POEM: The Windows

 

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From the Summer 2019 issue of Knowing & Doing:

The Windows

by George Herbert
Poet (1593 – 1633)

 
 

Lord, how can man preach thy eternal word?
      He is a brittle, crazy glass
Yet in thy temple thou dost him afford
      This glorious and transcendent place,
      To be a window, through thy grace.

But when thou dost anneal in glass thy story,
      Making thy life to shine within
The holy Preacher’s, then the light and glory
      More rev’rend grows, and more doth win;
      Which else shows waterish, bleak, and thin.

Doctrine and life, colours and light, in one
      When they combine and mingle, bring
A strong regard and awe; but speech alone
      Doth vanish like a flaring thing,
      And in the ear, not conscience, ring.

Davie Donald, The New Oxford Book of Christian Verse (Oxford University Press, 1981), p. 76-77.

George Herbert (1593 – 1633) was known for his humility and self-scrutiny. His poems and lyrics point to the amazing juxtaposition of contrition and gospel-boldness. Born in Wales, raised in England, and educated at Cambridge, he then served as a priest in the Church of England. Although never a healthy man, he tirelessly served the people in his small congregation, being remembered as one who traveled to parishioners’ homes to pray for them and also to bring food and clothing to anyone who needed them. Tragically, he died at only age 39.

 


COPYRIGHT NOTICE:  Knowing & Doing is published by C.S. Lewis Institute; 8001 Braddock Road, Suite 301; Springfield, VA 22151. Portions of the publication may be reproduced for noncommercial, local church or ministry use without prior permission. Electronic copies of the PDF files may be duplicated and transmitted via e-mail for personal and church use. Articles may not be modified without prior written permission of the Institute. For questions, contact the Institute: 703.914.5602 or email us.

 

 
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