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Today, we present an aria from one of Bach’s cantatas for Trinity 5: “Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussenden” (Behold I will send out many fishers, BWV 88).
Schweitzer captures the setting of this aria: “”In the 1st mvt Bach sees before him the Lake of Gennesareth, on the banks of which Jesus, in fulfillment of a certain passage in the Old Testament (Jeremiah 16:16) calls His disciples to be fishers of men.”
In painting this vision musically, Bach first speaks of God’s searching love with rolling rhythms reminiscent of fishermen out on a lake. Then, in the second part of this tone poem, Bach portrays hunters, galloping through the forest to the accompaniment of hunting horns.
This vivid piece reminds us of the God who sent Jesus to “seek and save that which is lost,” and of the joyous calling we share as his followers: to bear Spirit-empowered witness of his Lordship, love, and salvation to the ends of the earth.
Behold, I will send out many fishers, says the Lord,
which shall fish for them.
And afterwards I will send out many hunters,
who shall pursue them upon all the mountains
and all the hills and in all the rocky crevices.
• Text from Jeremiah 16:16