Farewell, Minnie...

In the Bible the book of Genesis tells us that in the beginning God’s real reason for making animals was nothing to do with Man exploiting them, but just so that the Man (OK, humankind) - would not be alone. No wonder that so many of us value the companionship of a pet.

When our cat arrived in our home two years ago care was taken to set out some ground rules from the start. Someone insisted that demands for food, cuddles and attention would be met immediately. In return, she would bring us presents – of mice, mainly. In fact recently she met me as I arrived home, meowed for me to follow her across the garden, and then sat down beside the hedge, meowing excitedly. Puzzled at first, I soon realised what she was telling me: this is where the mice live.

Not good news for mice, perhaps. But Isaiah, one of the Biblical prophets, foresaw a golden future in which the lion and the lamb will lie down together. Perhaps the same will apply to cats and mice. As it is, our world is not an ideal one but a work in progress. Faith is not a charm against misfortune but is rather about coping with our world as it is while hoping, praying and working for something better. Meanwhile, lions still prey on lambs, cats still prey on mice, laughter mingles with tears, and road traffic preys on cats - even vicarage cats.

She lies with the mice, in the corner of the garden beside the hedge where they live. The vicarage seems strangely empty, and no - it is not good for us to be alone.