraged; no animals whatsoever.
In the end it was great, all of it. Sure the service went a little long, but it was fun, joy-filled, and well-attended. There were animals: stuffed ones, some ashes, several photographs and digital images. There were real animals, too: dogs, cats, hamsters, and a rabbit named Prada. The joy for me was not only seeing all of those animals, and acknowledging all of the love in these relationships; above all, the joy was in seeing the joy on the faces of everyone in the congregation as we celebrated God’s creation together.
I think we’ll do it this way in future years, too.