Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Clownfishing Around with a Deadly God

Nemo has ensured that everyone knows that the sea anemone stings, and kills, all fish except for one--the little clownfish, whose skin bears a sticky immunity after years and years of exposing itself to the deadly tentacled animal.  I think, if you search with me among the tingly arms to gaze deep beyond our striped fortress-dweller, you will find a picture of our true Prometheus, a God of deadly power whose very substance is deeply opposed to ours.  Even if we were perfect and good, every bit of his existence carries a danger that makes angels cover up to avoid his touch.  Every other being in the universe--except us, the indomitable spiritual clownfish--cannot survive the touch of God.

Yet He asks us to dwell in the very midst of Him, surrounding ourselves with Him every day, touching Him, and being touched by Him.  Never in the Bible do we see God touch an angel, but Jesus touched people all the time.  We humans may cover ourselves with His blood just as the clownfish's skin coats with the protective mucous--and dwell in His presence. 

We could talk about sin here, since other fish probably have a protein coating that the anenome's nematocysts recognize as food--just as in our normal sin, we really can only serve to be consumed by the holiness of the fire of God.  But some have theorized that the clown fish's mucous, based on sugars, fails to call out, "hey, I'm food" to the nematocysts.  In the same way, our new living, based on the coating that God has inspired in us, no longer screams out for destruction.

But more importantly, we could talk about God, and his "otherness"--the quality Christians often call holiness.  The word actually means his uniqueness and "set-apart"-ness.  The clownfish lives set apart from all other fish not only by where it lives and the dangers it can conquer, but by its very essence and the very pores that produce sugars instead of proteins.  How much more "set-apart" and special is the God who can bear the infinity of danger and pleasure in which He lives!

1 comment:

  1. Jesus, Jesus
    Be my hiding place, my safety--
    All those cliche' cries, it denies my individuality
    Or is it my pride--
    But I'm fine with that now
    That knowledge that I am needy--
    Just save me!
    Make me
    Like a clown fish
    Immune to the sting
    Safe in the anenome
    That destroys everything else
    But not me
    Me relish it.