Friday, February 27, 2009

George Herbert

Today is the feast day of George Herbert, priest and poet. Oh, how I love him. Two of his poems are two of my very favorite hymns: The Call, and "King of Glory, King of Peace," which is the poem Praise (II).

But for today I particularly love the story that's in Lesser Feasts and Fasts' little bio, as follows:
He used to go once a week to Salisbury to hear Evening Prayer sung there in the cathedral. On one occasion he was late because he had met a man whose horse had fallen with a heavy load, and he stopped, took off his coat, and helped the man to unload the cart, get the horse back on its feet, and then reload the cart. His spontaneous generosity and good will won him the affection of his parishioners.
What I love about this is that it's such a small thing, and yet made such an impression and was so clearly remembered. It seems obvious, to help someone who's right in the middle of the road, but I can just imagine myself saying, "Oh, I'm late!" and hurrying by. It seems to me that George Herbert got the basic point of Jesus' message. The hymns are just a bonus.

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