I’ll admit from the outset. I’m not a fan of cats. The animals I mean, those purry furry things that leave little filthy foul pies of splodge on your lawn. EVEN THOUGH THEY DON’T LIVE IN YOUR HOUSE! But that’s a whole other story. Back to the movie. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s take on TS Elliot hits the big screen. And I discovered that the band Mungo Jerry got their name from one of the creatures here! Wow! Anyway, the musical Cats on show here are trying to grab first place in a sort of feline ‘pick me! pick me!’ X Factor competition, the winner then receiving a free trip to the Heaviside Layer and returning with a whole new lease of life.
One of the Cats, Macavity, is so determined to one he used his bullying swagger and selfish magic tricks to whisk away the competition, so they end up on some old boat somewhere. Unable to win the prize. Macavity is not a nice car, so determined to win a place on the Heaviside that he will do anything to get it. However, that will not do. Old Deuteronomy will make that decision, this is a gift bestowed, not something to be grasped or stolen.
When Jesus met a lawyer one day he was asked an odd question. ‘What,’ says the lawyer ‘must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Well, the question’s all wrong really. Because when it comes to inheritance you can’t ‘do’ anything, you’re either in line to inherit or your not. Plus the lawyer, like Macavity, is misreading this situation. He is of the mindset that this is something that can be grabbed, or bought, or earned by any means possible. But like the trip to the Heaviside, this new life is a gift, given. We cannot work or wangle our way in, or stump up enough to get it. Jesus has come to give this gift to all who want it. All who choose to join him, to go with him, to begin again. To receive, like those Cats going to the Heaviside, a whole new lease of life. But unlike the Heaviside, this is not merely on offer to the winner who can perform the best, this is available to all. Rich, poor, weak, strong, popular, unpopular, those in the crowd and those out of it. We don’t need to impress God. We just need to stop, and look to him. Talk to him. Give him some of our time and focus. Make space for him. That said, it can be demanding. Costly. And lead us in a whole new direction. (And it’s easy to write this, not so easy to do it in a world where we are offered so many other things, so many distractions and pressures.) But one thing’s for sure, it’s a gift offered and not about us being purr-fect in any way at all. 😊