Thursday, April 05, 2012

Do Dogs Know It's Maundy Thursday?

As we concluded dinner tonight, I watched our ten year old female Beagle, Sunny, sitting by the patio door, looking out across the lake as the Sun set. She had a look on her face that was as both forlorn and pensive as I have ever seen.

Does she know it's Maundy Thursday? Does she know that on this night, 2020 years ago, Jesus celebrated his last supper with his disciples? Does she know that, afterward, he went out to a garden and, while he prayed, was overcome with such agony that drops of blood and sweat fell together to the ground?

Does she know that later one of his closest friends betrayed him with a kiss? Whatever can be said of dogs, they do not deceive or dissemble like that.

Does she know that the Lord of Glory was arrested like a common criminal? Scourged and mocked as not even a common criminal would be? That, though without fault, he was rejected and condemned by those he came to save?

Does she know how, the next day, the sky grew dark as the Father looked away—and the ground shook as, abandoned and alone, he gave up his spirit?

And does she know that the grave could not hold him? That he walked again, talked with his disciples, and ascended to the Father, and that we shall see him again?

It is a matter of conjecture what animals know about the spiritual world. (I am reminded of the apparently fictitious case of two churches across the street from each other that had dueling billboards debating whether dogs go to heaven.)

I am a theologian, one of those people who knows how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. [Correct answer: As many as God wishes to do so.] I am supposed to know the answer to questions like this. But I don't.

But this much I can surmise: If he is the One by whom all things consist (Col. 1:7), and if the whole creation groans as in the pains of childbirth and "waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God (Romans 8:19-23)....

Then, somehow, even the animals must know.

The whole creation groans,
And waits to hear that voice
That shall her beauteousness restore,
And make her wastes rejoice.
Come, Precious Lord, and wipe away
The curse, the sin, the stain,
And make this blighted world of ours
Thine own fair world again.


1 comment:

Donald said...

Thank you Dean.