A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dave's Deep Thoughts - A Man's Best Friend

Here's Pastor Dave McDowell's weekly devotional that he sends out to members of his church. Dave is my brother and serves as the Music Minister at Stewartstown UMC in PA.

He came running up to the pickup truck,
and that was it.

 November 2002.

It had been 6 months since I had put my last dog down
and it was time to welcome a new dog to the family.

As I got out of my truck,
he came came running from his play area
and greeted me with kisses.

The breeder had not even made it out of the house
and the deal was done.

He was an English Springer Spaniel.
 12 pounds of utter cuteness.

The runt of his litter,
he was the last puppy available.
Sometimes,  the best is saved for last.

I named him Juggernaut,
which means " a powerful force not easily defeated."
I named him for my favorite football team which was
once again becoming a powerhouse.
But in the end,
he was a juggernaut of love,
a love that extended over eleven years.

He bore many names.
While he became Juggy to most,
he was always Juggernaut to me.

To the hip crowd, he was the J-dog.
And because he broke the cuteness meter,
he also took on the nickname "Precious"

As I held this young puppy in my arms,
I had no idea of the journey
on which he would take me.

He loved life on the farm
In his early years, he kept Grandma company during the day
and protected Master in the evening and through the night.

It was on the farm
where the famous skunking incident of 2007 occured.
March 15th to be exact.
 Master learned that day,
that a skunked dog turns a home into a toxic waste site within seconds.

5 scrubdowns did little.
Skunk shampoo was rendered useless.
Tomato juice just turned him pink.
But oddly enough,
feminine hygiene products helped
For the remainder of the year and the stink,
he was known as the "Anti-Precious."

He became one of the few dogs
to make the front page of the county newspaper,
(photo and full article)
when Master's team was scheduled to play the local team.
When interviewed by the reporter,
he just licked the reporter's face.
(This became the J-dog's common response to most questions)
It was then that he truly became the rock star that he was intended to be.

He had a weekly feature in Master's e mail newsletter
called the Juggernaut Update,
letting everyone know what was happening in his life.
This included everything from the antics of Mr. Stupid Gray Barncat
to the arrival of his soon-to-be fiancee, Miss Hannah.
It wasn't very long, that people far removed from Master's world,
knew the power of the J-Dog.

But there were also disappointments along the way.
He auditioned for several of Master's musicals,
but was never cast.

In 2008, he auditioned for the role of Toto but was told
"He didn't quite have the look they were looking for."

In 2007, when auditioning to be an animal for the ark,
he was told that "they were going to use humans to play the parts."

Outdoor Nativity auditions
ended with "We'll call you if we need you."

He did actually make it onstage once.
That was the abduction in July of 2007.
Costumers kidnapped him during a dress rehearsal
and shamed him with a skunk outfit created just for him.
He was paraded onto the stage
but once again, never made it to opening night.

Perhaps his greatest triumph,
besides loving Master,
was when he defended the home against the infidels.
January 1 of 2009.

Somehow the J-dog heard intruders at the other side of the property
over the din of the surround sound Rose Bowl pre-game.
Once Master was alerted,
he leaped from the doorway, over the porch,  to the lawn to ward off the invaders
 who were planting innapropriate signs in Master's yard
and trying to steal Master's football flag.

The lesson learned that day.......
you might be able to fool Master,
but don't even think of messing with a Juggernaut.

He was the only one that was with Master everyday when Master built his home.
He was always there when Master needed a hug.

He was always there.

On All Saints Day, Nov 1, of 2013,
Master said goodbye to Juggernaut
as a cancer became the only thing to ever defeat him.

Do dogs (or other animals) really go to heaven?
In my earlier days, I didn't think so.

But I am re-thinking my view.
Part of it,  no doubt is an emotional response to loss .
But the more reading I do,
the more I am convinced that animals do have a place in eternity.

Elijah was taken up to heaven in a chariot pulled by horses (2 Kings 2:11)
Revelation 6:2-8 and 19:11 speak of enough horses for the vast army of heaven to ride.
And Isaiah 65:25 speaks of the presence of the wolf, lamb, lion, ox,
and sorry, even the serpent.
(though the good news is that it appears  that aggressive behavior
among animals would cease to exist.)

In Genesis 2, Adam is called on by God
to give names only to one other part of creation........

While he worked the garden,
he was not called on to give names to the vegetation.
Clearly, animals had certain qualities that set them
above other aspects of creation
By naming them, God made this relationship most personal.

On Easter Sunday, the day we celebrate resurrection,
my new dog, Bushwacker,
came back to the door from outside playtime.
He had something in his mouth.

It was Juggernaut's favorite toy.
I hadn't seen it in months,
well before his death.

Sometimes God just gives you a sign.

It looks like cancer didn't defeat him either.

No comments: