heebnvegan Goes to Church!
This morning, I attended an Episcopalian church's Blessing of the Animals service in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. I went with several friends, who got their hamster, Dizzy, and 9-week-old kitten, Tucker LeRoy, blessed. There were dogs everywhere, among various other species. I recommend checking out one of these Blessing of the Animals services; it was a very fascinating example of how animals are viewed in religious contexts.
My favorite quote from the program was: "Forgive the many ways in which we have abused or exploited animals through our ignorance and greed, or kept silent in the face of their needless suffering." You could easily substitute ts'aar ba'alei chayim for those last two words. This line seemed like an animal-inclusive version of all the atonement prayers that Jews recently recited on the High Holidays. Another gem was:
O Lord, who has looked upon all his creation and declared that it was good, we thank you for the animals, with whom we share this earth, and particularly for those which you have given into our care. We pray that you will guard them and tend to their necessities, relieve their suffering, protect them from exploitation, and let each of us see in them the beauty and glory of your creative hand. As you raised your servant, Francis, to declare oneness of all your work, give us reverent spirits, and help us to be instruments of your loving providence, that we all may be bound together in your glory.