“Perfect! New moon!” whispers Sidonius to himself as he tries to walk at a leisurely pace while passing familiar shops. “It is not far now.”
Rhythmic waves and the scent of the sea heighten his anticipation of this meeting. If Sidonius misjudges the intentions of his contact, it could mean death for his family.
Tiny broken seashells, layered for hundreds of years, crunch beneath his sandals as he steps out onto the Mediterranean shoreline.
Slowly surveying the beach, he spots a cluster of irregular sand dunes lined with bushes of Sea Grapes. He decides this is a good place to sit and watch for the person he is to meet. Slightly concealed by the large leaves, he takes a deep impatient breath as he studies couples walking by; the sweet fragrance of ripe fruit mingles with the salty spray of the waves. The night breeze is warm on his cool skin.
Time passes, doubts linger.
Will it be worth the risk? Why not leave and keep his family safe? Worshiping God in his own home is dangerous enough – to worship God in the homes of others increases the risks of discovery.
But his children need what he does not have, what he cannot give alone. They need to hear Inspired Words. They need to taste of that which is good, to see love in the embrace of fellowship! All he can offer them is a memory and solitude.
The crunch of sand beneath another’s sandals interrupts Sidonius’ convincing thoughts. He moves out just enough to sit within view. Heart pounding, he’s not sure how this will be ending. Life or death – he will wait.
Sandals stop beside him; Sidonius looks up, but says nothing. A nod of the head, a friendly greeting – Sidonius nervously returns the nod. The stranger folds his arms and looks out over the rippling water for a few moments; then looks down at his sandals as he brushes aside something in the sand. Sidonius’ attention is drawn to the curved mark left behind by the unsuspecting movement. In the luminous haze it is barely noticeable.
As a hand reaches out to him, Sidonius searches the eyes of the stranger – he hesitates…… If I wait too long, will the stranger leave; will he be offended? Is he not also taking a risk? Or is he waiting…… with a deadly motive?
The stranger whispers one word, “Ichthys.” Sidonius understands it’s meaning – fish, yet he is still uncertain.
If he only knew what to do!
Their mutual gaze not wavering, a hand waiting for an answer and suddenly, in this fleeting moment, two spirits connect – God is here! A calm Peace guides him to a decision.
He accepts the offer of help and gets to his feet while brushing sand off his clothing. Once again greetings are exchanged.
As cursory subjects are discussed, Sidonius looks down at his sandals and brushes aside something in the sand to complete the other half of the symbol. The sign of the fish – Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior! *
The stranger smiles as he steps on the sign of faith and gestures to begin their walk along the beach – soon they are quietly talking and rejoicing as brothers. Soon he will know where his family can join the others who believe!
Sidonius’ heart flows with the richness of fellowship as he experiences the blending of souls in truth and worship! He marvels at the thrill in his spirit when hearing the Words of God spoken!
Children are the future – they must hear – they must taste – they must see…… The Way
His children will now know the Truth. They will grow in Truth and teach their children…… The Way of the Truth.
Yes! Praise to our Merciful God! It is worth the risk!
* The sign of the fish was the first secret symbol of the early Christians. Later, an acrostic became synonymous with the symbol because it was written inside the fish to convey their faith. It contained the initial letters of five Greek words – (these five letters represent the Greek word for fish – “Ichthys”)
I – Iesous – Jesus
X – Christos – Christ
O – Theou – God’s
Y – Yios – Son
E – Soter – Savior
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