Lenten Journal, Day 40

A picture of Fionna popped up on my Facebook “wall” this week. It has done so before. Whenever it does, it brings tears to my eyes. I am reminded how important having a dog is in my life. I remember my former companions: my first dog, Baron; the dog who kept me sane throughout college, Shadrak; the stray Cocker Spaniel we came to call “the best dog ever,” Josephine; and all the others.

It is said that Martin Luther was a dog-lover. He had a little dog named Tölpel (which is German for “fool”). He once said of dogs, “The dog is the most faithful of animals and would be much esteemed were it not so common. Our Lord God has made His greatest gifts the commonest.”

What a great observation! God’s greatest gifts are those which are most ordinary. They are so common that we take them for granted. Our pets . . . and several other things in our lives: Having children. One’s spouse. Food and drink. Colors. Reading. Baptism. Bread and Wine. The list goes on.

Lent, Holy Week, and Easter remind us that when God redeems all of this, when there is “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21:1) these wonderful, ordinary, taken-for-granted gifts will be there, too. Luther told Tölpel, “Be thou comforted, little dog. Thou too in the Resurrection shall have a little golden tail.”