Pentecost +19, Year C

Musical Reflection
Quit Kickin My Dog by Buffy St Marie

henri_rousseau_-_fight_between_a_tiger_and_a_buffalo


Invocation

God of Sarah, Abraham, Moses and the prophets,
your covenant binds us
as siblings:
help us to overcome
the scandal of poverty,
the fixed chasm of indifference
and to recognize you
in the wounded poor;
through Jesus Christ, the Builder of Bridges.

Amen.

First Reading

Dog Gospel
 by Brian Barker

When I dare at last to imagine hunger,
see farmer wandering his parched fields
knowing nothing to do, finally, but sleep
the day out in the barn’s long shadow,
dreaming of the family dog he drove
deep into a neighboring county
and abandoned by the side of the road.
Weeks later a boy finds it in a ditch—
timid and gimp, a halo of gnats
festering between its swollen testicles
and wormy flanks—and he coaxes it
into some pines, tethers it with a tentstake
and a chain as the late summer light
spirals and drapes over the branches,
a mirage the dog slavers and snaps at.
Consider the boy’s amusement
as he imagines the animal jerking the light
down and the ruckus of bells that clang
and catapult from the treetop belfries,
the canopy rent like a piñata, spilling licorice
and circus peanuts, coins and fluttering dollar bills.
The real possibilities are beyond him.
The dog as a parable of pain or loss.
Hunger as some small iridescent thing at work
inside the animal, hovering around its heart
the way a lone dragonfly skirts the dry pond crater,
dismantling the day—light unstitched
from dust, dust unbuckled from air.
By now, the dog’s given up, and the boy
watches its tongue loll in the pine needles,
the heave and fall of its stomach, its eyes
following birdflight in and out of the shade.
Restless for something he cannot name,
he imagines the music he might make
if he thumped the dog’s belly like a drum.
Imagines its eyes are the color of iron.
Imagines the unimaginable and does it,
the tire tool and the belly unwilling instruments,
and the dog’s caterwaul is not like music
at all and when night comes the cricketsong
dulcifies nothing, the dog’s body
is just a body, is not paltry, is not glorified.
What hunger is this that haunts the boy,
that haunts the man sleeping in the shade?
Watch as the dragonfly dips into his open mouth
and keeps going, a blur between bone and sinew,
a wet thread collapsing soft caverns of flesh,
gone to where his body is a field
honed by sleeves of sunlight,
to where the boy ceases to be and the man wakes.
He knows what flits through him now
keeps the time with its thrumming,
carrying him away from himself
into himself, to where the dog roves in the shadows—
ravenous, luminous—its tail bobbing
in the heat, a winnowing sliver of light.

Second Reading
The Wise Dog
by Kahlil Gibrab

One day there passed by a company of cats a wise dog.

And as he came near and saw that they were very intent and heeded
him not, he stopped.

Then there arose in the midst of the company a large, grave cat and
looked upon them and said, “Brethren, pray ye; and when ye have
prayed again and yet again, nothing doubting, verily then it shall
rain mice.”

And when the dog heard this he laughed in his heart and turned from
them saying, “O blind and foolish cats, has it not been written and
have I not known and my fathers before me, that that which raineth
for prayer and faith and supplication is not mice but bones.”


horse-attacked-by-a-jaguar-1910

Gospel Reading
Luke 16:19-31

“There was a certain rich person who dressed in purple and fine linen, and who feasted luxuriously every day. At the gate of this person’s estate lay a certain poor person named Lazarus who was covered with sores. Lazarus longed to eat the crumbs that fell from the rich person’s table. Instead, dogs would come and lick Lazarus’s sores.

“One day, Poor Lazarus died and was carried by angels to Sarah and Abraham’s side. The rich person also died and was buried. While being tormented in the place of the dead, the rich person looked up and saw Sarah and Abraham at a distance with Lazarus at their side. The rich person shouted, ‘Sarah and Abraham, have mercy on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I’m suffering in this flame.’ But they said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received good things, whereas Lazarus received terrible things. Now Lazarus is being comforted and you are in great pain. Moreover, a great crevasse has been fixed between us and you. Those who wish to cross over from here to you cannot. Neither can anyone cross from there to us.’

“The rich person said, ‘I beg you, then, send Lazarus to my own house. I have five siblings. He needs to warn them so that they don’t come to this place of agony.’ Sarah and Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets. They must listen to them.’ The rich person said, ‘Please, I beg you! If someone from the dead goes to them, they will change their hearts and lives.’ Sarah and Abraham said, ‘If they don’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, then neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.’”

 

Musical Reflection
I Love My Dog by Cat Stevens

rousseau-hungry-lion
 Animal Blessing Prayer
from New St Joseph’s Prayer Book, adapted

Almighty and Generous Providence,
how great the variety of living things,
You have put at our disposal!
You told our first parents:
“I give you all the animals of the land.”
Some can be used as food,
or for labor or transportation,
but also for our companionship and recreation.

Bless the animals.
We ask this in the name of Jesus our Lord. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

O God, you love us like a good parent,
and are present in every aspect of our existence.
May your nature become known and respected by all.
May your joy, peace, wholeness and justice
be the reality for everyone as we live by the Jesus Way.
Give us all that we really need to live every day for you.
And forgive us our failures as we forgive others for their failures.
Keep us from doing those things which are not of you,
and cause us always to be centered on your love.
For you are the true reality in this our now, and in all our future.
In the Jesus Way we pray. Amen.

 

Musical Reflection
My Dog was Lost but Now He’s Found by The Fiery Furnaces

 


Blessing

As we were in the ebb and flow,
as the beginning becomes the ending,
and the ending a new beginning,
be with us,
ever-present God.
May the blessing of God – the Equality, the Diversity, and the Unity,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.

 

henri_rousseau_-_il_sogno

Sources:

Artwork by Henri Rousseau

Invocation from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection Quit Kickin my Dog by Buffy St Marie

Poem Dog Gospel by Brian Barker

Poem The Wise Dog by Kahlil Gibran

Musical Reflection I Love My Dog by Cat Stevens

Prayer from New St Joseph’s Prayer Book

Lord’s Prayer by David Sorril

Musical Reflection My Dog was Lost but now he’s Found by The Fiery Furnaces

Blessing from The Pattern of our Days

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