God has place this wonderful creation in our hands. As U2 sings, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away." We have this one life to live on this beautiful planet so enjoy these reflections on God, faith, life, and music. "After the flood all of the colors came out. It's a beautiful day."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Kitten for Mission 1

On Monday night, I came to church and was going around the building opening it up for the Ecclesiastical Council ( the UCC  final step for ordination where the association votes to affirm the persons call  on the condition of receiving a job offer) we were having for our recent seminary graduate.  So I am turning on the lights and unlocking the doors and I get to the outside door where people come into the building for the food pantry.  As I got to the door, I saw a box and thought someone brought food for our Mission 1 collection.  The United Church of Christ is on a mission together to collect food for the hungry, dollars for neighbors in need, an offering of letters to congress and money for African famine relief.   We had begun to fill up the windowsill in the sanctuary; I was really hoping for more food.  So then I bent down to pick up the box and it meowed at me.  Which caused me to actually read  the writing on the box which told a story of a person seeking on home for the kitten.  The weather was turning cold and while wanting to care for the kitten the person knew that wasn’t possible.  The note asked us to please find the kitten a home.

I was torn, knowing I couldn’t afford another pet with two of my own that we had rescued I asked the people to call around and find where we could take the kitten.  But while celebrating this beautiful moment for our seminarian whose call from God is to grow a church devoted to earth care many of us were worried about this kitten.  I knew myself and didn’t go look or pet it because I would take it home. 
We found a place to take the kitten but it got me thinking about hunger and poverty.  When food for people becomes hard to attain then those companion animals also suffer.  There is less food and less money for medical care.  Here we were as a church confronted with this economic crisis in the form of a kitten.  What are you supposed to do with a abandoned animal?  Experts recommend that people struggling financially to support their pets take the following steps:
·         Contact local shelters or rescue groups to locate pet food pantries or to find pet-friendly apartments if you have to move. They can link you with programs that can help with necessary vet care, medications or low-cost spay/neuter. In an increasing number of cities, groups are forming to provide short-term foster care for pets whose owners need a little time to get stable again.
·         Go to the home page of the Humane Society of the United States (hsus.org) and click on Pet Tip, which offers a state-by-state, ever-growing list of groups offering free or discounted pet food, medical care or temporary foster care.
·         Barter a short-term living arrangement for your pets. You provide free dog-walking or housekeeping or landscaping services for someone who gives your animal a home until your finances improve.
·         If you conclude you must give up your pet:  See whether responsible pet-loving friends or family can take it. If it's a purebred, contact the breed rescue group in your region. A few will also consider mixed-breed dogs that are primarily a particular breed. Contact no-kill shelters or rescue groups first.
But…What are our obligations as a church to this lost kitten and the other companion animals who are being hurt during times of economic turmoil?  When our seminarian was asked what her favorite scripture passage was, she said “The earth is the Lord’s and all that’s in it.”  So when we as the United Church of Christ are thinking about confronting food related injustice during this 11 days, one of those injustices that never even crossed my mind until a lost kitten appeared on our church doorstep, was how will we help all the earth that is suffering.  Will we add petfood to our list of healthy food donated to the local food pantries?  When we say all are welcome will we welcome the lost kitten on our doorstep?  Who will we include when we pray “that they may all be one”?

1 comment:

  1. oh, interesting, interesting thoughts. We've had kittens left on the church doorstep also... this ties into the discussion elsewhere about our theology and what it has to do with our attitudes toward or attachments to particular animals (the book is..."Friends We Keep"? I think?)
    Thank you for this! and for the good advice!