Sunday, September 27, 2009


From Blog09

Day by day
And night by night
You bring them near to us...
Unsuspecting, unaware,
Drawn to light but fleeing Light.

You've given us our fishing gear:
The boat of your church,
The oars of your love,
The bait of our testimony,
The net of your word,
And we must fish.

Other fishermen catch live fish
And leave them dead,
But we catch dead men
And leave them alive.

What grace, what love toward us,
To make us your fishers of men!

"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."

--Jesus, in Matthew 4:19

Poem ©2009 James L. Swindle.
You may print up to 100 copies if you follow three rules:
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Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

What a wonderful poem! The second to last stanza, "Other fisherman catch live fish…" reminded me of something I wrote about in a blog post almost exactly 2 years ago:

"Zogréo, "to catch alive" as in the sense of catching an animal for the zoo, as Fr. Jerry put it. What caught my attention was this irony—that when the disciples caught fish, they took an animal which was alive (in the water) and killed it (took it out of the water) so they could eat it. That's what a fisherman does. No judgment intended. We have to eat to live, and God has given us everything. But what the Lord said in making His disciples "fishers of men" gave them the job of "taking alive" the men whom He would be sending them. As fishers of men, we take an animal which was spiritually dead (out of the water) and in catching it make it alive (in the water and Spirit) so it can feed on God. This is another example of the Great Reversal (as C. S. Lewis calls it), the rolling backwards of death itself, the resurrection unto Life eternal."

My blog post, Catch Them Alive was actually a recounting of the sermon our former pastor Fr Gerasimos (Jerry) Markopoulos preached on the text of Luke 5:10-11, in which he explained the original Greek text. Perhaps you already know this, which is why you incorporated the idea in your poem, "…we catch dead men and leave them alive."

In case you'd like to read this post, here's the link:

This is a good example of how knowing Greek can add some important insights that an English translation may miss completely.

Jim Swindle said...

Thank you, brother Romanós. I knew that the idea that we catch dead men and make them alive was not original with me; was not sure where I'd picked it up. The answer is, probably from your blog.

My Greek, of course, is not as strong as yours. I'd never noticed that the word for catching fish in Luke 5:10 is different from the word for catching men in Luke 5:11, but I see it now. I've never read all the way through the New Testament in Greek.