We share the world with other earthlings. Earthlings meaning non-human animals. How do you live with animals?
Some of your minds go immediately to pets we might have living in our houses…dogs, cats, birds, fish, lizards, hamsters. A few of us are farmers, who think of the animals in the barn. Maybe some of us think of animals that are unwanted guests in our homes, like ants or mice or bats..
When I think about living with animals, I look up from my computer here and see my refrigerator, and think about milk and eggs and butter. And then there’s the Styrofoam containers of meat. It’s not exactly living with animals, but more like living from animals, and living from animals dying.
As far as eating goes, I couldn’t have eaten the peach I had for my night snack without the essential help of bees, who pollinated the fruit. Bugs and organisms of all kinds help to make the earth fertile so crops can grow.
So, yes, we all live with animals, but how is this a faith issue? Does it really matter how we treat animals or think about animals? Let me pose a question…if it came to the church’s attention that I had left my dog on a leash in the hot sun without shelter and let him starve to death there, would that jeopardize my ability to be your pastor? Is cruelty to animals incompatible with being a pastor? I have a feeling that a lot of you would have reservations about me if that happened. In choosing your pastor, you want someone who is caring and empathetic…if I could be heartless and cruel to an animal, it would raise questions about my essential character in your minds. Who we are affects how we relate to all living animals.
This Sunday I want to explore what scripture teaches us about animals, and ask some questions about our own relationship with animals. Have you ever heard a sermon about how we should treat animals? I haven’t. Why is that?
This week’s prayer: Help me to see my place in your created world. Help me to see You in this created world.