This weekend is the time of year when the church (in the broadest sense of the term) takes time to remember the life and legacy of St. Francis of Assisi. October 4th of every year is known as St. Francis Day. This is recognized traditionally by holding a Blessing of the Animals service. The service recognizes the ideals of St. Francis of Assisi, who wrote a Canticle of the Creatures, an ode to God’s living things. “All praise to you, Oh Lord, for all these brother and sister creatures.” Click here for a resource to guide you through holding this service.
But the implications are so much greater than holding a service, especially right now. In the Biblical story of Noah and the Ark, it is clear that God provided for the blessing of animals in the same way that God did people. It is in that tradition that we pass God’s blessing onto other generations of animals, reminding ourselves that God is in covenant not just with us, but with all of Creation. And right now, there are signs that our remembering that Covenant are fading.
As a Border Fence is being constructed, environmental laws are being waived left and right. Included among these is the Endangered Species Act. Click here to read more about the issue, and here for an opportunity to make your voice heard.
Perhaps more alarming, the Bush Administration has introduced proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act that could weaken it for years. The proposed rule changes seek to make it easier for proposed projects to move forward without the current level of consultation that is required. The federal agencies moving projects forward would be allowed to determine the level of impact their project would have, and if they so determine not consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service to review the impact of their project on endangered species. These are the nation’s primary wildlife agencies who have the experience and expertise that is necessary to judge these projects, and their consultation must be required. Click here for a chance to submit your comments through the Sierra Club, and add your faith message to their points!
It is important as we remember St. Francis to do more than just hold a service. Check out the opportunities for action above, and click here to download our brand new resource on the value of biodiversity, and get the message in all parts of your churches ministry.