There is a fascinating nature documentary on Netflix called “Island of the Sea Wolves.” The title is misleading, though, since this program focuses on a wide array of wildlife found in and around Vancouver Island, Canada. In one episode, the narrator speaks about the salmon who return each year to the place of their birth in order to spawn and give rise to the next generation. Scores of animals celebrate their arrival by feasting on the adult fish who are “running,” as well as the millions of eggs which are deposited there annually.
After leaving the ocean to swim upstream in fresh water, most of the salmon are too exhausted to return to the Pacific. The majority simply stop eating and die. As a result, the gift of life from one generation to the next becomes the ultimate sacrifice.
Many of you know that I am working toward the completion of the Doctor of Ministry degree. The title of my Final Project is “Blessed to Be a Blessing: Self-Giving as a Christian Discipleship Practice.” In it, I discuss Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice on the cross while noting that, for most of us, our discipleship has more to do with self-giving than literal sacrifice. We give thanks daily for Jesus as the exemplar of our faithfulness and, in the light of his witness, we seek opportunities to lay down our lives for others. As one famous hymn reminds us, “They will know we are Christians by our love.”
Peace and best wishes,