Service for Major Lee

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IMG_1538B&W
Major Lee and his human Anthony Lee

May 1998 –– 17 August 2013

Memorial service: 2:00, Sunday 6 October 2013

Chapel of the Holy Family, St John’s Episcopal Church

1419 Pine Street, Boulder, Colorado

Major Lee
Major Lee

When I started working on this service, I was using as a guide the service I put together for Rumple in November 2003, which had been compiled mostly from resources furnished by the Franciscans because at that time the Episcopalians were somewhat slow in their development of such resources.  In the intervening ten years, I am pleased to say, the Episcopalians have caught up with and in some sense passed the Franciscans in this regard; some of the Franciscan material is now devoted rather specifically to St Francis himself and not to animals as such.  Thus, this service is a patchwork of quotes or ideas borrowed from the Franciscans, from a liturgy created by an Episcopal priest in Georgia, from an “authorized rite” from the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, and from the BCP.  I will preface it with an observation from the Franciscans which is not quite a prayer and is therefore rather difficult to fit into the liturgy:

The animals of God’s creation inhabit the skies, the earth, and the sea.  They share in the fortunes of human existence and have a part in human life.  God, who confers his gifts on all living things, has often used the service of animals or made them symbolic reminders of the gifts of salvation.  Animals were saved from the Flood and afterwards made a part of the covenant with Noah.  The Paschal Lamb brings to mind the Passover sacrifice and the deliverance from the bondage of Egypt; a giant fish saved Noah, and ravens brought bread to Elijah.  Animals were included in the repentance enjoined on humans, and animals share in Christ’s redemption of all God’s creation.

We therefore thank God for blessing us with the companionship of animals in this life, and trust that in his mercy and wisdom  he will bring them as well as us to that place where we may together praise and glorify him throughout all ages.

Memorial service for Major Lee

Officiant

None of us has life in himself,
and none of us becomes his own master when he dies.
For if we have life, we are alive in the Lord,
and if we die, we die in the Lord.
So, then, whether we live or die,
We are the Lord’s possession.

Book of Common Prayer 491

Hymn #645 St Columba

  1. The King of love my shepherd is, whose goodness faileth never;
    I nothing lack if I am his, and he is mine for ever.
  2. Where streams of living water flow, my ransomed soul he leadeth.
    And where the verdant pastures grow, with food celestial feedeth.
  3. Perverse and foolish oft I strayed, but yet in love he sought me,
    And on his shoulder gently laid, and home, rejoicing, brought me.
  4. In death’s dark vale I fear no ill with thee, dear Lord, beside me;
    Thy rod and staff my comfort still, thy cross before to guide me.
  5. Thou spread’st a table in my sight; thy unction grace bestoweth;
    And oh, what transport of delight from thy pure chalice floweth.
  6. And so, through all the length of days, thy goodness faileth never;
    Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise within the house for ever,

Paraphrase of Psalm 23 by Henry Williams Baker (1821-1877)

Collect for the Feast of St Francis

 Major Lee
Major Lee

Most high, omnipotent, good Lord: Grant unto your people grace to renounce gladly the vanities of the world; that, following the example of blessed Francis, we may for love of you delight in your whole creation with perfectness of joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Reader    A reading from the twelfth chapter of the Book of Job.

7 Ask of the animals, and they will teach you;

the birds of the air, and they will tell you.

  Ask the plants of the earth. and they will teach you;

and the fish of the sea will declare to you.

  Who amongst all these does not know

that the hand of the LORD has done this?

  In his hand is the life if every living thing

and the breath of every human being.

  The word of the Lord.

People    Thanks be to God.

Canticle 12 – A Song of Creation (Benedicite, omnia opera Domini) Book of Common Prayer 89, alt.

Let the earth glorify the Lord, *

  praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Glorify the Lord, O mountains and hills, and all that grows upon the earth, *

  praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Glorify the Lord, O springs of water, seas and streams, *

  O whales and all that move in the waters,

All birds of the air, glorify the Lord, *

  praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Glorify the Lord, O beasts of the wild, *

  and all you flocks and herds [and all you dogs and cats],

O men and women everywhere, glorify the Lord, *

  praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Reader    A reading from Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome, in the eighth chapter.

19   The creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

  The word of the Lord.

People    Thanks be to God.

Prayer of St Francis (“Make me a channel of your peace”)

Celebrant  The Holy Gospel of our  Lord Jesus Christ according to John.

People    Glory to you, Lord Christ.

14:1   Jesus said: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.  If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.”

  The Gospel of the Lord.

People    Praise to you, Lord Christ.

Homily – Rev. Susan Springer

Offertory – “To Canaan’s land I’m on my way” – Cara McMillan & Tony Lee

  “What wondrous love is this” (v. 2 by McMillan; congregation join in on #439, v. 3)

Prayers of the People   Standing Commission on Liturgy & Music

O God, your blessed Son, Jesus, told us that not even one tiny sparrow is forgotten in your sight.  Strengthen our confidence in your love for all your creatures; in your goodness,

  Blessed Creator, hear our prayer.

Loving God, you brought this beloved animal into the life of Tony and all his friends, to share kindness, joy, and faithful companionship.  Receive our thanks and praise for the community between your animals and your people, and all the ways in which we bless each other’s lives; in your goodness,

  Blessed Creator, hear our prayer.

