Yesterday, Rev. Jane shared a beautiful talk and ceremony at our Sunday Celebration Service. It may not have been your typical “sermon” (which we never actually have at our Unity anyway), and it connected deeply with so many of us because it was about something most all of us truly love, our pets.
Anyone who has loved and lost a pet knows that there is a deep spiritual connection between us and our furry, feathered, or scaly friends. They are more than just companions – they are windows to the Divine in many ways. There is no judgement, no animosity, no spite, no stress about the past or future (as far as we can tell), and they simply love us no matter who we are, or what we do.
This is good stuff! Needless to say, we have a lot to learn from our pets.
Rev. Jane’s ceremony was a fun “reader’s theatre”, that involved a few volunteers – Clare and Donna, to help her share tributes, poetry, and stories about beloved creatures. Victor and Donna and the SolShine team brought it to life with music and special songs about animals too. It was heartwarming, fun, and sometimes sad – all at the same time.
The community had a chance to get involved too, and we passed the mic around, asking them to share an animal species they wanted to bless and acknowledge. Apparently we love creatures great and small, from the whales that communicate across continents, to the ants that build ingenious labyrinths under the earth.
There were some beautiful poems shared during Rev. Jane’s ceremony, and they are re-shared here for you to enjoy. Enjoy!
At First He Looked Confused
by Tukaram, a poet from India in the early 1600’s
I could not lie anymore so I started to call my dog “God”.
First he looked confused
Then he started smiling, then he even danced.
I kept at it. Now he doesn’t even bite.
I am wondering if this might work on people?
Landlocked in Fur
I was meditating with my cat the other day
And all of a sudden she shouted,
I knew exactly what she meant, but encouraged
Her to say more—feeling that if she got it all out on the table
She would sleep better that night.
So I responded, “Tell me more, dear,”
And she soulfully meowed,
“Well, I was mingled with the sky. I was comets
Whizzing here and there. I was suns in heat, hell—I was
Galaxies. But now look—I am
Landlocked in fur.”
To this I said, “I know exactly what you mean.”
What to say about conversation
A Rabbit Noticed My Condition
by St. John of the Cross
I was sad one day and went for a walk
I sat in a field.
A rabbit noticed my condition and
It often does not take more than that to help at times—
To just be close to creatures who
Are so full of knowing,
So full of love
That they don’t chat
They just gaze with
Their marvelous understanding.
By Mary Oliver
Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air –
An armful of white blossoms,
A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
Biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
A shrill dark music – like the rain pelting the trees – like a waterfall
Knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds –
A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet
Like black leaves, its wings Like the stretching light of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?
We finished the ceremony with a short prayer for our animals companions:
May all animals be blessed.
May all animals know peace.
May all animals be safe.
May all animals be happy.
May all animals receive the energetic gift of our loving appreciation.
Watch the full service here: