Viewpoint from Rev Daniel Pritchard 02/08/2019
Rev Daniel Pritchard
Trust Chaplain – James Paget University Hospital
as published in the Great Yarmouth Mercury
I am a dog lover
Every day, I walk my Westie, Lizzy, in Normanston Park, or on the seafront and, usually stop and greet almost every other dog I meet whilst we are out (sometimes I chat to their owners as well shared enjoyment of our dogs is a great way to meet new people)
I know not everyone reading this will share my love of the four legged, but bear with me as I share something of why my dog means so much to me:
I have learned a lot about unconditional love from my dog. She is devoted to me. Of course, I know that ‘cupboard love’ plays a part, but her devotion is extraordinary and I’m not sure I always deserve it. She sleeps beside my bed, getting up only when I do; follows me around all day; looks crestfallen if she is not coming out with me and, if I go out for an hour, greets me as though I have been gone a month!
The highest kinds of love are unconditional aren’t they? Our best relationships are those where we are loved, even when we are not at our most deserving. As a Christian, that is the bedrock of my faith – a God who loves us not on the basis of how good we are, or how hard we try, but simply because it is his nature. Goodness and service should not be an attempt to earn that love, but rather should flow from the certainty of it
Lizzy is also very trusting, she has little anxiety but rests in the assurance that, while I or my wife are about all will be well, food will appear, and walks and cuddles will happen. Occasionally, we get a look that seems to suggest we might have forgotten something, but generally she is quite relaxed. She can’t fetch her own lead, but has learned how to flip her food bowl over to get attention!
Jesus Christ taught his followers about the Father’s concern for them and encouraged them to worry less about how to get everything they wanted, but rather to trust that he cared for them and would supply all their needs (see the Gospel of Matthew chapter 6)
Perhaps today it might help to reflect on these things? A walk in the park might help, small dog optional
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