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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Sample pet blessing

HYMN: based on Canticle of the Sun
(text attributed to St. Francis)


All creatures, worship God most high!
Sound every voice in earth and sky: Alleluia! Alleluia!
Sing, brother sun, in splendor bright;
sing, sister moon and stars of night:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Portions of this blessing text attributed to Francis of Assisi, 1182-1226;
tr. Martin A. Seltz, (c) 1999 Augsburg Fortress. Used by permission.
Permission is granted for congregations to reproduce this text through
December 31, 2005, provided copies are for local use only and each copy
carries this copyright notice.

READINGS

A reading from Genesis.

And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good… And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.

A reading from Isaiah.

The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder's den.
They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.

Psalm 8

Leader: O LORD our Lord,
how exalted is your name in all the world!
Congregation: Out of the mouths of infants and children
your majesty is praised above the heavens.
Leader: You have set up a stronghold against your adversaries,
to quell the enemy and the avenger.
Congregation: When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars you have set in their courses,
Leader: what are human beings that you should be mindful of them,
mortals that you should seek them out?
Congregation: You have made them but little lower than the angels;
you adorn them with glory and honor;
Leader: you give them mastery over the works of your hands;
you put all things under their feet:
Congregation: all sheep and oxen,
even the wild beasts of the field,
Leader: the birds of the air, the fish of the sea,
and whatsoever walks in the paths of the sea.
Congregation: O LORD our Lord,
how exalted is your name in all the world!

THE PRAYERS


Presider: For your creatures that breathe, move, and have life.
Congregation: We give you thanks, O God.
Presider: That we may love and honor the work of God’s hand.
Congregation: We give you thanks, O God.
Presider: That each pet here may be treasured with care.
Congregation: Hear us, O God.
Presider: For all animals who suffer pain, hunger or neglect.
Congregation: Hear us, O God.
Presider: For the hunted, and lost, for all in captivity or ill-treated, and for those who must be put to death.
Congregation: Hear us, O God.
Presider: For our pets who have died.
Congregation: We thank you, and we give you praise; for your love is great.
Presider: For those who deal with animals we ask a heart of compassion, gentle hands, and kindly words. Make us true friends to animals and worthy followers of our merciful Savior, Jesus Christ.
Congregation: Amen

Congregation: Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

BLESSING OF PETS

Presider: Let us pray.
O God, you have done all things wisely;
in your goodness you have made us in your image
and given us care over other living things.
Protect and bless these animals
who bring us companionship and delight.
May your bounty in the resources of this life
move us to seek more confidently
the goal of eternal life.
Through Christ our Lord.
Congregation: Amen
Presider: May God, who created the animals of the earth as a help to us, continue to protect and sustain us, with the grace God's blessing brings, now and forever.
Congregation: Amen

(sung to the tune of the Doxology)
Congregation: Praise God, from whom all blessings flow. Praise God, all creatures here below. Praise God above you, heavenly host. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

THE BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS


If I knew the emperor, I would ask him to proclaim that on Christmas Day everyone should throw out corn to the birds, especially to our sisters the larks, and that those had beasts in the stable should give them especially good fodder, for love of Child Jesus born in a manger. And on this day the rich should throw a feast for the poor.

Presider: In the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Congregation: Amen
Presider: Wonderful are all God’s works.
Congregation: Blessed be God’s name forever.
Presider: The animals of God's creation inhabit the skies, the earth, and the sea. They share in the ways of human beings. They have a part in our lives. Francis of Assisi recognized this when he called the animals, wild and tame, his brothers and sisters. Remembering Francis' love for these brothers and sisters of ours, we invoke God's blessing on these animals, and we thank God for letting us share the earth with all the creatures.

Here, the presider (and/or assisting minister(s): individually bless each animal by saying:
“Martin and Katie: May God bless you. May you and your family (or, use actual names: ‘may you and Judith’) enjoy life together and find joy with the God who created you. Amen.”

Used with permission from Book of Blessings, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minn., 1989


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