Losing a pet is an excruciating thing. Pet owners will tell you that their pet has become part of their family, and so their death creates an incredible void that cannot be filled. My father struggled with that. He would often talk about his first dog, Tilley, and vowed to ask God when he got to heaven why pets were given much shorter life spans than humans.
Dad is in heaven now, and so he knows the answer to his query. Often when a pet dies, pastors are asked if they go to heaven. I always quote verse 6 of the 36th Psalm, which is today’s reading:
Psalm 36 (Contemporary English Version)
But your loyal love, Lord, extends to the skies;
your faithfulness reaches the clouds.
6 Your righteousness is like the strongest mountains;
your justice is like the deepest sea.
Lord, you save both humans and animals.
It always seems like a simple question to me. As far as I’m concerned, it wouldn’t be heaven without them! Pepe, Annie, Sam the guinea pig, Muffin the cat…I am looking forward to seeing them again.
God’s saving grace is that big. God’s saving grace is that inclusive. God’s saving grace is eternal, and all encompassing.
7 Your faithful love is priceless, God!
Humanity finds refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the bounty of your house;
you let them drink from your river of pure joy.
9 Within you is the spring of life.
In your light, we see light.
Look again at verse 7. It could not be more appropriate for Holy Week during a pandemic: “Humanity finds refuge in the shadow of your wings.” Under his wings, we experience the spring of life and God’s light. We need that now more than ever.
10 Extend your faithful love to those who know you;
extend your righteousness to those whose heart is right.
11 Don’t let the feet of arrogant people walk all over me;
don’t let the hands of the wicked drive me off.
Even with our global crisis, the arrogant and the wicked ones are still trying to walk all over us. God answers our cry for protection by saying, “Turn off your device.” Figure out where you are experiencing a feeling of being trampled to death, and turn it off.
I haven’t watched the news in over three weeks. I know some people who turn it on in the morning and don’t turn it off until bedtime. Not me. Watching the daily misery and back-biting that has become “news” today was pulling me down into a pit. No more.
So turn it off, and turn to God. He is the only thing that will save us. His faithful love is there for the taking. His righteousness overrides the latest poll numbers, pandemic projections, and the constant barrage of misinformation. His justice is like the deepest sea, and we are invited to drink from his river of pure joy.
You want to know what IS true? We are one day closer to the end of this thing. Thanks be to God.