Wednesday, October 6, 2010

There is more to St Francis than the animals

On the plus side to the tradition of have a 'pet service' in association with St Francis is that the TV cameras love it, and we can be pretty much assured each year of some TV news focus on the church - one or other of the cathedrals usually - the more donkeys the merrier!

There is a downside to this association, I suggest: it tempts us to think of St Francis in unidimensional terms. 'He's the guy who blessed the animals, isn't he?' In fact St Francis was an extraordinary multidimensional disciple of Christ: teacher, mentor, preacher, missionary, monastic, apostle, visionary.

He did not receive the stigmata because he liked animals. He became Christ-like in ways few achieve. He was instrumental in renewal of the church. He became an inspirational figure to thousands if not millions in succeeding generations.

Hopefully our sermons each St Francis' Day acknowledge the breadth and depth of this holy one of God.


liturgy said...

Again several important issues here, including:

1) the tweeification and cuteification of the gospel where pussycats and balls of wool reign supreme on pewsheets and elsewhere – and not just at this time.
2) I am no liturgical fundamentalist – but why does our church spend inordinate energy taking orders of precedence through committees, General Synod, every synod and hui amorangi, back through General Synod etc then have General Synod ignore it & everyone else quite happy to move St Francis day to the previous Sunday? Is there much Christian precedence for moving a feast to a previous day – I think historically it is to some day following?
3) and then there’s the whole confusion about blessing… which may be clear in practice but poor in theory…

ummm… blessings


Peter Carrell said...

Thanks for comment here and on post below ... no time to respond. Sorry!

Anonymous said...

We need to remember that S. Francis also kissed the lepper!
Barry Smithson