George Herbert in Lent

Here is an article on why the poetry of 17th-century Anglican pastor George Herbert makes excellent reading for Lent because of his sensitive and insightful treatment of themes of humility, repentance, and lament:

George Herbert in Lent by Timothy George

Hebert’s poem “Love” evokes the entire journey of Lent from humble confession to the joy of hope and welcome by the divine Beloved who has overcome all the barriers of sin.

Love (III)

by George Herbert

Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lacked anything.
“A guest,” I answered, “worthy to be here”:
Love said, “You shall be he.”
“I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on thee.”
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
“Who made the eyes but I?”
“Truth, Lord; but I have marred them; let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.”
“And know you not,” says Love, “who bore the blame?”
“My dear, then I will serve.” “You must sit down,” says Love, “and taste my meat.”
So I did sit and eat.


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Christian life is fasting in order to feast

We can only feast in faithfulness and joy if we are trained by fasting of all kinds.  More generally, we can only appreciate and use God’s gifts rightly if we do so by waiting for the right time and submitting to his methods of training.  Read here to find out how Lenten disciplines of fasting can help train us in this fasting-in-order-to-feast dynamic of the whole Christian life.

Who Is the One We Love the Most?

This text by Lutheran hymn writer Jaroslav Vajda is a marvelous exposition of Martin Luther’s description of the meaning of the First Commandment in his Small Catechism:
“‘You shall have no other gods.’  What does this mean?
Answer:  We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.”

Who Is the One We Love the Most

Who is the one we love the most,
the one who has our total trust?
Something or someone is our God,
whose will is willingly obeyed,
to whom we give the years we live.
Let that be you, our God, our Lord!

Count every heartbeat, every breath,
trace every step from birth to death,
track every second to its source,
each drop of blood, each blade of grass,
the rising sun, and every one.
Let that be you, our God, our Lord!

Preserve us from all other gods,
all damned, deceitful, loveless frauds.
Compare them ruthlessly to you,
the only One, eternal true
Creator of all life and love.
You are that One, our God, our Lord!

A love no other god has shown,
your Son upon a cross makes known.
How shall we worship such a God
with more than words and passing nod,
if not with whole heart, mind, and soul,
like yours for us, our God, our Lord?!

You can find a choral setting by Carl Schalk here, which the Chancel Choir of Central Presbyterian Church in St. Louis will sing on March 15, 2015.