Posted in theology

Nautical Reminiscences

By Elizabeth Prata

Shepherds abound in the Bible. The first shepherd was Abel. Moses, Rachel, David, so many, all shepherds. The Good News was first given to the Shepherds keeping flocks by night. But in Bible times, the shepherd had intricate tasks we dont’ understand today. We understand the rudiments of the job of shepherd, that’s easy. But less so, do we then understand the import of the Spirit’s inspiring the words for us to understand the shephardic allusions. Our pastor taught some on this subject of shepherds, and the lesson gave us a rich depth of understanding and a new perspective on the words in the Bible related to the profession.

I was never a shepherd but I was a sailor. I am grateful for those two years when my husband and I sailed on our sailboat up and down the Atlantic Ocean. Setting our anchor and then depending on it as we slept through the night, enduring storms, drifting in the current, looking for the tiny beam from the lighthouse as we approached land at night, using the compass to stay on course and not go to the left or the right even by an inch, scanning for underwater hazards…all still fresh in my memory.

Anyway, here is an old hymn a friend suggested, and I like it. The nautical themes are rich and memorable for me. I hope you enjoy the song, and find time to explore some of the word-pictures and metaphors the Bible uses in various ways, to deepen your own understanding of His word.

Brightly beams our Father’s mercy,
From His lighthouse evermore,
But to us He gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.

Let the lower lights be burning!
Send a gleam across the wave!
Some poor struggling, fainting seaman
You may rescue, you may save.

Dark the night of sin has settled,
Loud the angry billows roar;
Eager eyes are watching, longing,
For the lights along the shore.

Trim your feeble lamp, my brother;
Some poor sailor, tempest-tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor,
In the darkness may be lost.


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.