I have been humbled by the radical love of God. Nowhere do I find a love that is as powerful, consistent, and all-encompassing as the kind that God has shown me, his creature. I am known, cared for, sustained, and embraced by the love of God in Jesus.
And I’m beginning to suspect I’m not the only one.
Of course God loves other people too, but I’m thinking beyond us; if the love of God moves beyond people groups to the whole of humanity, perhaps it envelopes all of God’s creation? Who are we to set limitations on God’s love for the universe God created?
But your love, Lord, extends to the skies;
your faithfulness reaches the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the strongest mountains;
your justice is like the deepest sea.
Lord, you save both humans and animals.
If God’s love extends to the skies, perhaps it extends to the birds in them. Maybe Jesus was serious when he said God fed the sparrows (Matt 6:26) or when the God of Psalm 50 said “I know all the birds of the hills, everything that moves in the field is mine.”
It is more than presumptuous to believe that God-come-in-the-flesh means reconciliation for us alone, as if we were completely independent of the world that nurtures us; it also denies the totality of Christ’s work, through whom God “reconciled all things to himself… whether things on earth or in the heavens” (Col 1:20).
So when we hold a blessing of the animals service (as we will on March 6th), it isn’t a cute moment to indulge the pet lovers among us. It is a powerful statement about the radical love of God. It is a function of grace to embrace other creatures in our fellow-creatureliness. It is taking our call seriously to care for the least among us, especially when the way our industry has subjugated the environment ensures animals come least and last.
God’s love for creation extends to the skies; I pray that love will extend to our hearts and expand them too.