The Gospel According to Paw Patrol

I Corinthians 12

“No job is too big, no pup is too small,” so begins the introduction to Paw Patrol, an animated children’s show about a group of dogs who are first responders, each one different, with different personalities and gifts, who help people and animals in need.

I wouldn’t have connected Paw Patrol with the gospel, apart from my young friend A_____.  You know, I learn from everyone at this church.  The job of a pastor is share good news, to be a gracious giver, but also to be an equally gracious receiver, to listen to your stories, regardless of your age, to hear what gets you up in the morning, and the wisdom that each of you has.   No one too small, young or old, to be a source of wisdom and inspiration.

I’d watched Paw Patrol with my own grandsons when they were a little younger – and I became fond of that lively group of pups – Chase, Marshall, Rubble, Zuma, Everest, Sky, Rocky, and Tracker – and the their ten year old human companion Ryder.

Now, I think if Jesus were here, sitting with our church’s children, when they were younger, he’d enjoy watching Paw Patrol.

Jesus told parables and  stories, and told them often – stories of lost boys, lost coins, lost sheep, mustard seeds, birds and grasses.

Jesus loved children: and one time, when the children were making too much noise during one of his sermons, and the adults silenced them,  and Jesus responded, “don’t quiet them down, let them play” and then placed them on his knee and blessed them.

I bet all of you children have watched Paw Patrol, and some the adults, too and that simple show is a parable.  Everyone is different, everyone has different talents, and when they work together, the job gets done, “no job too big, no dog too small.”

It’s the story of the body of Christ: in speaking to Christians long ago, in the city of Corinth in Greece, the apostle Paul said we are all a part of a healthy, the body of Christ, each of us has a role, noticed or unnoticed, small or large, important or unimportant.  The apostle Paul noted that some parts of the body are obvious and we notice them – your face, skin and hair color, your height and weight; but the most important parts of our bodies, we don’t typically see – your lungs, heart, brain, kidneys, liver, stomach – and without those, we couldn’t play baseball or soccer or draw pictures or do math or run down the church hallways and we wouldn’t live too long.

Every part matters.  Everyone matters.  Every gift is important.  That’s true for us here in church and in the rest of our lives.  Each of us has a gift, a calling, a vocation, that can bring us joy and can help our world be a better place.  Frederick Buechner says, “your vocation is the place where your deep hunger meets the world’s deep need.”

Where is your great joy? Where is your gift?

In one of my favorite films, “Chariots of Fire,” runner Eric Liddle says, “God made me fast, and when I run I can feel God’s pleasure.”

I believe we can feel God’s pleasure when we’re using our gifts.  When  we run and jump and draw and use our imaginations, we can feel God’s pleasure. When we draw a picture, play a song, hit a baseball, or make a goal in soccer, we can feel God’s pleasure. When we greet people at Duffy or take a photograph of a beautiful place, we can feel God’s pleasure.  When we pause and see a job well-done, something repaired at church, the results of the capital campaign in the fellowship hall or library, we can feel God’s pleasure.  When we sing or ring bells, we can feel God’s pleasure.  When we greet our youngest children, reach out to someone on the streets of Hyannis, or hammer a nail with Habitat, or smile at someone at the Thrifty Niche, we can feel God’s pleasure.  In those moments, we share God’s vision of healing the earth, one moment at a time.

And, so we can call ourselves members of Jesus’ Paw Patrol: “no job is too large, no person is too small,” because we are part of the body of Christ, God’s love is flowing through us, and together we can do something beautiful for God.