June 2017  
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Chappy’s corner “Dog Gone!”

Fred enters St. Paul’s Lutheran church and asks to speak to the Pastor.  Pastor Tom meets the man and asks “What can I do for you?” Fred states, “My hunting dog of 15 years just died, and I was wondering if you could do a funeral service for my dog named Rover?”   Pastor Tom having very little compassion looks at the man and says, “Well the truth is we don’t usually do services for animals, but I believe the Episcopal Church has some kind of blessings for animals, so maybe you would want to check with them.” Fred replies, “Thank you for that information, but could I ask you this:  I was wondering what would be an appropriate honorarium for doing the funeral?  I was thinking about $5,000.00 for the pastor’s services. Would that amount be okay?”  At that point Pastor Tom immediately replied, “Oh, wait a minute you didn’t tell me your dog was Lutheran!”

 

I’ve never done a funeral for an animal but I have prayed for a few pets in my ministry. Normally it is because the pet has run off, and the family is missing their beloved pet.   Pets have a special spot in our lives, but sadly not everyone treats their pets the way they should.  Many animals are mistreated and abused.  I’ve been told that when reports of animal abuse surface some social workers will check the home to see if any children are there. They do this because where animals are abused; very often children are also being abused.  Abusing animals or people is wrong. Yet we see it happening throughout the world and even in our USA.   Physical abuse is bad, but abuse can also be the way we speak about others.

 

When someone calls a girl a “dog” they usually are referring to her as being physically ugly or not being socially popular. Using such terms to describe others is not only wrong, but is dangerous. When labeling any person in a derogatory way we start to see them as less important than others.  That is dangerous. Once we start viewing others as less important than we are, then we fall into a trap like that happened in the past in Nazi Germany with the Jews or the current ISIS community and their treatment of Christians and anyone different than them.

 

Obviously we may not agree with every person’s opinion or even their political point of view, but they are still a human being created by God. In God’s sight every person is important.  As Jesus once said, “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”  For many people, including me those words are God’s promise of eternal hope and salvation for anyone who trusts in Jesus. Those words are central to the Christian faith.  However not everyone agrees with those words.  Many don’t believe it. They don’t view Jesus the way Christians do and they have that right.  But I hope they can see that the first part of that verse still teaches that God loves the world and that includes them and everyone else.  To God every person is important, no matter the color of their skin or their political view. In fact, God loves all people and that includes even people who prefer cats over dogs.

That’s just my thoughts from this SE corner of beautiful South Dakota.

 

  CH (COL) David Gunderson

State Chaplain for SDARNG