The Opening Collect
Grant almighty God that through the wisdom of the ages and our present condition we might see the importance of your created order. You made the stars of night and threw them in their courses. You enabled the magnificent rhino to have a horn and the majestic whale to breathe in its course. May we your people be mindful of the course of our lives intertwined with your creatures great and small. Amen.
A Reading from the Letter of Paul to the Romans (8:18-21)
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. Luke:
“Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, Lord Christ.
Reflection on Pets:
I have always questioned anyone who doesn’t believe that animals and the entirety of Creation are not part of God’s plan for redemption. To do such requires a lack of imagination and realism that God who created the polar bear and the poodle wouldn’t want to bring them near when God’s reign is made known.
Today we hear from Luke’s account of the road to Emmaus, a place of geographical uncertainty in today’s time. I don’t know about you but I am thankful that animals saddled up beside me as Jesus did with Cleopas (the character in scripture not my guinea pig). For in this saddling beside us Jesus understands our grief and opens the scriptures to us in that period of mourning.
Moreover I wonder if you like me have found the empathy of animals. How they come near to you when you can’t seem to make sense of things, how they love you when you are weary and bruised to the bone.
It is this very reality that convinces me that if we are to be raised from the dead than the whole of Creation will be as well. For animals are a taste of Eden’s glory and our future reality.
This hope gives me strength to lay to rest my pet. This strength gives me purpose to move forward and love more deeply.
The Prayer of Committal
God of the sparrow and God of the whale,
We commend to your gracious love the spirit of our beloved pet N. For you, in your infinite love gave us these creatures as exemplars of joy, and harbingers of peace and tranquility. Their empathy exceeds the limits of our own, so grant that we your people may learn from them and find them in our company on the last day. Amen.
Life is short, and we have little time to gladden the hearts of those who journey with us, so be swift to love and make haste to be kind. And the blessing of God almighty, the Creator, the Redeemer, and Sustainer be with you and remain with you always. Amen.