First Thursday in Advent

 "Fishers of Men" by Rex DeLoney, Little Rock, Arkansas
“Fishers of Men” by Rex DeLoney, Little Rock, Arkansas

“This Advent, our Advent, is a time of creation. God’s spirit abides in us—brooding over our waters—shaping and forming us, being formed and shaped by us. God alone knows what we shall become. God has visited us with grace and favor. Are we ready to become Light?”Caryll Houselander, woodcarver and mystic

“As Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers … And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.’ Immediately, they left their nets and followed him”.—Matthew 4: 18-20

There is a church near my house called “Fisherman of Men Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Inc.” The insistently masculine language always makes me laugh. It’s as if the church-namers knew that the narrow image of a patriarchal God was on its way out and so over- compensate. Or to paraphrase Shakespeare, “Me thinks they doth protest too much.”

Paradoxically, I find this invitation from Jesus to Peter and Andrew, then James and John, to be distinctly subversive of patriarchy. Jesus woos them like a lover. He seduces them into leaving their fathers’ houses, like young women leaving home to join the home of their husband’s family.

These men respond to Jesus as if they are in love. There is no cognitive decision making. They fall in love. They drop their nets—representing their known world. They follow, like a lover after her beloved. They have eyes only for him.

When were you last in love?

Breathe in. Breathe out. It’s Ad……vent.

With gratitude to Pax Christi USA where some of these reflections first appeared in print..

4 thoughts on “First Thursday in Advent”

  1. Rex Deloney is the current Chairman of the Fine Arts Department at Little Rock Central Highschool in Little Rock, Ark. He has taught for 19 years. He teaches Intro. to Art, Painting, AP 2-D Design, and has been teaching for five years at Central. He enjoys listening to music, especially Jazz. Watercolor and acrylic are his favorite mediums. He professionally sells his artwork through his website ( Soulful Expressions. E-mail: or Phone: 501-447-1634.

  2. Is there a place to purchase the art work “Fishers of men”? I love it. Your writing was also quiet inspiring.

  3. Who wrote this? This is deeply moving. The Houselander combined with the Scripture passage and followed with such a quick kiss to the soul. Powerful. Or, at least, it hit me at the right moment. I have been seduced by this Lover the fundamentalists of my youth could only ignore.

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