Meet Josie: Young, frisky, rescued from death by maintenance men. Often stepped on or tripped over as she is always under your foot, swirling herself around your leg, and affectionately just overall being in the way. When I try and feed her each morning, she rubs the jug I'm pouring her food from so I typically end up accidentally pouring out too much as her head dumps the jug over some. As affectionate as a cat can be, she'll easily leave her food to come up for petting, rolling around enjoying every moment of it.
Meet Gratch: About 4 years old now, always slightly cattish in the typical snotty way that cats have of making sure you know you're not important to them. She was simply a stray that got brought to me. I don't typically claim her, because she makes certain to not claim me. Each morning as I go out to feed her, she lays under her tree and pretends she doesn't care. Food, no food, whatever. She does come up fairly often, and gets all bothered if you pet her sometimes. She'll come and stand an inch from your leg, but if you bend down and pet her she jumps and moves away as though she never imagined the likes of you would dare to touch her. I know... I could be reading too much into her actions, but over the last few years now I've never developed a huge patch of affection for this obstinate cat.
Gratch, has made it abundantly clear that she does not like Josie. That's part of why I had to get a second food dish, so they could eat in separate areas just so Gratch would leave Josie alone. If Josie even gets too close with her hyper self, Gratch tends to hiss and give her a good swat.
Yet, Josie doesn't even seem to care. She jumps happily between both bowls aggravating the daylights out Gratch who solidly refuses to eat out of the same bowl as Josie.
Ok... here's where I'll piece it all together for you:
The two bowls - that feels like two separate worship styles. One contemporary, one traditional. I could be entirely wrong, and this could be hatefully judgemental (though I don't mean it that way) but, I can never imagine someone from the "traditional" frame of mind searching for food from both styles because they're just so hungry they want more of God.But I can easily picture the contemporary folks basking in the traditional style just because they're hungry for more and they don't care where it comes from as long as it's all God.
The hissing cat - The happy, and free people, hungry for God need to be exactly like Josie. Not caring who hisses, or doesn't eat but just wanting to get in, be affectionate and eat what's provided with gusto. (That thought seemed especially important to me since I've worried so much lately about intruding on other peoples worship with my worship.)
And lastly, ME - I was always alright with Gratch. She's a good cat, albeit obstinate. She was ok, I fed her, took care of her, and a few times when a neighbor cat harassed her, I even went outside and protected her. But, Josie has become a delight. I enjoy watching her enjoy whatever it is, be it eating, or her continual purr, or her constant enjoyment of any and all attention you give her. And in all that, I wondered if that's how God feels about us. When we embrace all of Christianity with gusto, and pleasure, and a visible hunger for food and and audience with the King Himself, I can't help but imagine that God, much like me with my silly cat, delights in our delight in Him. We can be Gratch. Half the time I am Gratch. But I want to be a Josie, with exuberance and hunger and affection for my Savior that delights His heart, blesses Him, and stands out as a witness of my Saviors obvious love.
.... I said lastly before, but one more thing popped to mind. If you watch Gratch, you wouldn't have any idea that I take good care of this cat, and would willingly pet and spend time with her. Matter of fact, if you watched me pet her, you'd think I regularly beat her from her response.
Josie however, makes me look like a really good, kind owner.
And I for one want to make sure that the way I act, and think about God, and how I act like He thinks of me, makes God look as kind and loving as He really is.
*PS. Those pictures are only pictures of cats that look like mine - my camera battery died so this is the closest I could get*