As far as this one newly hatched ahi was concerned, it all happened very quickly. One moment he was floating, newly hatched, in a sea filled with eggs. The next moment he was surrounded by newly hatched ahi, a cloud of silvery motion.
As ahi do, he grew quickly, and with the others he swam with the school of larger adults. They taught him what fishes were good to eat, and they taught him what fishes were good to swim away from, and they taught him how to swim very very fast when other fishes thought he might be good to eat. He learned a lot.
After all, he was in school.
(Moans from the congregation)
Now, really. You knew I was telling a story about a schooling fish and thought I wouldn’t make that pun?
(Rueful laughter. The children, by the way, were not impressed with the pun.)
There was one other thing they taught him. They told him not to swim too deep. They probably didn’t have to, because when he looked down, he saw the water get darker and darker, and it seemed pretty threatening to him. He had no interest in falling into the depths.
But he did start wondering how he would keep from doing so.
You see, that was something of a mystery to him. He saw other things descending from above, and sinking down into the murky depths.
No, not rocks. There aren’t a lot of rocks coming down from the surface in the middle of the ocean. Just take it from me there’s stuff that goes down.
He didn’t want to go down with it. And he couldn’t figure out why he didn’t.
Because he could swim? Well, yes. That was part of it. But mostly, it was because he was surrounded by water. He didn’t even think about it, it was so much a part of his life. You and I, we move pretty easily through the air and don’t think much about it. He was pushing against the water all the time with his tail to get himself moving, and with his flippers to change direction, and never thought about the water being there to push against at all.
It was the very water whose depths frightened him that held him up.
Now, the love is God is not like the water. But just as the water surrounded him so much that he stopped being aware of it, God’s love is around us all the time, so that we might not be aware of it. It’s around us, and even inside us.
And because it’s there all the time, it’s easy to forget God’s love is there. Yet there it is.
Oh, yes: there it is.