Loving the world enough to act

Blessing of the Pets

By Rev. Dr Katherine Rainger, Senior Chaplain

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

‘Loving the world enough to act beyond self-interest’ is part of Radford College’s vocation. ‘Loving the world enough to act’ is a profound statement about the source, motivation, and mode of any action that we might take.

Dr Georgina Woods, a poet and environmental activist, was part of a blockade to protect the Leard State Forest. She talks about the point at which the group could see that their actions were futile. Hope was lost. Dr Woods and her fellow activists continued, however, due to an abiding love for the forest and its creatures. Their loving commitment did eventually bear fruit in holding people to account.

Hope can be hard to sustain when we are committed to a cause, when we are promoting change, and in our daily interactions. As we encounter the limits of hope, can love become the impetus and energy for our actions? Love of God, love of our neighbour, love of creation and love of ourselves.

Of course, love can be sentimentalised and even manipulated. The love I’m talking about is tenacious, generous, attentive, freely given and received. Love like the love that God shows us and the world, seen most clearly in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. Our response to God is faith and love because we have encountered a God of love. St John the evangelist wrote, “We love because God loved us first” (1 John 4:19).

As we continue in the Season of Creation (1st September – 4th October), here are two prayers that remind us of our connection with and responsibility for preserving our common home.

The Path to Your Door
By Michael Leunig

The path to your door
Is the path within,
Is made by animals,
Is lined by thorns,
Is stained with wine,
Is lit by the lamp of sorrowful dreams,
Is washed with joy,
Is swept by grief,
Is blessed by the lonely traffic of art,
Is known by heart,
Is known by prayer,
Is lost and found,
Is always strange,
The path to your door.

Adapted from a prayer by Rev. Barbara Allen, Chaplain of Lort Smith Animal Hospital, Melbourne

Creator God, you brought into being that which we could not imagine for ourselves, life we cannot see without the aid of microscopes, animals we can only see in pictures from remote regions of this planet earth.
We thank you for abundant life; for the birds we hear in the morning, for the drone of the bees when we are outside, for the vast tapestry of life which is interwoven,
We thank you for the gift of our own animal companions;
For the joy they bring us,
For the unconditional love and forgiveness which teaches us about you;
For the confidant, the listener, the stress-releaser,
For the benefits they are to our health – and to our Spirit.
And yet, we know that we have not always been faithful caretakers of our animals;
forgive us when we have dirtied their environment, erased places of shelter, polluted the waters, killed off their food supplies or neglected to feed or tend animals in our own communities.

Each year more animals are becoming extinct or are added to the endangered species list: forgive us, for allowing beauty to be forever destroyed. Help us to make a difference where we can, to end cruelty to animals in all forms and to protect and care for our common home.

Blessing of the Pets Service

One place where unconditional love is nearly almost guaranteed is with our pets. After two years of virtual Blessing of the Pets services, we hosted an energetic and joyful Blessing of the Pets in-person service on Sunday. Thanks to Amy Purvis (Year 10) and Chapel Captain Sonja Brodersen (Year 12) for helping to lead the service.

Blessings for the Spring holiday break, may it be a time of rejuvenation and wonder.
Rev. Katherine

Pets collage 2
Pets collage 1