When Cats Herd Themselves / by Andrew Fairfield

Dear friends,

Have you ever tried to get a group of people to do something -- only to find that while everybody agrees that it’s a good idea, somehow nothing ever happens? It’s an experience most of us have had at one time or another, that frustrating feeling of “herding cats.”

What do you call the opposite of “herding cats”? What do you call it when, out of the blue, people decide to get together, to carry on with something, to make something great happen even when the original leaders aren’t there to push things forward? What do you say when cats herd themselves?

In this week’s epistle reading, 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13, Paul is responding to exactly that sort of miracle. The church community that he was forced to abandon after being with them only a very few weeks has not only survived and continued to meet in the face of persecution, but it abounds, both in numbers and “in love for one another and for all.”

Paul’s words are filled with a sense of wonder and gratitude, overjoyed that God’s living Spirit has kept the church alive and together when they had every reason to fall apart. I feel some of that same wonder when I see God’s work being done in spontaneous ways. When I hear about these online fundraisers that raise millions to support the victims of tragedy, and when I see communities of faith that stay true to God’s love in the face of violence, I know that the hand of the Lord is there.

May we all be confronted this week by examples of God’s ongoing leadership both in our church and around the world.

Grace and peace,