Puppies’ sole purpose in the universe is to be dressed up and piled on top of one another for the cuteness of the internet. The internet has a lot of nasty stuff in it and puppies serve as a necessary ballast of cuteness to keep the whole thing afloat. We’re tapping into the cuteness of puppies this season in Circle of Hope because for many of us, puppies evoke a tenderness in us, and the thing about tenderness is that the same tenderness we see in puppies resides in the tender parts of our own selves. Puppies work their way past or around our tough defenses and get to our hearts. Some of us know that puppies are really quite a pain with all their indoor urination and false identification of everything as a chew toy, but let’s suspend our disbelief together and let the tenderness angle win the day–or at least the moment.
We need puppies or some other puppy like creature/substance/force to remind us of who we really are and engage us in the soft underbelly/heart depths where we can relate to God. Jesus really is the ultimate puppy in this sense but that argument is too silly. Puppies are in fact very silly so they work much better as the vanguard of our evening public meetings at Circle of Hope Broad and Washington (1125 S. Broad Street at 5 and 7 pm). We need to be loosened up, softened up woken up (maybe). We come together like a pile of puppies every week as an exercise of trust. We are making the safe place where we can explore and express God’s love. It’s not really that safe because we are that safe, certainly not because there are puppies on the screen and in the program, but more so because God is making it safe. He is making the teammates who make the event safer people as we grow in Christ, yes, but God is present, shaping the actual few hours we spend together, because God cares about what we are doing and the people we are welcoming into our space.
So let’s engage God in that puppy-like comfort. Let’s be together. There won’t be any literal dog piles but there will be togetherness–and that togetherness is what we all need to become our true selves. We have to risk the trust of community to be fully known by others and also by ourselves. We are made for each other and we prove it to ourselves every week. You can join us. Your friends can join us. But leave your dogs at home, even if they’re puppies, sorry.