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Memorial Service for a Horse or Other Equine Animal
And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the living creatures and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousands times ten thousands, and thousands of thousands, Saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.
And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, "Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."
And the four beasts said, "Amen." And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever. (Rev. 5:11-14)
( In the prayers below, the Leader says the deceased horse’s name where the prayers say N., and changes the italicized pronouns as appropriate for the horse’s gender. Please also make appropriate substitutions if the deceased animal is a burro, donkey, pony or mule.)
Leader: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Leader: Let us pray.
O God of grace and glory, we remember before you this day our beloved horse and companion N. We thank you for giving him to us to be a source of strength, inspiration and joy on our journey in this life.
In Your compassion, comfort us in our grief. Give us faith to commit this beloved horse to Your care, as you gave him to us to care for during his life, and give us hope that we may one day be reunited in heaven, for You live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.
The Liturgy of the Word
One or more of the following passages of scripture may be read. The Leader should choose appropriate passages before the service and if desired they may be read by anyone present.
2 Kings 2:9-12a or 2 Kings 6:15-17
Psalm 104:1, 10-16, 25, 28-32
Acts 2:16-17 KJV or RSV or NRSV
1 Cor 9:24-25
2 Tim 4:7-8
Mark 16:14-15 (KJV)
Sharing of Memories
At this time the Leader may invite those present to share their memories of the life of the deceased horse, remembering especially the courage, faithfulness, affection, strength, spirit and loyalty of the departed animal and its other good traits. And also invite those attending to share more difficult memories of the horse’s faults, and humorous stories; for our beloved animal friends, unlike human beings, are morally innocent, but like us, they are imperfect.
When all have finished what they desire to say, the Leader says:
Let us pray.
Gracious God, you gave to us the responsibility and blessing of the care of this horse during his earthly life. If in any way we failed in that responsibility, we ask for your pardon, and trust in Your mercy, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Creator of all, you gave us the rainbow as the sign of Your everlasting covenant with every living creature of all flesh: help us to trust in your covenant of faithfulness to N., our faithful horse. Amen.
The Apostles Creed (optional)
Leader: For our servant and companion, N., let us pray to our Lord
Jesus Christ, who said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Please respond after each petition, "Lord, hear us."
Lord, you consoled Martha and Mary in their distress; be close to us as we mourn for our equine friend, who trusted us and lent us his strength.
Lord, hear us.
You wept at the grave of Lazarus, your friend, comfort us in our sorrow.
Lord, hear us.
You are the Lamb who was slain, yet you live forever; give us faith to commit N. to your loving and tender care.
Lord, hear us.
You entered Jerusalem on the back of an unbroken colt, and in heaven John saw you ride a white horse. Help us to attain to the eternal joys of heaven, where we may follow you with your heavenly hosts.
Lord, hear us.
A period of silence may be kept.
Creator of the Universe, you love everything that you have made. We pray to you for N. and for all those whom we love but see no longer. Grant to them eternal rest. Let light perpetual shine upon them. May their souls, and the souls of all the departed, by the mercy of God, rest
in peace. Amen.
The service closes with the Peace, and with the singing of one or more hymns or songs, such as "Amazing Grace," "How Great Thou Art," or, especially appropriate for children, "Somewhere over the Rainbow." At the discretion of the Leader, the service may be shortened, especially if small children are present.
Genesis 9:12-17 (RSV) And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is the clouds, I will look upon it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. God said to Noah, "This is
the sign of the covenant which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth."
2 Kings 2:9-12a When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, "Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you." And Elisha said,
"I pray you, let me inherit a double share of your spirit." And he said, "You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if you do not see me, it shall not be so." And as they still went on and talked, behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it and he cried, "My father, my father! the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!" And he saw him no more.
2 Kings 6:15-17 When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was round about the city. And the servant said, "Alas, my master! what shall we do?" He said, "Fear not, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." Then Elisha prayed, and said, "O Lord, open his eyes that he may see." So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
PSALM 104:1, 10-16, 25, 28-32 (BCP)
Bless the Lord, O my soul;*
O Lord my God, how excellent is your greatness!
you are clothed with majesty and splendor.
You send the springs into the valleys;*
they flow betwen the mountains.
All the beasts of the field drink their fill from them,*
and the wild asses quench their thirst.
Beside them the birds of the air make their nests*
and sing among the branches.
You water the mountains from your dwelling on high;*
the earth is fully satisfied by the fruit of your works.
You make grass grow for flocks and herds*
and plants to serve mankind;
That they may bring forth food from the earth,
and wine to gladden our hearts.
Oil to make a cheerful countenance,*
and bread to strengthen the heart.
O Lord, how manifold are your works!*
in wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
All of them look to you*
to give them their food in due season.
You give it to them; they gather it;*
you open your hand, and they are filled with good things.
You hide your face, and they are terrified;*
you take away their breath,
and they die and return to their dust.
You send forth your Spirit, and they are created;*
and so you renew the face of the earth.
May the glory of the Lord endure for ever;*
may the Lord rejoice in all his works.
Acts 2:16-17 (NRSV) This is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams."
Romans 8:19-25 (NSRV) For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
1 Cor 9:24-25 Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
2 Tim 4:7-8 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
Rev. 19:11-14 (RSV) Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems; and he has a name inscribed which no one knows but himself. He is clad in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, followed him on white horses.
Mark 11: 1-10 (RSV) When they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, and said to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately as you enter it you will see a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat; untie it and bring it. If any one says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’" And they went away, and found a colt tied at the door out in the open street; and they untied it. And those who stood there said to them, "What are you doing, untying the colt?" And they told them what Jesus had said; and they let them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus, and threw their garments on it; and he sat upon it. And many spread their garments on the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed cried out, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming! Hosanna in the highest!"
Mark 16:14-15 (KJV) Afterwards Jesus appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. And he said unto them, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
This service is intended for use by families and friends of the deceased horse in communal prayer, in a private funeral or memorial service. It has not been formally adopted by any denomination or church body, but the liturgist believes it to be in accord with Holy Scripture.