This Sunday is one of the most joyful services of the year, our annual Blessing of the Animals at the 10 a.m. Eucharist. I think the past 18 months our animals have become even more important to us as we have spent more time at home and isolated from friends and family. Joseph Henry gave us two kittens for Christmas 2020. Franny and Zooey (named after the JD Salinger book) immediately transformed our home. In a year that was difficult by any measure they bounded into the house bringing joy and laughter with them. I don’t think it is possible to be depressed when you’re in the same room with a kitten. Joe says he had never heard me laugh so much. I could say the same for him. Our pets of all types are one of God’s great blessings, and it is nice to acknowledge that in our liturgy once a year. We ask that all dogs be on leashes and cats and other animals be in carriers or containers. And if your animal can’t make it bring a picture and we’ll bless that. I hope to see all of you at this joyous and raucous service.
Our parishioner Kristine Anderson will be doing an in-person book talk at the Vinings Library this Saturday at 2:30. Masks are required. She will be speaking about the writing and publishing of her first novel, Crooked Truth. (If you haven’t read it you should.)
Those of you who were in church last Sunday, in person or online, know that although the bulletin welcomed the Rev. Barry Griffin as our guest priest, that you got me instead. I had planned to take Sunday off because of a family wedding over the weekend. But Barry called on Friday and said he was sick and wouldn’t be able to be here on Sunday.
In the 27 years of my ordained life that had never happened. Now it has happened twice within five weeks. Fortunately both times I was in town and could come in to do the service. But it raises the question — what do you do if the priest doesn’t show up on Sunday, whether it’s a guest priest or if I wake up sick Sunday morning (which has never happened).
What do you do? You worship. The lay reader leads the service, going straight through the Liturgy of the Word, including the reading of the Gospel. There’s no sermon, unless someone feels called to say something. Then you do the creed and prayers of the people, the confession, and the peace. Then you can add the post-communion prayer to end the service. I hope that never happens, but we’ve seen a lot of things in the last 18 months that have never happened before, so it’s good to know what to do.