Monday, October 8, 2012

Pastor Blesses Demon!

This might have been the headline were someone to report on our church service this past Sunday. I’m just hoping the inquisitorial pitchforks will be held at bay until you’ve read through this piece.

It was St. Francis (from the Assisian hood) Day, a day etched into the Episcopal calendar for “The Blessing of the Animals.” Our service was moved out onto the front lawn. We improvised with folding chairs in place of the fixed pews, and an upright piano instead of the grand pipe organ. And we had guests.

Our parishioners had brought their pets to church for the blessing. There were dogs of all sizes and breeds; the few cats seemed to have been there just even out the balance of power. One even brought her stuffed toy!

At one point in the liturgy, our priest went around to each parishioner with a pet, asked for the pet’s name, and then blessed the animal with a prayer that went something like: “[name of pet], the power of this blessing from Christ fill you with life, bind you to your human partners and lead you to praise your Creator.  Amen.”

And the prayers went on. 

The blessing was going on smoothly: no nippy Boston terriers like last time around, no hyperactive chihuahuahuhus, or intimidating iguanananas from two years ago. Oh, except for one: there was this one miniature Pinscher that yelped throughout the entire service. I think it was in heat; and what better place than in church to be all tingly, huh? He and her owner were sitting at a distance from the rest of the congregation, and for obvious reasons.

Toward the end of the round of blessings, the priest asked the owner for the name of her pet. Visibly gigglish, she replied, “Demon.” And so the priest proceeded with the blessing, “Demon, the power of this blessing from Christ fill you with life . . . .”