Sunday, September 2, 2007

Of mice and women

We discovered a mouse problem in the pantry where we keep the pet food. I refused to use the traditional mouse trap, but instead prevailed upon my husband to try a humane alternative. So far we've trapped two and taken them out to the edge of our property to release them. It turns out in addition to cat and dog food they love peanut butter. The mice and I have something in common. Actually I realized today that a love of peanut butter is not the only thing the mice and I have in common. My husband went to the same pantry this morning and pulled out the picnic basket to use as a prop in his Children's Sermon at church. He thought it felt a little heavy, and when he removed the lid, he discovered a mouse nest, made from the material of the cloth napkins, two of which had perfect circles eaten through them.

He discovered the reason the basket was heavy is that the mice had carried innumerable pieces of pet food to the basket and filled each of the plastic goblets and coffee mugs to the brim. To me, the strangest part of this was that they stored their purloined food stores right next to the big sacks of pet food. It seemed to me it would have been easier to just eat from the lavish banquet that was provided rather than hoarding stores right next door. But then I realized how much I am like these mice. Like them, and like the Israelites in the wilderness, I am reluctant to rely entirely on the bounty that God promises and regularly makes available to me. God prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies, but I want the security of having plenty of food in the pantry. I become anxious when material possessions are low or threatened.

One of my seminary professors, Dr. David Jensen, writes in an article on Globalization about the difference between our fast food culture and the abundance God provides in Holy Communion. We gobble our fast food as if fearful that someone will take it. But at God's table there is always room for one more and always plenty of food and drink to share. Too often we see the world in terms of scarcity, when God offers us abundance. I thought of that and of the mice as we took communion this morning.

Grace and Peace,
Donna Sue

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