I write sometimes about my morning “routine”.
My morning routine consists of me getting up, throwing my sweatshirt and pants on immediately if it’s cold, going to the powder room for my morning ablution, then quietly creeping past my sleeping sons so that I don’t awaken the “Krakken”…so that I can get downstairs and put some water on for coffee.
While I’m waiting for the water to boil, I pour myself half a coffee cup of orange juice, take my vitamins, rinse the cup out in the sink to prepare it for the coffee to come, and listen to the cat yell for me to come out onto the porch so that I can support her routine.
My cat’s routine is one new can of cat food, fresh water, and the removal of the old can of cat food…every day.
She’s a creature of habit driven by her needs…just like me.
I saw her hanging on the door…looking in that window…and then I saw here on the washing machine…looking in that window…then I saw her looking in the door window again…then the washing machine window…then…
She is a focused feline when she wants me to support her habit.
After I’d gotten her the food, I had a flash in my brain.
It might have been a thought…it might have been something else…I’m not really sure.
I’ll go with “thought” for now.
My thought was this: In the Bible it says that the way we treat the “least of these” is the way we treat Christ.
That cat is such an irritation sometimes…jumping up on the window like that, yowling for a can of food, underfoot until she can get her mouth on something fresh.
She’s a pain when I’m half awake in the early morning.
So what would be “less” than that?
Sometimes we pay attention to our compatriots around the world who have needs.
Sometimes the people around us are taken care of.
We notice things sometimes. Sometimes we act. Sometimes we help these people in trouble.
But what if the “least” included animals?
(Now, the word on the street is that animals don’t have souls… so they must be in a different category. I guess that means they’re more like a “thing” than someone requiring consideration. I don’t know about that…I think that there might be a bigger spiritual connection with the animals around us than we’re willing to admit. Of course, I still would have to claim “dominion”…I still have the “power” over all these non-human “things”…I need to take my “props” where I can find them…)
So here’s the thought…”what if” we get to the end and we proudly say, “Check this out, God….did you see what I did?! Well…I know you did, but…anyway…remember that time I leaned out my window and gave that dude with the cardboard sign a dollar? Do you remember what his sign said? It said ‘Homeless Vet…Hungry.. Will Work for Food…Need Gas”. How about that? Does that count for the ‘least’ thing?!! It does, doesn’t it!! Great…now let me in…”
And God says, “Ahhhhh…you misunderstood, I think. I was talking about that other big chunk of ‘leasts’…all those animals around you that you didn’t mistreat…but didn’t go out of your way to treat really well, either.”
“That’s the ‘least’ that I was talking about…”
“How did you ever get up far enough on your high horse to decide that any of these people around you were ‘less’, anyway?”
I’m not racing to the point…not even really meandering towards a point very well…where I suppose that Jesus wants anything like a can of cat food. It’s not like that. I don’t want to be blasphemous. That’s not the goal.
That may be why animals aren’t mentioned in the “least of these” example…to avoid awkward comparisons.
Maybe that’s why….I’m not sure.
I guess that all life deserves some reverence….from the biggest, most accomplished and powerful…like the President or Warren Buffett or Bill Gates or even Vladimir Putin…really powerful guys…(I’m kidding…being on top of the jungle gym doesn’t mean that you’re the king of the world)…down to a hungry cat hanging on a doorway.
I wonder if there isn’t more to all of this than I suppose I see? My connection to God and to Christ is bigger than the “width and breadth” I give it. It’s bigger than anything that I can understand on my own.
That cat’s not really a pain, either…I just need to wake up some.