19 May 2019
When I was minister in Forth, a member of the congregation who was blind came to the kirk with his golden Labrador. He was very well-behaved – and no-one thought it odd that the dog was in the kirk.
When I was at Logie Kirk, two lambs were brought to the kirk door from Drumbrae Farm every Easter. They were very young and had colourful ribbons tied round their necks. Two children were deputed to bring them into the kirk – and the minister often sang to them!
I don’t remember animals in New Kilpatrick. However, I have seen two in the parish of Traprain. One Christmas, a member of the congregation took her dog with her to the Christmas morning service in Prestonkirk. And yesterday, there was another at the wedding!
It was a beautiful husky who had been rescued by the groom. Her name was Lily and she was the best behaved dog I have ever seen. She sat in the pew reserved for people with disabilities.
For most of the time, she lay with her legs spread-eagled in the aisle. But when the congregation stood, Lily stood as well. When the congregation sat down, Lily returned to her former pose.
She had a tiny orange banner tied round her neck celebrating the names of bride and groom and the date of the wedding. Why shouldn’t animals be found in the kirk participating in the worship of the Creator God celebrating her master’s wedding day?
St. Francis would have approved – and I do too. For the Psalmist is very clear that all living creatures have a vocation to praise God – wild animals and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds. And he concludes:
Let them praise the name of the Lord
for his name alone is exalted;
his glory is above earth and heaven. (Psalm 148;10,13)