More on animal blessings

There has been some correspondence regarding the animal blessing service which takes place at 1030 on 1 October 2011. Firstly, Freda has been in touch on behalf of Misty who cannot be there on the day and asks what can be done. Well, actually the request is more specific than that. Freda says that Misty asks whether it would be possible for her to send a kerchief in advance which could be blessed at St Mary’s and then sent back for Misty to wear on the day.

I can think of no real theological objection to this as the apostle Paul was in the kerchief business and what’s good enough for him must surely be good enough for us.

Here is a picture of Misty looking cute. Not only has this pic been used by Freda, but it also featured in Madpriest’s Dog of the Day feature. I fear that kerchief or no kerchief, all this publicity may go to her head.

Picture of Misty looking cute

I did find myself wondering whether it might be worth recording a video blessing for those unable to be there.

News then comes in from Ruth at Broccoli Web Design (to distinguish her from Ruth, Our Lady Queen of Falkirk) regarding Opal the cat’s interaction with St Mary’s video ministry.

Opal watching St Mary's sermons

It transpires that Opal initially was greatly moved by my preaching but seems to be enjoying the sermons of John Riches more these days.

It would appear that when it comes to blessings, Opal is of the view that it is better to give than to receive and can be seen above very clearly blessing the preacher whilst watching the sermon.

Do not underestimate the profound significance of such a theological understanding.

We are prepared to bless them, after all, because they first bless us.

The Quality of Mercy

The compassionate release of the Lockerbie bomber is the story that everyone is talking about right now.

I’ve been interested to listen to members of my own congregation discussing it. I’ve been aware of at least four responses within the congregation which have all been held with conviction. They are mutually contradictory

  • That the “bomber” should be released because he did not do it in the first place. (This is accompanied by detailed theories of who did, which make clear that Libya had nothing to do with it
  • That the bomber should have been repatriated to Libya to serve out his sentence there. (After all, we expect British nationals to be brought home from gaols in foreign climes).
  • That the Justice Minister was correct in releasing him on compassionate grounds.
  • That the bomber should have been left to serve out his sentence and that the nature of his crime meant that compassionate release was inappropriate

This last opinion is being taken to extremes in the press today. It seems to me that society is best served by having a criminal justice system which does not depend on a eye for an eye and that consequently, the human rights of prisoners are not contingent on their crimes. Once that is accepted, the logic of the Justice Minister’s position is clear. He has made a decision on a clear ethical principle. I’m surprised that he did not go for the politically more expedient option of letting the man serve his sentence out in Libya, and I suppose I must have a grudging respect for someone taking an unpopular decision on seemingly pure ethical grounds.

Pure ethics are one thing. The theology of Kenny MacAskill’s statement was grim:

“However, Mr Al Megrahi now faces a sentence imposed by a higher power. It is one that no court, in any jurisdiction, in any land, could revoke or overrule. It is terminal, final and irrevocable. He is going to die.”

The notion of a God who skips about the world deciding who does and who does not get cancer is horrible. That kind of thing gives religion a bad name.

There is no God worth believing in who is so capricious.