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Dear St. Mark’s,

Sunday, October 6th, is to me, one of the most magical and fun times of our entire worship year. It is our annual Blessing of the Animals service. While one may think that animals in church may inhibit us from worshipping God and feeling the sacred in our midst, it actually does the very opposite.

As I prepare for the sermon, I’m astounded by the many references to animals there are in the Bible–doves as symbols of peace, donkeys as transportation for our King, every single species that gets to go on Noah’s ark, which I should mention, most humans weren’t even allowed on!

If ever we think that God doesn’t care about the animals of our world, I would encourage us to look closer and see how animals have been used throughout the whole of our salvation history.

This is a special service for me too, an extreme lover of dogs. I’ve had a pet dog for most of my life. I even considered one dog in particular, Junior, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, to be my best friend. He was there for me in a way that no other human was there for me during the most tumultuous time of my adolescence.

Some of us may feel embarrassed by how much we love our pets. Others may even make fun of us for that extravagant love. But the truth of the matter is, our pets show us a love more consistent and stable than any other human in our life. Their love provides a glimpse into God’s extraordinary and consistent love for us.

So come, bring your pets! Your actual pets or just photos of your pets on Sunday! Let us praise God for these beautiful and loving creatures in our lives who soften our hearts and teach us how to love more consistently and without the shadow of our egos.

Animals will process in with all of the clergy at the start of the service so those with animals should gather in the courtyard 10 minutes before the service. Please bring leases and/or pet carriers.

We will also have many visitors on Sunday: The San Diego Humane
Society, Chihuahua Rescue of San Diego, Doggie Clothing Shop, Spot On Dog Training AND a special discounted shaved ice truck for us humans!

I can’t wait!

Much love,

Lydia