Insight From Isaac (And the Green Paws)

There is so much to learn from a dog’s nose.

There are blog posts and memes and books galore that highlight what animals can teach us (my personal favorite is The Gospel According to Sam: Animal Stories for the Soul). There is also no shortage of insights I’ve gleaned from my own dog, Isaac, in the archives of these musings. If I had to choose one source of inspiration that comes up more than any other, it would be his nose.

His nose’s search for an unseen smell took me on new paths in a new town…

His nose’s curiosity made him stronger than I, so we needed a harness for walking….

His nose’s subjectivity to temptation caused him to dig up an old and rotted bone…

Most recently, his nose’s lingering search in one spot led to his paws turning green.

No, we did not accidentally step in a bowl of green slime or some other science experiment. Early on a remarkably cooler-than-usual summer morning, we arrived at the downtown park as the city workers finished mowing the grass. The only thing that intrigues Isaac more than the smell of freshly mown-grass is the noise of leaf blower that he needs to “bark away.” That morning, he had both.

We walked into the grass, which was not only freshly-cut but also a bit damp from the morning dew. Isaac sniffed and scratched and made circles, staying mainly in one area. My feet chilled as light grey turned dark grey on my sneakers, dampened by the same dew. We wandered through the grass until Isaac decided he was ready for a stroll on the sidewalk.

When he emerged from the grass, his white fur on all four feet had turned green. The grass had literally rubbed off on him. He had become like his environment because he lingered for so long. The potential sermon illustrations and musings were endless!

By the time we got home, the green had already begun to fade. By the end of the day, each foot was snowy white again. The green paws had lasted only a little longer than the morning dew or his infatuation with a certain smell. All that remained were the story and experience of white paws turned green.

May [the King] be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
like showers that water the earth.
— Psalm 72:6

The 72nd psalm is one of only two psalms attributed to King Solomon, and he leans on creation to poetically describe royal reign. It is easy to see our Lord Jesus in the whole psalm, but especially here in the classic agricultural imagery Jesus used in his parables. We, his disciples, are the grass receiving nurture and life from his rain (and reign). Will we rub off the bright green of his presence on the lives of those we encounter? Will the love we show as Christians transform others as much as wet grass changed the color of a dog’s fur?

Let us be changed by his presence —and tell that old, old story over and over again, so all might be changed.

all good things to each of you,

Pastor Darian (and Paw-stor Isaac)