Comment by Harborough churches: How a fluffy white dog called Tilly helped me get through my 15-month Covid ordeal
Every week, the Harborough churches write for the Harborough Mail. This week it is the turn of Revd Pep Hill, Associate Priest in the Harborough Anglican Resource Church Team
Viewpoint by Revd Pep Hill, Associate Priest in the Harborough Anglican Resource Church Team
Throughout my 15-month long Covid ordeal, I’ve had a little shadow. Her name is Tilly and she’s a four-year-old Cavachon – a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Bijon Frise. If that leaves you none the wiser, she’s a fluffy white cross between a teddy bear and a mop, with a face like Paddington!
She has taken daytime naps with me and stared at me solemnly as I’ve sobbed on bad days. She hasn’t reproached me for the walks she’s missed but has been delighted when I haven’t had the strength to brush her. After the comfort I’ve received from God, and along with my family and friends, and my church, she has kept me going through this long trial.
And it’s not just me – for millennia, animals have been faithful companions to all kinds of communities, although the care they’ve received from their humans has been varied to say the least.
Today, I read about the story of Jonah (after he got out of the whale) where God refused to destroy the city of ‘sinners’ that Jonah thought should be obliterated, not only because of the large population, but also because of ‘the many animals’ that were there. Is God also an old softy towards animals?
Certainly, the reason that Jesus came as a human being into our world, was not just to save ‘sinners’ (us!) but to rescue the whole of God’s creation – including animals. I sometimes wonder what the ‘new creation’ or heaven – there are lots of different terms used – will be like. But one thing that I’m pretty sure of is that it will consist of more than just us humans (and I don’t think we’ll be sitting on clouds, playing harps either).
On my reading of the Bible, it will include all creation – there will be dogs, cats, guinea pigs, giraffes, elephants and even hippopotami! (And feel free to tear this out and stick it on the fridge to comfort your child/grandchild/little friend when their beloved pet dies!).
In the climax of the Bible we read that God doesn’t promise to just make new things but to make all things new. He doesn’t dispose of us, or his creation, like a short term piece of flimsy furniture to be thrown on to the scrapheap as no longer fit for purpose, but offers to redeem all, bringing it to perfection. In that there is hope for us all.
By the Revd Pep Hill, Associate Priest in the Harborough Anglican Resource Church Team