*** Notes for Today’s Show ***
It is the 22nd of May 2021. Welcome to the Christian History Almanac brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org. I’m Dan van Voorhis.
Today we go to the mailbag. Remember you can send me your questions about Christian History in written or audio form to CHA@1517.org.
So many places to go with this!
1. Dogs have been human companions for time immemorial. As long as we have texts, we have evidence of domesticated dogs.
2. Romans and Greeks tended to have decently positive images of dogs, although the Greeks followed the Egyptians in placing dogs, mythically, in the underworld.
3. The Old and new testament refer to Dogs, but often as a comparison to a human. Dogs are less, ontologically than humans. HOWEVER, in the book of Tobit, we see Tobias head off on his journey with a faithful dog as a companion.
4. St. Rocco is the patron saint of dogs, and St. Guinefort is an actual dog that assumed the title of a saint (although not officially).
5. Churches used to have “dog whippers” that patrolled the sanctuary during service to fend off the dogs who followed their masters to church and got a little too rowdy.
6. C.S. Lewis went by the name Jack after his beloved dog “Jacksie” that died when he was young.
But, the story that comes to mind is that of Martin Luther and his dog Tölpol
Luther wrote a few things (that are not true because he said them but are thoughtful places for reflection)
“The dog is the most beautiful of animals”
“The dog is a very faithful animal and is held in high esteem if he isn’t too ordinary. Our Lord God has made the best gifts most common.”
When Luther’s puppy Tölpel happened to be at the table, looked for a morsel from his master, and watched with open mouth and motionless eyes, he said, “Oh, if I could only pray the way this dog watches the meat! All his thoughts are concentrated on the piece of meat.
“Certainly there will be, for Peter calls that day the time of the restitution of all things. Then, as is clearly said elsewhere, he will create a new heaven and a new earth. He will also create new Clownies with skin of gold and hair of pearls…Why is it that we cannot believe that all things will happen as the Bible says, even in this article of the resurrection?”
I’ll speculate on the existence of particular pets in the new heavens and earth in the same way that I speculate about anything not clearly addressed in the Bible. The bible is silent, so I’ll be careful… but, I’ve got a good feeling about these things. And of course, anything that reflects the goodness of God back to us can and should be enjoyed as a gift from our gracious God.
The last word for today comes from the letter to the Philippians, chapter 4
8 Finally whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you.
This has been the Christian History Almanac for the 22nd of May 2021 brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org. The show is produced by a friend to both smoky the cat and rocky the dog. The show is written and read by the human pal of Pedro, Waffles, Rocket, Winter, Foofy, Ira, and Muppet. You can catch us here every day- and remember that the rumors of grace, forgiveness, and the redemption of all things are true…. Everything is going to be ok.