Posted 21/01/2017 11:37:24
As every dog owner knows, having dogs teaches us so many things – and for me, having mine has taught me so much about life and God.
From the simple fact that every time I arrived home they would be at the door, tails wagging, eager to see me – a reflection of the God who loves me so much that he sent his Son into the world and a challenge to ensure that the church is seen in this way to all who enter through its doors, eager to welcome any who may come and full of joy and excitement at their coming.
Dogs, I quickly learnt, love routine – and so do we in many ways; the routine of morning and evening prayer and our Sunday services; not just a repetitive “going through the motions” but an event that brings balance into our lives and something to be anticipated and enjoyed and in which fulfilment and satisfaction are to be found. The dogs would be at the door eager to go on their walk and even now Bartleby pesters me until I go into the garden to throw a stick for him to chase at the same time every day. I wonder if we always find our routines, especially in our spiritual observances, as exciting and to be looked forward to with so much anticipation.
Now I only have Bartleby, full of the aches of old age. And yet he still teaches me so much.
As I watch the news full, as ever, of conflicts and sufferings; and as I hear the endless promises of politicians striving to capture the popular vote, promising a golden future but with no real description of how this will actually be achieved; I wonder whether what often lies behind it all is envy and greed, an insatiable desire for more; to have more and yet not to have to do more, give more or work harder to obtain it. Then I look across the room to Bartleby and am reminded of St. Paul’s first letter to Timothy,
“Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains”. 1 Timothy 6: 6-10
Simple pleasures, total enjoyment and complete contentment – it’s a dog’s life, I often wish it was mine!