Thursday, August 28, 2008

Some Cats are Forever

Abba Ah Beng bought a kitten to catch the rats that were eating his loincloth. The kitten was very cute but playful. During chapel service, she would sneak quietly into the chapel and distract the young disciples of Sow Lin Monastery from their prayers and meditation. A sudden touch of warm fur and a perfect purr was enough to draw the most devout from the depths of God.

Abba Ah Beng finally solved the problem by tying the kitten with a string to a stake in front of the chapel. The disciples become used to seeing the little kitten and later a large cat tied to the stake as they enter and leave the chapel. The cat died and Abba Ah Beng bought a new cat and continued the tradition of tying his cat to the stake in front of the chapel before services. Abba Ah Beng was finally called home by the Lord and was succeeded by Abba Ah Lek. Abba Ah Lek continued the tradition of tying the cat to honor his spiritual director and mentor.

One hundred years later, a brand new gleaming mega-church auditorium stands where the Sow Lin Chapel used to be. It is large enough to sit 6,000 people comfortably. However, at the front entrance there is a stake to which a cat will be tied before each worship service. When asked about the reason, senior Pastor Joe Pan said he does not know but there has always been a cat in front of the worship hall. He postulates it may in some way draws God’s blessings on the congregation. Anyway, who is he to change a hallowed tradition.

To this day, if you visit the mega-church where the ancient Sow Lin Monastery once stood, you will see a cat tied to a stake in front of the worship auditorium. You can see the cat sitting and walking. The cat is active except when its battery runs down.

Do we need to keep all of our church traditions?


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