We know that God’s plans to restore Creation do not merely include humanity, but also the non-human inhabitants of this world (animals, plants, etc.) and the world itself.

To help reinforce this, last summer Westwinds held our first ever Blessing of the Animals. People brought dogs, cats, goats, chickens, turtles, ferrets, and even an albino boa constrictor to be blessed, and we both blessed them collectively and (if desired) individually by anointing them with oil. A blessing is an “impartation of life,” and expresses goodwill and care on the part of both the clergy and the congregant. We did this in imitation of the service held yearly at St. John the Divine in Manhattan, but also to walk in step with St. Francis of Assisi, who frequently preached to animals.

“My brother and sister birds, you should praise your Creator and always love him: He gave you feathers for clothes, wings to fly and all other things that you need. It is God who made you noble among all creatures, making your home in thin, pure air. Without sowing or reaping, you receive God’s guidance and protection.” – St. Francis

Adapted from Then. Now. Next.: A Biblical vision of the church, the kingdom, and the future.