The other day, I was driving down the 1-196 on my way home from something. I try hard to keep at the speed limit (back in 2012 I got two speeding tickets in less than a month, I’ve tried to lessen my lead foot since then). It isn’t unusual for cars to pass me. It’s also not unusual for cars to pass me telling me that they’re number one (if you know what I mean). As I was driving, I saw a teal blue beaten up minivan driving up fast behind me. I was going 5 over (okay, maybe ten) and they passed me like I was standing still.
And then I saw a flying fish.
What is that?
As the minivan passed me by, I saw a nice little symbol on the back of the car near the license plate. It’s the universal symbol of being a follower of Jesus–the Jesus Fish.
What is the Jesus Fish? The Fish is an extraordinarily old Christian symbol. It is actually an acronym from the Greek word for fish–ickthus. The acronym translates as Jesus Christ, Gods’ son, savior. It was drawn in different locations to let persecuted Christians know that the area they were in was safe. It meant that fellow Christians were around.
Today, it’s a bumper sticker. It’s a universal symbol to say “Hey, look at me, Jesus is my co-pilot so that’s why I can fly by real fast.” Okay…maybe not just that, but that’s the message that comes across when a car with a fish flies by me on the road. And I really love it when they tell me they’re number one.
Way to represent Jesus, dudes.
I always find it interesting that when we pray the Lord’s Prayer we start off with “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name.”
The Heidelberg Catechism has this wonderful explanation of why we pray “hallowed be thy name” in Q&A 122
“Help us to truly know you, to honor, glorify, and praise you for all your works and for all that shines forth from them: your almighty power, wisdom, kindness, justice, mercy, and truth.” HC LD 47 Q&A 122
Are flying fish truly doing this? Is how they drive showing God’s almighty power, wisdom, kindness, justice, mercy, and truth? Well, God’s not done with them yet, so don’t judge them as they drive way fast and stuff with a fish on the back of their car. It just shows how much grace God’s given them despite themselves?
Should we sin so that grace may about? NO!
Now, you might be thinking, take that plank out of your eye before removing the speck of dust in the other person’s eye. Dude. The plank is there. I know it. (Ahem….did you read above about the tickets? That doesn’t include the warnings…but I know where I need to work on things).
The Catechism goes on to say that when we pray “hallowed be thy name” we’re praying
“Help us to direct all our living—what we think, say, and do—so that your name will never be blasphemed because of us but always honored and praised.” HC LD 47 Q&A 122
A Flying Fish don’t honor nor praise. Now, I don’t always honor and praise with my language, with my actions, with my temper. I know that. And yes, I’m working on it. But I also know that a fish doesn’t give me license to speed.
Now, that person could have been in a hurry. Their house could have been on fire. They could have been on their way to something that required them to fly faster that fast down the I-196. But they aren’t the first Flying Fish I’ve seen over the years. And I’m sad to say, they ain’t the last.
Part of living as a follower of Jesus is to live out the FISH. To live out what it means that Jesus Christ is God’s Son, Savior. It doesn’t give permission to fly down the road. It doesn’t give permission to sin all the more so that grace may abound. It really means to live in such a way that God is truly honored in what I do (not, not they, this truly is about me). And so, I always ask myself “How can I live out the prayer ‘hallowed be thy name’?”
How can you live this out? Are you a Flying Fish? How can you live out the prayer “hallowed be thy name”?