In February our precious little Mitzi, a mixed terrier, died. We had her 11 years and she was about 2 years old when we got her. Mitzi occasionally slept with us, but usually she found her own place on a blanket in a chair, circling closely 3 times before she lay down. She wasn’t so much a pack dog as the two we have now.
Max and Emma know the routine so well and have trained us with remarkable ease, probably marveling at how quickly we learn. Bedtime involves “last walk” announced by Terry and then scrambling to get into the bed, stake their territory and settle in–as close as they can get to one of us, preferably both of us to sleep. If Terry delays coming to bed by nano seconds, Max proceeds to growl and snap at him when he tries to join the pack. The remainder of the night, provided there are no thunderstorms (Emma goes berserk), phone calls, or a mouse caught in the bathtub (yes, that happened…we live in the country), Terry and I work on becoming contortionists as we adjust our bodies in sleep to two immovable objects.
Life in the pack with all its downsides really is pretty remarkable. It teaches us to share, it provides a sense of comfort and warmth, it connects us, and it implies trust. Like the Body of Christ, with all its diversity, we learn to love even when it makes us uncomfortable. We come to appreciate that God made each one of us different and as He works in each of us He shapes us into that which He intended. We are not all the same and we will not ever be.
I have heard it said that “politics makes strange bedfellows”, but so does the Body of Christ. We are part of the most remarkable pack in the world and God intends for us to stick together, stick up for one and other, and snarl with love when it becomes necessary.
As for Max and Emma, they sleep on while Terry and I do our morning devotions and writing. Pretty soon they will clamor for “first walk” and I will get up to take them, until then I “let sleeping dogs lie.”
Each one of us has a body with many parts, and these parts all have different uses. In the same way, we are many, but in Christ we are all one body. Each one is a part of that body, and each part belongs to all the other parts. We all have different gifts, each of which came because of the grace God gave us. The person who has the gift of prophecy should use that gift in agreement with the faith. Anyone who has the gift of serving should serve. Anyone who has the gift of teaching should teach. Whoever has the gift of encouraging others should encourage. Whoever has the gift of giving to others should give freely. Anyone who has the gift of being a leader should try hard when he leads. Whoever has the gift of showing mercy to others should do so with joy. Your love must be real. Hate what is evil, and hold on to what is good. Love each other like brothers and sisters. Give each other more honor than you want for yourselves. Do not be lazy but work hard, serving the Lord with all your heart. Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times. Share with God’s people who need help. Bring strangers in need into your homes. Wish good for those who harm you; wish them well and do not curse them. Be happy with those who are happy, and be sad with those who are sad. Live in peace with each other. Do not be proud, but make friends with those who seem unimportant. Do not think how smart you are. (Romans 12:4-16 NCV)