Rats and Cats Rejoicing Together
“See, the Lord is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it; he will ruin its face. The earth will be completely laid waste.” – Isaiah 24:1;3
Isaiah says destruction will happen at the end of time. But elsewhere, he promises pure peace. Lambs and wolves lying down together. That’s a hard image to wrap your head around. Frankly, devastation seems more likely.
I live in a beautiful neighborhood crawling with rats. I see them every day. Just last night I was riding my bike home from a dinner party and a rat darted out into the street and ran directly between my wheels. His timing was incredible!
Several months ago I was leaving the church after a late meeting and I saw a baby rat in the alley about a yard away. I knew he wasn’t a mouse because of his nasty rat tail. But still, he was kind of charming. And I thought “Oh these things aren’t that bad. He’s cute.” Then, at that precise moment his mother walked across my foot. She must have weighed six pounds. It was disgusting.
Shortly thereafter, my church signed on to a plan that brings feral cats to rat-infested neighborhoods. Rather than being euthanized, the cats live in plastic shelters behind the church. We got four of them. They’re natural born hunters. An elite force. I am so happy to have these killers at our church. They’re cheaper than Orkin and far more effective. They live to destroy rats.
Our impulse toward enmity runs bone deep. It is written into us. Wolves and lambs, rats and cats, whatever iteration of Cain and Abel is on the news today. We aren’t designed to get along.
No wonder it is so easy to imagine a fiery apocalypse. But that’s not what we need. We need rats and cats to dance together, wolves and lambs to nap together, Isis and the secular west to laugh together, me and my gun nut evangelical cousin to love each other.
Come Lord Jesus. Make it happen.
Matt Fitzgerald is the Senior Pastor of St. Pauls United Church of Christ in Chicago. He is the host of “Preachers on Preaching,” a weekly podcast sponsored by The Christian Century.