Natural West Michigan
One of our first memorable experiences on arriving in Grand Rapids was discovering a dead skunk lying outside the church. He has long since been removed but his memory still pungently remains.
Thankfully most of our subsequent experiences of West Michigan wildlife has been less aromatic. We've seen some amazing birds around the area including bright red cardinals, we've had rabbits and squirrels in the back yard and others have told us that there are also deer roaming around the district, but we have yet to see any up close. I am, however, being slowly eaten alive by the insect life here...
This morning Bill and Beth Murray attempted to take us on a visit to the local Blanford Nature Centre to see some more exotica, only to have yet another thunderstorm cut short the expedition. Although by that stage we had already seen a number of different hawks, some turkey vultures, a couple of varieties of owl, some turtles and a bobcat that was seriously freaked out at the impending storm.
We will definitely go back in the next free time we have (which is diminishing by the day). But it reminded me again of the wonderful variety of creatures that God has blessed this earth with, and our responsibility to care for them. Most of the animals and birds at Blanford were found injured and are currently being rehabilitated.
Next Sunday the Worship Planning Team at Faith UMC have arranged a "blessing of the animals" service, that I am supposed to officiate at... Yes, you read correctly... so get your sniggering over quickly (especially those of you who know how much I love dogs!). But whilst it may not be normal where I currently minister, why should it be so strange? God has given us animals, both bobcats and pussy cats, turkey vultures and their more edible namesakes, as a blessing... So why should we not pray for their blessing in return?
But I do hope that no-one brings a bobcat next Sunday.