We continue with Part Six in this series, written by May Tripp, founder of Animal Christian Concern, or ACC. If you have not read the previous posts you can find them here: Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five. This article is included in the book, “Animal Welfare: Through The Cross, A Collection Of Animal Christian Concern Articles” by Roslyne Smith, and can be purchased here.
Those who are servants of God have, “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb,” (Rev 7 v 14). The “blood of the Lamb”: shuddering, terrible words to a non-Christian vegetarian who does not understand their significance – they used to appal me. So, too, the words at the Eucharist: “We thank you for feeding us with the body and blood of your Son, Jesus Christ”. Even after I had returned to the Church, after much wandering through other faiths and philosophies, and once again called myself a Christian, for a long time I could not say these words. Not until I really knew Jesus could I say them, and love them. How difficult it is for ACC and for all of us here to take Christ to animal welfarists using such terminology. And yet the truth of these pictures is fundamental, totally essential to Christianity, for there can be no faith in Christ Jesus without the faith that His Cross has saved us from the consequences of the Fall, that He has saved the whole creation from eternal death and raised us into the eternal life of Redemption. Christianity is not an ethic, not a philosophy of life, and Jesus was not and is not, a “good teacher”. He is a Saviour and Redeemer – or just a religious man who was deluded and eventually faced execution. The Gospels present us with no other option.
Contemporary rationalism, of course, would try to tell us otherwise, which is why rationalism is, and always has been, an enemy of the Gospel (1 Timothy 6 v 20). Of course it is not easy to believe all these supernatural and wonderful things about God sending His only Son to earth to reconcile us to Himself, for we all have feet of clay firmly planted in the world. Most of us have to take stock of our faith from time to time and say, “Is this really what I believe?” It is hard to keep faith and we cannot do it unless we remain, “on the vine”. (John 15 v 4) This is why we must be, “born again”, with new eyes to see the Kingdom of God, with new ears to hear God’s word, and then to open our hearts to Christ Jesus, so that He may make His home within us. (Rev 3 v 20). No, we do not easily hold fast to our faith and most of us need His encouragement and promptings as we stumble along, clutching our crosses with one hand and trailing our vines in the other.
All of us here, as individuals, are taking our walks with God and yet, even as animal welfarists, we all have our own different ideas. Take, for instance, the very basic argument as to whether or not we should keep companion animals. Some, like me, believe that these animals are life-savers for the lonely, as well as a bonus for children, and that they fulfil a happy and worthy role as companions. Also that, without them, city dwellers especially would lose touch with the animal world altogether and would be even less likely to think about animal suffering. But I have colleagues who would disagree and who would consider companion animals to be exploited and point to massive neglect. Even amongst ourselves we have to respect each other’s points of view. This is so with our Christian beliefs. And sometimes in our walk with Christ we are even called upon to make dramatic U-turns, and we see around us Roman Catholics becoming Pentecostalists, Anglicans becoming Roman Catholics; meat eaters becoming vegetarians and vegetarians having to become meat eaters; opponents of the ordination of women preparing to work and worship with women priests, and so on. Remember the Roman Catholics of old who were martyred for their faith, and the Protestants of old who were martyred for theirs, all of them believing themselves to be right, and all of them now honoured for their faith and courage. How crazy it all must seem to the non-Christian. Yet each one of us has an individual walk to take and what really matters is that we take it with integrity. For one day, in God’s good time, all our strivings and all our differences will be hallowed and reconciled by the Cross – which points in four different directions, to all corners of creation.
“For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in Heaven by making peace through His blood shed on the Cross…” (Colossians 1 v 19)
Stay tuned for part seven, the finale of “Through The Cross To The New Creation, The Church In Action”. For those who would like to read the entire article: THROUGH-THE-CROSS Article 10
Thank you for reading and following our blog; we hope you are blessed by our work! ~Kathy