Several things have come to mind that make me think: Jesus is like a fish.
I wrote recently about Jesus being like cellophane, and now like a fish. :) I guess that’s finding God in everything!
I heard an interview with Fabien Cousteau. He is Jacque Cousteau’s grandson. Jacque Cousteau was famous as I was growing up. He led ocean expeditions. He had several documentaries and TV specials and astounded people around the world with his discoveries underwater. Many of his descendants carried on the tradition and Fabien Cousteau is one of them.
In the interview, Fabien told the reporter about his plan to build a submarine that looked like a great white shark. He had seen that people thought of sharks as mindless killing machines. We only saw them attacking divers in observation cages. He built this lifelike shark submarine so he would be a shark. As the reporter wrote, “The grandson of famous oceanographer and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau believes the best way to learn about sharks is to become one.” ( Wired, “Cousteau Sub Mimics Great White,” Alison Strahan, April 2, 2005.)
This story of becoming a shark reminded me of an old Don Knotts live action animated movie, “The Incredible Mr. Limpet.” Don Knotts’ character, Henry Limpet, loves fish and longs to become one. Mysteriously, one day when he falls into the ocean he turns into a fish. He goes on to help the Navy locate German subs and ships during World War II. By becoming a fish, Limpet becomes a true member of their community. He takes on a partner, Ladyfish, and lives out his life as a fish, eventually training other fish to help humans as he had.
I thought, too, of a passage in The Jesus I Never Knew, by Philip Yancey. He wrote of keeping a salt-water aquarium, “no easy task,” monitoring chemical levels, pumping in nutrients, maintaining filters, controlling light, and so on.
You would think, in view of all the energy expended on their behalf, that my fish would at least be grateful. Not so. Every time my shadow loomed above the tank they dove for cover into the nearest shell. They showed me one “emotion” only: fear. Although I opened the lid and dropped in food on a regular schedule, three times a day, they responded to each visit as a sure sign of my designs to torture them. I could not convince them of my true concern.
Yancey realized that he would have to become a fish for them to know him.
To my fish I was deity. I was too large for them, my actions too incomprehensible. My acts of mercy they saw as cruelty; my attempts at healing they viewed as destruction. To change their perceptions, I began to see, would require a form of incarnation. I would have to become a fish and “speak” to them in a language they could understand. ( The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey, Zondervan, 1999)
In The Universal Christ by Richard Rohr, Rohr writes “God loves things by becoming them” and that statement is so striking, one famous reader, Bono, called and told him, “Richard, you’ve got to name the book God Loves Things by Becoming Them.” Rohr says since God created ALL things, everyone has to carry the “divine DNA,” and to truly connect with his creation, to show his deep love, God becomes one of his creations — a human.
So, that’s how God is like a fish! To show his love, to connect to us humans in a way we can understand, he became one of us.
I especially like the illustration from Philip Yancey realizing that the only way the fish in that aquarium would understand his acts of mercy would be to become a fish. I don’t know about you, but the thought of becoming a fish is not a pleasant one to me. Fish are slimy, they have bulgy eyes, they eat yucky stuff, they are constantly threatened by bigger, scary fish. Is that repugnant reaction similar to what becoming a human could feel like when you are God? Imagine deciding to give up your human body, your current life, and take on the body and life of a fish. Ew. No thanks.
Praise God that he loves us so much, he became one of us.
What can I pray about for you?