Gracious God, you have given us the blessing and responsibility of caring for animals.  If in any way   we have failed in that responsibility, we ask for your pardon and trust in your mercy; in your goodness,

  Blessed Creator, hear our prayer.

Various readers      

Most high, omnipotent, good Lord, we remember before you today our brother Major.  We thank you for giving him to us, his family and friends, to know and to love as a companion on our earthly pilgrimage.

May the love and faith and loyalty and trust he showed for us in his life be to us an example of the love and faith and loyalty and trust that we may show for you.  In your compassion, console us who mourn.  Give us faith to see in death the gate of eternal life, so that in quiet confidence we may continue our course on earth, until, by your call, we are united with those of all species who have gone before; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. BCP 493, alt.

Almighty God, with whom live the spirits of your creatures who die innocent of sin as well as those who die in the Lord: We give you hearty thanks for the good example of your servant Major, who, having finished his life in peace, now finds rest and refreshment.  May we, with all who have died in harmony with your ways, have perfect fulfillment and bliss in your eternal glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.   BCP 503, alt.

God of grace and glory, we remember before you today our beloved companion Major.  We thank you for giving him to us to be a source of abundant love, affection, and joy.  In your compassion, comfort us who grieve.  Give us faith to commit this beloved creature of your own making to your care, for you live and reign for ever and ever.  Amen.    Standing Commission on Liturgy & Music

Almighty God, your Son taught us that though five sparrows could be bought for two pennies, they are not forgotten before you.  We thank you for Major, and for the companionship he offered to Tony and many others.  And we thank you for all the pets who share our homes and our lives.  We ask for comfort for this community in their loss, knowing that you grieve with them, for you care for all of your creation as you care for us.  May we live more peacefully because of today, and come at last, in the fellowship of all your people, to the heaven where we long to be; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

   Rev. Frank Logue, King of Peace Episcopal Church

Eucharistic Prayer C – BCP 369

The Lord’s Prayer – BCP 364

Communion – “Into paradise may the angels lead you” (Hymn #354) – Pick-up choir

Closing prayer Standing Commission on Liturgy & Music

God of creation, through your great mercy you renew us:

Send us now back to the love and labor of this day

with joy and compassion in our hearts;

Through Jesus Christ our Savior.  Amen.

Officiant

All life is interwoven.

People    All life is a gift from God.

Officiant Let us bless the Lord.

People    Thanks be to God.

Hymn #400 Lasst uns erfreuen

1 All creatures of our God and King, lift up your voices, let us sing:

  Alleluia, alleluia!

  Bright burning sun with golden beams, pale silver moon that gently gleams,

  Refrain   O praise him, O praise him, Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

2 Great rushing winds and breezes soft, you clouds that ride the heavens aloft,

  O praise him, Alleluia!

  Fair rising morn, with praise rejoice; stars, nightly shining, find a voice: Refrain

3 Swift flowing water, pure and clear, make music for your Lord to hear:

  Alleluia, alleluia!

  Fire, so intense and fiercely bright, you give to us both warmth and light. Refrain

4 Dear mother Earth, you day by day unfold your blessings on our way;

  O praise him, Alleluia!

  All flowers and fruits than in you grow, let them his glory also show: Refrain

5 All you with mercy in your heart, forgiving others, take your part;

  O sing now: Alleluia!

  All you that pain and sorrow bear, praise God, and cast on him your care: Refrain

6 And even you, most gentle death, waiting to hush our final breath,

  O praise him, Alleluia!

  You lead back home the child of God, for Christ our Lord that way has trod. Refrain

7 Let all things their creator bless, and worship him in humbleness;

  O praise him, Alleluia!

  Praise God the Father, God the Son, and praise the Spirit, Three in One: Refrain

St Francis of Assisi (1182-1226); tr. William H. Draper, alt.

 

A wake will follow immediately at the home of Charlie & Kathe Lujan, 1999 Clipper Drive, Lafayette; follow others to get there, or ask them for directions.  (Dog-owners, note that they don’t have a fenced yard.  Cat-allergists, note that they do have cats.)

Memorial donations may be sent to the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, or to VCA All Pets Animal Hospital, 805 S. Public Road, Lafayette 80026.

If I have any belief about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons.

– James Thurber

 Major Lee
Major Lee
all photos: Taryn Taylor, 6 August 2013

2 thoughts on “Service for Major Lee”

  1. I knew Major and saw him many times as I visited to work on Tony’s Macintosh. He was always a good guard dog and a welcoming spirit. I grieve that this fallen world has lost such a gentle soul and a bright light – and that my friend is bereft of his company, as are we all. Godspeed sweet puppy, if there is justice then one day I will see you again in the Beyond. Rest in Peace faithful companion, your task is finished.

  2. Animals also symbolize humans in situations of sacrifice. On the front of the Palace of the Legion of Honor museum in SF (and on the original building) is a frieze depicting ritual sacrifice of sheep. It took me a moment to grasp the significance of such art on a martial memorial. Then the phrase ‘lambs to the slaughter’ in reference to soldiers being sacrificed in battle came to me. The artwork takes on a whole new depth and poignancy when you see it through that lens.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/freerangelongmont/3654755817/in/photostream/

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