Good morning on St Andrew’s Day. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
I’ve got to know the town of St Andrews on the Fife coast quite well over the past five years or so because our daughter was a student there and still lives nearby. Which is how I heard all about Hamish MacHamish.
Hamish MacHamish is a shaggy ginger cat, with a white mane, green eyes and he has taken over from William and Kate as St Andrews' most famous resident. For thirteen years, traffic has stopped for Hamish, who invariably uses zebra crossings. Not only has he been adopted by locals and students, tourists quickly get to know about him, and he has over two and a half thousand friends in social media.
One of the things I find fascinating about Hamish MacHamish is that he knows how far he can go. Sitting near the open door of one of the coffee shops, you can see Hamish approaching. But he stops before the doormat and never crosses it. Call it a feline understanding of the hygiene regulations, or a self-interest which recognises that going beyond acceptable limits will meet disapproval, he sits outside until something else attracts his attention.
I can learn from Hamish that a proper concern for the good of other people or their welfare involves not only a commitment to identifying with them and a willingness to be alongside them but also a recognition that there are times and occasions when respect for them requires an appropriate distance. Which is why I have always thought that Jesus was right always to send those he had helped away so that distance could prevent over-reliance.
So it is, loving God, that the space you give us is a sign of the love you have for us. Amen.