One of the concessions I made to my husband, Bruce, a couple of years ago was that he could have cats. I hate cats. I am allergic to them. I think they are sneaky and obnoxious. They lay claim to spaces in my house which were formerly mine, places like chairs and sofas. But here’s the deal, they bring Bruce utter joy. He is a happy man with cats; they are ecstatic cats (as much as they care to be) with man.
I observe similar dynamics at work in our parish regarding space and new friends. From where I sit and stand on Sunday mornings I notice that those of us who have been around the parish for awhile have marked our territories. Some seats are ours and we will not be moved. The new friends come in, hoping for a seat, and we expect them to ask us to move to make room for them. Unlike my cats, they will not just leap in our laps and assert themselves, disabusing us of our claim to space. They will simply go away and not return.
Now, I know that St. Stephen’s seeks to be a welcoming place to all cats. As a congregation, we want to make room for new friends who have taken the risk to visit us. So here’s my proposal, keep the place you like in the room, but move to the center of the pew. This way we will be signally to the new cats that there is a welcome here. We’ve left space for them.
This week we focus on seats, next week…..parking!