Sermon, October 27: Interspecies Communication

One thing I know about animals – big or small, wild or tame – they don’t take well to long sermons. Lots of us are like that. Just ask the animals, Job says, and they will tell you about the joy of living in this moment and accepting its gifts. Ask the animals we will, and so their gift to us this moment is that – instead of a sermon – we’re going to try a simple guided meditation. 

If you’re sitting where you can see the picture well, notice what happens when you look right into this animal’s eyes. If you’re sitting where you can’t see too well, now might be a good time to move. Or, if you’re holding an animal, try to make eye contact. Or – if neither works – you might want to close your eyes and think of any animal you’ve ever loved. Then relax and picture those eyes. Do you remember their color? Can you feel them staring back at you? Breathe in. Breathe out. In out. In out. In out.

Be aware of the centuries of living you sense in those eyes. Be aware of what you can’t see: the selfhood, the “I-ness” of this other being. What does the world look like through non-human eyes? Do you sense this is a being who has had experiences and hurts and joys you can never know? Who has moments of wildness and innocence you can never share?

Yet this is a being who is alive like you. Who walks the same ground and breathes the same air. Who feels pain and enjoys the warmth of the sun, the cool of the breeze, the taste of pure water –just as you do. Who knows how to love and be loved.  In this, we are all kin. In this kinship, is all life. From this kinship, we can learn wisdom, maybe even wisdom enough for the preservation of our shared home.

Come back now. Back to our own separate need to do what only humans do – read and project based on what we read. Back to our Book of Genesis where it says God made a covenant with all of flesh – not just with us, but with all living creatures. A covenant, as we know, is a promise. More than a simple promise, a covenant is a promise that assures us that something of the nature of God exists in all of us who share that promise. 

On our side of the covenant, being human – with all the complications and insecurities that entails – is reason enough to turn to a God who is known as mercy, compassion, and steadfastness. Being complicated is why we depend on a God whose love for us is surprisingly simple and whose desire for us is aligned with our own deepest yearnings. 

Animals – well, it’s true they can’t talk about the nature of an eternal covenant with the holy. But, sometimes when the moment is right, animals instinctively live out the sharing of  God’s love that begins with loving others – just in that moment, just as they are. Amen.

Posted by Rev. Barbara Ewton

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