When People Believe Their Pets Are Human

Apparently I have been watching some strange things on TV lately because an ad for the DogPedic mattress caught my eye. This ranks very close to the top of what I perceive as a totally useless item.

Of course, I can hear some of you now talking back to your computer screen, “That Herring–what does he know about pets. He doesn’t have any!”

You’re right. I don’t have a pet and have no intention of doing so. Even as a child when we went through the cycle of owning a parakeet (that was my mom’s idea), a tank full of fish (I’ll take responsibility for that one), a rabbit (named “Fluffy” and I’m guilty of that one too), and finally a dog (finally, one I can pin on my dad) which was with us the longest and had it’s life come to an end beneath my parent’s bed, I saw the joy a pet can bring to a household. But, being the practical German I am, I also experienced all the work that was involved in taking care of the animals. Remember, I was an only child and couldn’t pawn the work off on anyone else.

In more recent years, I’ve noticed many folks turning to pets as their main source of affection. I can only presume that their efforts with other humans didn’t turn out as was expected and they felt lonely. Therefore the increase of time and money spent on one’s pet can be viewed as a replacement for human friendship which could be spotty at best.

Many vets have become wealthy over our culture’s desire to preserve the lives of animals and purveyors of products such as the DogPedic memory foam mattress willingly step into the void we humans find in failed relationships. Even when others won’t give us the time of day, our old trusty canine friend will at least give us a sniff before walking away.

Don’t even get me started on cats as I’m allergic to them and keep my distance whenever possible.

Do I sound a bit callous when speaking about pets? Maybe, but at least I’m not trying to pick up dog hair from my clothes or furniture. The Lord has released me from that.

One of the Best

The new Travelers commercial is one of the best I’ve seen for a while. Take a look:

There is a lot Scripture says about trouble and worry.

Genesis 3:16-19 (Now there’s trouble!)

Matthew 6:25-34 (That pretty much sums it up)

I know because of sin that trouble will be part of my life. I also know that worrying will not bring to an end my troubles but to stop worrying is a great challenge for me and everyone.

It finally comes down to me trusting in the Lord for everything. Here is what King David had to say on the subject: “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:22).

May you and I always be in God’s strong arms, allowing Him to deal with all of our troubles.

O Come, Let Us Sing

I am a product of Lutheran education. It was my privilege to attend a Lutheran grade school, Lutheran high school, Lutheran colleges and seminary (except for my first year of university work, when I attending St. Louis University, a Catholic school). One of my loves of all those years of education in the Lutheran system was chapel, morning worship for students, teachers, staff, and any parents who could attend. During my younger days chapel was a weekly occurrence and when I moved on to higher education, chapel was a daily experience (Monday through Friday).

One can learn much when exposed regularly to God’s Word and the liturgy. I suppose this is a major reason why I want to keep the historic liturgy as the central focus of our Sunday worship as well (this would be an interesting point to study in the Missouri Synod: what was the frequency of worship of those who contend that contemporary worship is the only way to go in the church today?)

I had the benefit of excellent teachers and pastors who made worship come alive for me. That may not have been the reaction of all my classmates, but I can’t speak for them. When the meaning and purpose of the various components of the service was explained to me, worship of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, deepened.

An example–we used the order of service called Matins frequently (with the celebration of Sacrament every Sunday, this is one service I have had to sadly give up). Matins contains many songs, one which is called Venite, Latin for “O come”. I pray the Venite regularly with my daily devotions and let me share with you the verses:

O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our Salvation.

Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise.

For the Lord is a great God and a great king above all gods.

In His hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are His also.

The sea is His, for He made it; and His hand formed the dry land.

O come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our maker.

For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

I invite you “come and sing” to the Lord every day. He loves to hear you and you will benefit greatly from sharing praise with Him!

Bill Cosby, the Bible, and Humor

Gene Veith brings to light in his blog some very good points about Bill Cosby receiving the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Take the time to read it and learn a little about one of our country’s greatest humorists.

Elsewhere, I had read that Cosby had declined this award for several years because his distaste for current humor that uses profanity and crude speech as its base. He did not want to be associated with today’s comedians (that’s what I would expect from a man who has an earned doctorate in education).

I still enjoy seeing Cosby’s old TV show on TVLand. You don’t have to curse to be funny.

Philipp Nicolai, Johann Heermann, and Paul Gerhardt, Hymnwriters

October 26th is the day we remember three men, all pastors, for their gift to the church in the area of hymnody.

Philipp Nicolai (1556–1608) was a pastor in Germany during the Great Plague, which took the lives of 1,300 of his parishioners during a sixth-month period. In addition to his heroic pastoral ministry during that time of stress and sorrow, he wrote the texts for “Wake, Awake, for Night Is Flying” and “O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright,” known, respectively, as the king and queen of the Lutheran chorales. Johann Heermann (1585–1647), also a German pastor, suffered from poor health as well as from the ravages of the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648). His hymn texts are noted for their tenderness and depth of feeling. Paul Gerhardt (1607–1676) was another Lutheran pastor who endured the horrors of the Thirty Years’ War. By 1668 he lost his pastoral position in Berlin (for refusing to compromise his Lutheran convictions), and endured the death of four of his five children and his wife. He nevertheless managed to write 133 hymns, all of which reflect his firm faith. Along with Martin Luther he is regarded as one of Lutheranism’s finest hymn writers.

Did you notice one similar condition in their lives? They all endured tragedy during their ministries. Through their endurance came many of the hymns that are among the most meaningful in our hymnal. Why? Nicolai, Heermann, and Gerhardt knew personally of the strength provided through faith in the Lord and it showed in the words they wrote.

May we also see God’s hand supporting and strengthening us during our darkest moments.

Wearing Out That Button

For many New York area sports fans, tonight presents a challenge in trying to watch both the Yankees-Angels game along with the Giants-Cardinals match. I suspect that most who are attempting this feat will be switching via their “recall” button on their remote. As I don’t have a “dog in this fight”, I’m not watching either (as is obvious by my writing this blog entry). My words to those watching one or both games–may your team win!