I know it’s getting close to Easter, but there is an amazing story that John McCain shares about one particular Christmas while being held as a Vietnam prisoner of war in the 1960s.
Senator McCain relays how, prior to that holiday, a guard had entered his chamber, loosened his ropes, put a finger to his lips, then left. Before the guard’s shift was over, he returned, re-tightened the ropes, and departed. Sometime later, it was Christmas day. During roll call, this same guard approached prisoner McCain, took his foot out of his sandal and in the sand formed the shape of a cross with his toe. Calmly, he then erased it. “Just two men. Worshiping. On Christmas day.” I think is how the now Senator put it.
For those of you familiar with the Christian faith, you’ll remember that the shape of a fish was used similarly by 1st century Christians. They were known to draw in the sand to communicate their faith when they were under Roman rule. One believer would approach, then draw a semi-circle in the sand. If the receiver of the art was a believer as well, he would respond in kind, and complete the form. The finished product was that of a stick figure, but in the shape of a fish. Early Christians referred to it as the “sign of the fish.” Sound famiilar?
The secret sign that was exchanged between the Vietnamese guard and the American prisoner some 2000 years later was much more blatant and daring. It was the sign of the cross.
As I was walking Judge one evening, I kept noticing the beautiful sky and continued to marvel at the perfect weather. Nearing the end of our walk, I looked up, as I had been doing, but this time I noticed, up in the blue, the perfect shape of a huge stick figure fish. It was most likely made by airplanes as other white paths in the distance were visible. This blatant image, however, was for me, too clear to miss.
I was struck. Now please know that I am not one to make a scene over such moments, but it was definitely special. I couldn’t help but wonder if the Lord was perhaps smiling down with a simple, “I see you. And I am here.” I don’t know. But it was my moment, and I will keep it in my heart. Maybe not as dramatically as that of Mr. McCain’s, but one that was meant for me to be sure.
A simple symbol, but it carried a very special message – for me.
Just my thoughts.