The Prophet Isaiah gives us an image of what it might mean for us to live in harmony. His vision acknowledges the usual tension we find in creation by pairing some unlikely characters who, somehow, find a way to coexist:
The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them… (Isaiah 11:6)
Such a vision of peaceful coexistence seems unrealistic in these days of bitter national division. As Allen Hilton writes, “Polarization numbers have risen to levels unseen since the Civil War and now threaten even to surpass those. The Left-Right line divides urban from rural, educated from uneducated, working class from professional class, and so on and so on.” I wonder if we need a vision of unity like the one Isaiah provided. How about the following, also drawn from the animal world?
Roy Blount Jr. tells the true story of a friend of his who was given the job of canvassing the neighborhood. His friend went door to door with his neighbors, ending up at a house around the corner and down a half a block from his. As he talked to the woman who lived there, he noticed some cat toys lying on the carpet. “You have a cat?” he asked. “Yes,” said the woman. “Though he sleeps most of the day. Funny thing is, you can never find him at night.”
“I know what you mean,” the canvasser said. “But my cat hangs around at night and is gone during the day.” Just at that moment, the cat walked into the room. That canvasser started in surprise. “Puffy?!” he asked. It turned out that, unknown to either one of them, they had been sharing the same cat for more than two years.
I apologize for this, but… isn’t God our cat? Isn’t God the one, the exclusive property of none of us, the one who strolls through all of us, from person to person, taking up loving residence in whatever home that will offer God a loving welcome (and a good, sunny place to take a nap)? And isn’t that loving, accepting presence of God the thing that can bridge the divide between us? Maybe God could even overcome one of the most serious divides of all: between dog-lovers and cat-lovers.
Your friend and fellow minister, Rev. Steve Savides