October 30, 2008
Pastor Writes Pet Prayers to Celebrate Animals, Comfort Loss
Has an animal influenced your faith? Contributors to The Francis Files share their stories.
by The Rev. Dr. Susan I. Bubbers
Charis (pronouned kare’-iss) was the companion of my heart for 11 years. She was there for me to talk to when no one else was. She had fur as soft as silk, and just petting her brought me peace and comfort. She would fetch little wads of paper, carrying them back to me with a chortle in her voice.
She would pick up her stuffed-animal (a dog) and stand in the middle of the room and literally holler for me to come and play with her. She had at least a dozen other recognizable vocalizations, including a special chatter she used whenever she saw a bird. Then, one day, it was her time to make the transition to go to that
r. Susan Bubbers
When she died, I really needed a way to commemorate her life and mourn her death. Being a pastor, I regularly use a liturgy for the burial of people.
I decided to write a burial liturgy for Charis, and it was truly helpful. Then, during my grief-work, I wrote in my journal the prayers which I found myself praying over and over. I shared these prayers with my animal-loving friends in my parish, and soon they too were benefiting from them.
As time went by, I added prayers for more happy times such as a naming ceremony for a new pet, a bedtime lullaby for pets, and an entire pet blessing liturgy. I was often asked, “Do animals go to heaven?” So I wrote a brief page about why I believe the Bible teaches us that they do.
God puts so much thought and love into creating animals like Charis. He wants us to be good stewards of them. After all, caring for His creatures was the first task He ever gave humans to do, and that was even before the Fall and its consequences of upheaval in the animal kingdom. How much more do animals need our care and intervention now. I believe it is truly one of our most important God-given roles. And what a blessing it is to us when we do!
My hope is that Pet Prayers will encourage, comfort and even amuse many people and will motivate them to become better and better stewards of all of God’s creatures.
The Rev. Dr. Susan I. Bubbers
Author, Pet Prayers
Do you have a story to share? Submit your story and we may share it with our readers. The opinions of the authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of The Humane Society of the United States.