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

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Dave's Deep Thoughts - A Dog'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.

If there are no dogs in heaven,
then when I die,
I want to go where they went. *

Halloween is the season of scary spooks, ghosts, goblins
and everything that goes bump in the night.

A most appropriate time of the year to watch a scary movie.
I am not normally a fan of scary movies.
If the title has  “massacre,” “saw” or  “chainsaw” in it,
you can count me out.

But I was in the mood for a suspenseful movie,
so I planted myself on the sofa with my dog and a bowl of popcorn.

Normally Bushy is asleep within minutes.
But this night would be different.

I think it started with the musical underscore.
You know, the scary music score with a continuous agitating rumble to it ………
It was enough to it to let you know
that on the sunny day when the couple with four children
bought the old haunted house,
that they were in for a lot of scary nights.

The underscore caused Bushy to sit up at attention,
staring directly at the screen.
Two minutes into the movie,
my canine was in a catatonic state.
Aside from an occasional low grade woof directed occasionally towards the television,
he wouldn’t budge.

Of course the movie family’s pet dog 
(who never wanted to go in the house in the first place)
was the first to die.
This did not sit well with my little guy.

It didn’t take long to get to the part where
the floors creaked and the doors slammed shut in the middle of the night,
all accentuated by the wonders of surround sound.

My buddy put his little paw on my lap………
as if that was going to help.

Soon thereafter,
ghostly apparitions of former home dwellers began to appear,
accompanied by sharp metallic sounds.
My little fur ball was now on my lap.

In a very short time, invisible hands were pulling children out of their beds
to the sound of the strings of a grand piano being quickly brushed with a metal striker.

I’m not sure if it was the screams of the little children,
the sharp staccato discordant chords that announced the appearance of decomposing zombies,
or my ever tightening grip around Bushy’s torso that caused him to start whimpering. 

If Bushy would have had his way, he would have convinced Master to change the channel,
but Master knew that all  they needed to do was walk towards the light.

Unfortunately, the only light that appeared, silhouetted a ghost child who whispered,
Look what Mommy made me do.”

At that point, we knew Mommy was soon to make an appearance.
This necessitated Bushy nuzzling his face behind my back.
While this helped in the area of lumbar support,
it left Master without any buffer between himself and the television.

The dead Mommy, who had seen better hair days, made her grand ghastly appearance.
It wasn’t long until she possessed the body of the living mother of the family.

Let me say that demon possession music is not exactly cheerful nor calming.
Bushy was now fully embedded into the deep creases of the sofa
and Master was spilling his popcorn as he looked to find protection under his blankie.

By the end of the movie,
a local paranormal specialist 
(isn’t there one in every neighborhood?)
successfully exorcised the dead Mommy from  the living Mommy.
Aside from every family member having been thrown around the exorcism room multiple times,
and Mommy bleeding out her pores throughout the ordeal,
things ended quite nicely.

The same probably couldn’t be said for Master and Bushy
who were both equally traumatized.
I believe that dogs are man’s best friend.
Their love is unconditional,
their companionship is constant,
and their ability to comfort is unending.

They are one of the closest thing I know to help me understand 
the love that my heavenly Father has for me.

Sometimes life feels like a scary movie.
Things pop out of nowhere to rattle me.
Things go bump in the middle of the night.
Things seek to possess me from who I am meant to be.

But I know that I do not walk this life path alone.
I  have one who promises to walk by my side, 
and if necessary carry me.
I have one whose very presence chases away fear
and whose life overcomes death.

How I love my Bushy,
but how I love my Jesus even more.

May you have a furry, or not so furry loved one in your life
to comfort and keep you.

But may you also know the One
who carries you through each scary moment to
a place where fear is displaced by perfect love.

As for Bushy,
it’s amazing what an extra portion of treats
will do to calm the ruffled soul.

The same came be said for Master, 
The only difference is that I can eat chocolate.
And that  soothes the soul too!

“Be strong and courageous, 
do not be afraid or tremble at them,
for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you.
He will not fail or forsake you.”
                                                             Deuteronomy 31:6

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