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A Helpful Companion

Posted on March 19, 2017

In years past, I have found poetry a helpful companion during Lent. “Poetry asks to be savored,” says Malcolm Guite, “it requires us to slow down, it carries echoes, hints at music, summons energies that we will miss if we are simply scanning.” This is exactly the kind of reading that my restless soul desperately needs. I invite you to reflect on Prayer (I) by George Herbert, 17th century poet and Anglican priest. His vivid images describe prayer with a clarity not found in most spiritual writings:

Prayer the church’s banquet, angel’s age,
God’s breath in man returning to his birth,
The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav’n and earth
Engine against th’ Almighty, sinner’s tow’r,
Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
The six-days world transposing in an hour,
A kind of tune, which all things hear and fear;
Softness, and peace, and joy, and love, and bliss,
Exalted manna, gladness of the best,
Heaven in ordinary, man well drest,
The milky way, the bird of Paradise,
Church-bells beyond the stars heard, the soul’s blood,
The land of spices; something understood.

The Rev. Bryan Biba
Curate for Adult Discipleship

 


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