George Herbert-Lectionary Poem for the Second Sunday After Pentecost

Throughout this church year, The Englewood Review of Books has been curating a weekly series of classic and contemporary poems that resonate with the themes of the lectionary readings. Here is one of the poems for this coming Sunday (Second Sunday after Pentecost – More poems for this Sunday can be found here)

 

Grace
George Herbert

 (to accompany the lectionary reading: Romans 5:1-8)

MY stock lies dead, and no increase
Doth my dull husbandrie improve:
O let thy graces without cease
               Drop from above!

If still the sunne should hide his face,
Thy house would but a dungeon prove,
Thy works nights captives: O let grace
               Drop from above!

The dew doth ev’ry morning fall;
And shall the dew out-strip thy Dove?
The dew, for which grasse cannot call,
               Drop from above.

Death is still working like a mole,
And digs my grave at each remove:
Let grace work too, and on my soul
               Drop from above.

Sinne is still hammering my heart
Unto a hardnesse, void of love:
Let suppling grace, to crosse his art,
               Drop from above.

O come! for thou dost know the way:
Or if to me thou wilt not move,
Remove me, where I need not say,
               Drop from above.

*** This poem is in the public domain,
  and may be read in a live-streamed worship service.

George Herbert (3 April 1593 – 1 March 1633) was a Welsh-born poet, orator, and priest of the Church of England. His poetry is associated with the writings of the metaphysical poets, and he is recognised as “one of the foremost British devotional lyricists.” He was born into an artistic and wealthy family and largely raised in England. He gave up his secular ambitions in his mid-thirties and took holy orders in the Church of England, spending the rest of his life as the rector of the little parish of St Andrew’s Church, Lower Bemerton, Salisbury. He was noted for unfailing care for his parishioners, bringing the sacraments to them when they were ill and providing food and clothing for those in need. He was never a healthy man and died of consumption at age 39.  (bio via Wikipedia)

Suggested links

If you have suggestions for articles, poems or songs that have been important to you during this time of pandemic, you can enter them here: Google form.  While we do try to be aware of any misinformation that is being shared, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the form if you feel any of our links might be inappropriate. We have not read or viewed everything suggested. 

Here are some of the links suggested by EP Endorsers and friends, in no particular order. 

Written: Entering the Joy of the Resurrection in a Time of Pandemic, In the days of the coronavirus, Prayers for Community in a Time of Pandemic, Thinking about Good Friday during a pandemic, How to handle epidemics as a Christian, The Reality of Covid-19 is Hitting Teens Especially Hard, Why live streaming is not the full answer for churches during COVID-19, Politics of a Plague, Cellphone data shows coronavirus kept churchgoers at home in every state on Easter, In Everything (including coronavirus) Turn Towards JesusChurches Should Think Twice Before Webcasting Their Worship Services, Improvising in a PandemicLeaving EarlyThe coronavirus pandemic feels like an unending Holy Saturday, Christianity Offers No Answers About the Coronavirus. It’s Not Supposed ToGeorge Steiner on Holy SaturdayThe Shift Americans Must Make to Fight the CoronavirusAllowing Worship to Continue to be a Sacred Space in the Zoom WorldSacraments, Technology, and Streaming Worship in a PandemicBauerschmidt, Homily Worship in a Violent WorldBeing Present to God and Each Other During Zoom Group GatheringsWe Are All Monks Now

Podcasts: Analog Church with Jay Kim, On Being, A Poem in Gratitude for Health Care Workers, On Being, Wendell Berry and Ellen Davis.

Videos : The House We Sheltered In, Journey Into SilenceThe Pittsburgh BlessingChristian Ethics Amid Covid-19

Other: Pray as you Go App

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost

Haggai 1:15b-2:9 OR Job 19:23-27a
2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17
Luke 20:27-38

Mrs. Obrien: I just want to die, to be with him.
Preacher: He’s in God’s hands now.
Mrs. Obrien: He was in God’s hands the whole time. Wasn’t he?

From Tree of Life by Terrence Malick

As the liturgical year draws to its close, the lectionary readings make an eschatological turn, looking ahead to our own end and of things as we know them. It’s a shift in tone that flows seamlessly into Advent, where the church learns once again how to live as Jews, suspended between a ruin and a hope. Signs of ruin are everywhere: a planet we’re quickly making uninhabitable, collapsing world order, a country too divided by corrosive political rhetoric to reckon with pressing fundamentals, churches reeling from self-inflicted humiliations. Amid the rubble of a world plundered and a church betrayed from within, hope can grow hollow and brittle, like dry stems in autumn. What’s to become of our planet, our country, our church, ourselves?

In the fall, the season sharing its name with humanity’s turning away from God, such thoughts may arise simply from observing the natural world’s dying back in anticipation of winter. Sometimes we require some rather more direct reminder. During the now abandoned coronation ceremony for newly elected popes, the master of ceremonies would stop the procession three times to set alight a strip of flax. As the fabric burned into smoke and nothingness, he would address the new pope in a loud voice, saying, “Sic transit Gloria mundi,” (“Thus passes the glory of the world”), reminding him of his mortality and the evanescence of earthly power. Read more

The Sought, the Found, the Welcomed Home

Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost
1 Timothy 1:12-17
Luke 15:1-10

I suppose this is somewhat atypical, unless you too were a farm kid, but I have such distinct memories from my childhood of lost livestock and going out to find them.

Our small farm was surrounded by large fields, and my dad as a hobby farmer often used what he had on hand for fencing, or patched together parts of things he picked up at auctions. We were always tying together wood pallets with baling twine left from open bales of hay, or twisting wire or plastic zip-ties around hog panels for makeshift fencing. Most of the time these solutions worked, until they didn’t.

And so I have memories of walking fast with determination and strategy through waist-high corn in my muck boots, keeping my eyes on where the tassels were rustling as I followed pigs or sheep down the crop rows to herd them back to the barn, trying to get in front of them and turn them back toward home. Read more

Economy of Grace

The “bookends” of this week’s lectionary readings, from Exodus and Matthew, reintroduce us to the economy of grace characteristic of God’s now-but-not-yet reign of shalom. These texts also poke at our raw spots by challenging us to recognize ourselves in them, confronting some of our deepest anxieties, and exposing our bent toward greed, envy, and pride. In reading them, and allowing them to “read us,” we are reminded of the vastness of the expanse separating God’s kingdom from the kingdoms of this world; yet we are also given hope, that God remains at work, healing Creation and transforming us, its broken members. Read more