In my years of parish ministry I always tried to be early and get things done when they were due. If my weekly sermon was not completed in its final form by Thursday morning it was "stop the world" until it was done.

That being said, I am under a little added pressure as it is early Friday afternoon and this is my second attempt at this article. I completed my first but then the events of this week gave me cause to rethink what I would like to share with you.

Early Wednesday morning about 2 a.m. we get a call. "David is OK," were the first words I heard. My daughter-in-law, was calling, thinking I had looked at the caller ID. "We are looking for some input as to what we should do with Dezy (their 8 year old boxer dog)." David then gets on the phone and relates a detailed account of the events leading up to their after midnight visit to the emergency vet. After taking blood tests and x-rays, Dezy is diagnosed with a rapidly growing large tumor between the heart and the stomach that may be attached to the heart. The vet gave her about two months to live. The question becomes "Do we take her home and keep her for two painful, miserable months or do we give thanks, say our final goodbyes and put her down?"

The decision was the latter. Dezy was a faithful companion, in spite of her digging up the vegetable and flower gardens. She would bug to go out and play with the Frisbee or climb in my lap to be petted and spoiled. It was interesting when David went to look at the puppies they were all running around and yet Dezy came back and crawled into his lap. He had chosen him.

Dezy was not to much different from most dogs. And I may get in trouble with some, especially the non dog lovers when I say Dezy, our Emma, and most dogs possess the qualities that we attribute to God. No matter how you treat them, they always seem to come back with a wagging tail ready to offer their forgiveness remaining faithful to you. They could do something bad, be scolded, even swatted, but they would come right back. No matter what we do it seems as their love never falters. They are not fickle as many people are. For again their love and devotion seem to be unconditional.

God's love is no different. No matter what we do, say, or think, his forgiveness is always there, willing to accept our confession and grant us his forgiveness. God accepts us for who we are. His love is unchanging and unconditional, a fact that we need to remind ourselves of constantly.