Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Advent mystery with George Herbert

For those feeling weary in the journey, here are two of my favorite readings of George Herbert – favorites among many, I must say! For me, these are especially powerful at this time of year, capturing the inner mystery and meaning of advent: the God of power descended in human time, undressing all the way, so that Love could bid us welcome, that we might come just as we are to eternal table!

The God of power, as He did ride

Away despair! my gracious Lord doth heare.
Though windes and waves assault my keel,
He doth preserve it: He doth steer,
Ev’n when the boat seems most to reel.
Storms are the triumph of His art:
Well may He close His eyes, but not His heart.

Hast thou not heard, that my Lord Jesus di’d?
Then let me tell thee a strange storie.
The God of power, as He did ride
In His majestic robes of glorie,
Reserv’d to light; and so one day
He did descend, undressing all the way.

The starres His tyre of light and rings obtain’d,
The cloud His bow, the fire His spear,
The sky His azure mantle gain’d.
And when they ask’d, what He would wear;
He smil’d and said as He did go,
He had new clothes a making here below.

Love bade me welcome

Love bade me welcome, yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lack'd anything.

"A guest," I answer'd, "worthy to be here";
Love said, "You shall be he."
"I, the unkind, the 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 marr'd 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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