Dear Friends of Second Church,
Last week we learned that our campus has a temporary sojourner visiting with her family: a mother fox with two cubs moved under one of the sheds behind the church.
We know, of course, that she cannot stay, and we are looking into humane ways of relocating her and the cubs in the next few days. I am glad to report that she appears to be entirely healthy. (Anybody want a pet fox? She’s free!)
But while she appears to be entirely healthy, she’s not entirely shy—she has been spotted by many people on the Mead House lawn, and last Saturday, she walked right by me in the driveway, took a right on Maple Avenue and proceeded down toward the statue of the Union soldier across the street. If you do see her, you’ll have time to take out your camera and snap a few pictures—she doesn’t bolt away at the first sign of a human.
I suppose they are the one visiting family we should hope doesn’t get too comfortable here.
And yet, I find myself rooting for them. Especially the mom.
Their being here reminds me that, much as we draw our property lines and set our campus speed limits, worry about how the garden is doing or if the flowers in the planters are getting the right amount of water, it only takes the presence of a small, wild thing to show how arbitrary that all is. Creatureliness has a logic all its own—makes homes where it can and must, not only where it “ought to.”
Much as we may know that a wild thing does not belong here, we’re only sort of right. Because its presence reminds us that “belonging” is much bigger than the ways we understand and live out our own notions of that term. For while we may be well within our rights to remove any trespassers, the fact remains: other creatures make claims on us. On our space. Our time. And on our care. We may not choose to acknowledge it, but we belong to each other and to God.
The notion that we can draw the borders where we choose and manage the interactions on our own terms is a foolish notion–one we must hope we do not fool ourselves into believing.
The story that is the center of our common life begins with a baby who had nowhere to lay his head—born in a shed because there was no room for his family in the inn, no place where they belonged, no welcome according to the arbitrary rules that governed their world.
So much of Jesus’ ministry was a call to a deeper understanding of what it is to belong, to understand ourselves as creatures, created and sustained by God, and to find a deeper community among all living things, in his name.
I’m rooting for our campus foxes–hoping they will find a good, safe place where they can stay. But I am grateful for their beauty and their wildness, and how it reminds us of how we are all wild, beautiful creatures in our own way.
See you in church,