Some would say that only ‘boring’ Christians seek to hear from God through His written Word, the Bible. Then there are those who look for warm-fuzzy feelings, ‘still, small voices,’ or the face of Jesus in their grilled cheese sandwich. Melbourne, Florida woman Patti Burke, however, claims that her ‘sign from God’ was found in a bag of cheddar cheese flavored Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers.
Patti Burke eats two or three pounds of Goldfish crackers in a week, one by one, looking for the saltiest of the snacks. But only once has she found a sign from God on a little orange cracker.
“When I picked this one up, I knew he was special,” the Melbourne woman said of her Holy Week discovery. “He had a cross on him, and he had a crown circle up by his head. Something I’ve never seen before out of all the Goldfish I’ve eaten.”
Burke wonders if “the Lord chose her” because she consumes each goldfish cracker individually, and thus would not eat the snack cracker before “it could be made known.”
According to the report, Burke “couldn’t believe” that, on Easter Sunday, her pastor spoke about the meaning of the fish symbol in Christianity. Though the pastor of Presbyterian Church of the Good Shepherd said that it is unknown why the fish became a symbol in Christianity, Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry offers the following information about the ‘icthus’:
The word “ixoye” is an acronym comprised of the first letter of five Greek words: Iesous Xristos Theou Yios Sotare which means Jesus, Christ, Son of, God, Savior.
- Iesous (Iasoos) is Jesus. The first letter is ‘iota’, Ιησους.
- Xristos (Christos) is Christ. The first letter is ‘chi’, Χριστóς.
- Theou (Theou) is God. The first letter is ‘theta’, Θεοῦ.
- Yios (Huios) is Son. The first letter is ‘upsilon’, Υἱός.
- Sotare (Sotare) is Savior. The first letter is sigma’, Σωτήρ.
The word is also the Greek word for “fish,” icthus, ἰχθύς which when spelled in capital letters in Greek is ΙΧΘΥΣ. Remember, Jesus called the fishermen to be fishers of men (Matthew 4:19; Mark 1:17). Jesus used the metaphor to represent evangelism in the proclamation of the gospel by which people are saved from their sins. Christians began using the fish as a symbol for Christianity in the first century.
Clutching her starchy, divine find, however, Burke is indifferent as to the roots of the fish symbol in the Christian faith. She is certain that this salty snack is a clear message from the God Who created the universe:
“I believe that it’s a sign, a sign from God, that … he is still in our life every day and he wants to show that to his people,” Burke said of the baked cheddar cracker. “And it’s something that happened right here at Easter. (Source)
Burke’s pastor appears to agree with her to some extent, stating:
I think it’s a sign. I think it points to, I would hesitate to call it a miracle, but I think it points to the miracle, which is Jesus Christ defeated death. And that’s what Easter is all about. (Source)
Perhaps even more bizarre is that Pepperidge Farm, manufacturer of these cheesy snacks, has added fuel to Burke’s claims:
I called Pepperidge Farm and said, ‘Hey, do you have some special promotion going on, I think I’ve got the lucky fish,’” she said. “They called me back and said there’s no way this could have been printed like that in the factory. … They said it sounds like something miraculous happened and we don’t know how it happened. (Source)
Does God speak by imprinting food with religious symbols or pictures of what some people believe is Jesus? One would think that, if God were going to send signs in this manner, He would choose to use more healthy means, perhaps sending His messages via broccoli, bean sprouts or eggplant.
Further, why would God opt to send such a message to one person and not to another? Why was Patti Burke ‘blessed’ to have received this so-called sign, especially since she appears to be engaging in rather unhealthy eating habits by consuming two to three pounds of these salty snacks each week? Why Ms. Burke and not her neighbor? Why Burke and not her pastor? Perhaps such a find would have helped him to better illustrate his Easter sermon.
This, then, is precisely why Christians can know that they do not need to search for hidden signs and messages from the Lord. God does not hide His grace in a bag of Goldfish crackers. Rather, the truth and means of salvation, and all that must be known for one to live a life of holiness, are clearly defined and proclaimed in His infallible, inerrant and holy Word. He has spoken, finally and fully, through this Word and through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. (Heb. 1:1–2)
One would fare far better by feasting upon this Word than upon a handful of crunchy, cheddar, goldfish snacks, no matter how delicious they may taste.