A reflection from The Rev. Lynn White, Priest Associate

A Fish Story

It’s a bit ironic, isn’t it, that “a fish story” is a kind of idiom for a tall tale in today’s vernacular.  Nevertheless, for Christians, a fish story is no tall tale but woven into the vocabulary of our beliefs. After all, Jesus first called Galilean fishermen to be his disciples, the multitude were fed by five loaves and two fish, and the shape of a fish became a symbol for Christians. Jesus transformed the fishermen’s call from netting fish to fishing for people.  (Mk1:17)

Today’s fish story came to me via our daughter from the internet. It’s a story of a fisherman from an island off the coast of Rio de Janerio, Brazil. Joao Pereira de Souza found a tiny South American Magellanic penguin on the beach, covered in oil and nearly dead. Who hasn’t been charmed by the waddling white and black birds that can’t fly?! Thus, Joao tenderly washed the penguin, fed him to build his strength back, and then tried to release the penguin back into the wild; but the penguin wouldn’t leave. The two bonded and Joao named the penguin Dindim. The penguin stayed for 11 months, and then one day disappeared.

 A few months later, Dindim returned and followed the fisherman home. The pattern continued. Dindim has spent 8 months of the year with Joao and the rest of the year mating off the coast of Argentina and Chile, approximately, and amazingly, 5000 miles away. Joao professed, “I love the penguin like it’s my own child.”

While not scripture, it seems to me that both Joao and the Dindim have lessons to teach us.  God calls us to become more like Joao and love and care for those who have been placed in our path, to be enchanted by the world about us. Scripture teaches us to remember that we, too, have a bond and have been named a Child of God. Most of us do our own share of waddling, but have the gifts to become more like Dindim to stay the course, be more willing to go the extra distance to profess our faith and devotion, to be thankful that we have been loved and saved, and to express that gratitude for the new life offered. 

To God be the glory!  Amen.