Asterix is developing a peculiar habit.
Asterix is our cat. You may have seem him on the vicarage doorstep. He sometimes sit there, in his black and whiteness, looking completely unperturbed, like a guardsman at the palace.
When we open the door, and he nonchalantly walks in, he shakes his back leg as he crosses the threshold.
Not his front legs, and until recently only his back left leg, but now both.
Leg-shaking over, in he comes and does his usual Asterix stuff. A lot of sleeping, some people pestering, and occasionally a few rounds with dog (he always lets the dog think it has won.)
But why the shaking of the leg?
Is he removing the dust, in the biblical sense, as if to say to the world ‘you have not accepted me, so I turn my back on you’ – or at least ‘I feel a 25% rejection, now becoming 50%.’
Is it ‘I’m excited to be entering the premises, shall we dance?’ – though he rarely seems to tango directly on arrival.
Cats being territorial animals, I guess there will be some significance in a threshold. Maybe it is a form of marking that we hadn’t noticed before.
Thresholds are physical and notional things. Jesus had a habit of crossing them, and so making them evident, and often exposing their arbitrary nature. In particular religious boundaries that were not God-ordained, like the rules imposed on keeping the sabbath which did not, in fact, honour God.
It’s easier to go along with these thresholds, even when they keep people bound up. They exist in all religious systems, but they should not in the Christian Way. Jesus came to give us liberty, and empower us to live it out – though Paul does encourage us to be astute about it.
Maybe Asterix is being prophetic. When we cross man-made boundaries, we should be prepared to shake a stick at them. Certainly we should be receptive to the spark that God sends through us as he prompts us and nudges us. Something isn’t right.
Shake a leg, then.