Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Christ as fish

I picked up my copy of Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek the other day and happened upon this passage right after I finished the sonnet for Luke 5:1-11.  Tinker Creek is a book that takes a couple readings to appreciate its use of allusion.  Although I've heard these verses dozens of times over the course of my life, I've never heard some of the kerygmatic connections she makes.  I like them.  Normally I think of fishing as a grueling, backbreaking profession, but she sees it in a slightly different light:

I am coming around to fish as spirit.  The Greek acronym for some of the names of Christ yields ichthys.  Christ as fish, and fish as Christ.  The more I glimpse the fish in Tinker Creek, the more satisfying the coincidence becomes, the richer the symbol, not only for Christ but for the spirit as well.  The people must live.  Imagine for a Mediterranean people how much easier it is to haul up free, fed fish in nets than to pasture hungry herds on those bony hills and feed them through the winter.  To say that holiness is a fish is a statement of the abundance of grace; it is the equivalent of affirming in a purely materialistic culture that money does indeed grow on trees.  "Not as the world gives do I give to you"; these fish are spirit food.  And revelation is a study in stalking.  "Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find."

There's a thought as we begin the journey of Lent: "The people must live."

1 comment:

Traivs said...

That is one of my favorite books.