Faithlife
Faithlife

Missing Fish

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Children's books with names like One Fish, Two Fish; Red Fish, Blue Fish.

Screen savers on our computers that pretend to be an aquarium. Long weekends

in the north woods, on silent lakes waiting for the first nibble on the

line, or sea stories about "the one that got away." It seems like fish turn

up everywhere. Maybe that's because fish are such fascinating creatures.

Fish come in an amazing variety of shapes, sizes and colors, and they move

so gracefully through the water. Watching them can be soothing or

entertaining. They can be eaten in any setting, from around a campfire to

the finest restaurants. Fish just never seem to be boring. From early

childhood to old age, fish seem to be a source of wonder and delight for so

many people.

Maybe that's why, in today's gospel passage, the words that really stand out

are Jesus' first words to the disciples: "Children, you have no fish, have

you?" Such sad words. After trying all night, the disciples still have no

fish. The people Jesus loves like his own children have no source of wonder

or delight. They can't even make a decent meal. In the ancient Middle East,

for a meal to be considered complete, you had to have bread and fish. Fish

weren't just part of a heart-healthy diet, fish were essential. No decent

host would let even his guest's slaves go without fish; to do that was to

treat them as less than human, and risk being thought of as a poor host. So,

without fish the disciples weren't even human beings. No fish. A whole

night's work, and nothing to show for it. Just an empty boat. No wonder, no

delight, and no breakfast.

Wendy Dackson


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