October 2019

Post date: Sep 26, 2019 3:56:36 PM

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On October 4th, the church commemorates St. Francis of Assisi, renewer of the church, who died in 1226. Pope Francis takes his name from Francis of Assisi. St. Francis was the son of a wealthy cloth merchant. In a public confrontation with his father, he renounced his wealth and future inheritance and devoted himself to serving the poor. Under his leadership the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans) was formed, and they took literally Jesus’ words to his disciples that they should take nothing on their journey and receive no payment for their work. Francis had a spirit of gladness and gratitude for all God’s creation. He called the animals his brothers and sisters.

You who have pets know that they become a member of the family. The Hickman’s “brother”, Buddy the dog, died September 5th at the ripe old age of 14. That’s 98 in people years! Buddy, who was a Black Lab mutt, was originally a rescue from the animal shelter. He was never well trained, so he was always an outside dog. Don’t worry. He had a heated dog house and water dish for winter time. He had the whole run of our fenced back yard and he lived for walks. I always wished I could be as enthusiastic for each day as Bud was for his daily walks. He would start dancing around with his big doggy grin as soon as he saw the leash. Bud was Kyle’s dog. Walking Bud together was always quality father/son time. But Kyle has been away at college the last 5 years, except for Christmas and summers. So, you know who, did most of the walking, feeding, watering, petting and poop-scooping.

Until Bud went deaf about 2 years ago, our thing was to howl at emergency vehicle sirens together in the back yard. He would start in or I would start in and we would be howling together. Pretty soon the neighborhood dogs would join in. It was great fun and it made him so happy: me too. Over the last 5 months Bud was in kidney failure despite several rounds of anti-biotics and a special diet. He was not interested in eating much and had lost over 20 pounds. Finally, he was groaning in pain and could not move anymore. The time had come to do the kind thing and put him out of his misery. We buried him deep down in the garden. We miss him, but we picture him running around in doggie heaven.

Is it true that “All dogs go to heaven”? Who knows? The Bible does talk about the peaceable kingdom of God, where the lamb lies down with the leopard. (Isaiah 11) The reformer Martin Luther was supposedly asked if he thought there would be dogs in heaven. Luther replied, “If not, I don’t want to go there.” Luther did say, “I wish I could pray as attentively as my dog watches the meat platter!”

Our first job as human creatures in the image of God is to take care of God’s garden and God’s animals. God’s blessings upon pets and pet owners alike. God’s blessings upon all who take care of God’s earth and the creatures therein, including the human ones.

Peace in Christ, Pastor Dennis