And in this love, more than in bed, I rest.

And in this love, more than in bed, I rest.

Blest be the God of love,
Who gave me eyes, and light, and power this day,
Both to be busy, and to play.
But much more blest be God above,
Who gave me sight alone,
Which to himself he did deny:
For when he sees my ways, I die:
But I have got his son, and he hath none.

What have I brought thee home
For this thy love? have I discharg’d the debt,
Which this day’s favour did beget?
I ran; but all I brought, was foam.
Thy diet, care and cost
Do end in bubbles, balls of wind;
Of wind to thee whom I have crost,
But balls of wild-fire to my troubled mind.

Yet still thou goest on,
And now with darkness closest weary eyes,
Saying to man, ‘It doth suffice:
Henceforth repose; your work is done.’
Thus in thy Ebony box
Thou dost enclose us, till the day
Put our amendment in our way,
And give new wheels to our disorder’d clocks.

I muse, which shows more love,
The day or night: that is the gale, this th’ harbour;
That is the walk, and this the arbour;
Or that is the garden, this the grove.
My God, thou art all love.
Not one poor minute scapes thy breast,
But brings a favour from above;
And in this love, more than in bed, I rest.

 

George Herbert, The Complete English Works

Herbert: Ungratefulness

Herbert: Ungratefulness

Lord, with what bounty and rare clemency
Hast thou redeem’d us from the grave!
If thou hadst let us run,
Gladly had man adored the sun,
And thought his god most brave;
Where now we shall be better gods than he.

Thou hast but two rare cabinets full of treasure,
The Trinity , and Incarnation :
Thou hast unlocked them both,
And made them jewels to betroth
The work of thy creation
Unto thyself in everlasting pleasure.

The statelier cabinet is the Trinity ,
Whose sparkling light access denies:
Therefore thou dost not show
This fully to us, till death blow
The dust into our eyes:
For by that powder thou wilt make us see.

But all thy sweets are packed up in the other;
Thy mercies thither flock and flow:
That as the first affrights,
This may allure us with delights;
Because this box we know;
For we have all of us just such another.

But man is close, reserv’d, and dark to thee:
When thou demandest but a heart,
He cavils instantly.
In his poor cabinet of bone
Sins have their box apart,
Defrauding thee, who gavest two for one.

George Herbert

4 quotes from Richard Baxter: Conversing with God in Solitude

4 quotes from Richard Baxter: Conversing with God in Solitude

I’ve been writing quotes down over the summer and am beginning to type them up, they will find their way here over the fall. This is from Richard Baxter’s work, Converse with God in Solitude. Published in the 17th century, this is quickly one of the dearest books on my shelf regarding how I think of God in prayer.

Here are four quotes to prime you: 

For if God be with me, the maker, ruler and disposer of all things is with me; he is with me, to whom i am absolutely devoted; who loves me best; whose love is more to me than the love of all my friends in the world; with whom my greatest business lies; with whom I may converse without reserve or interruption; and with whom I must live forever…
…And as my greatest, so my daily business is also with God. He purposely leaves me under daily want and necessities, and the daily assault of enemies, and the surprise of afflictions, that I may be daily driven to Him. He loves to hear from me, He would have me be no stranger to him…
…If God not be enough to employ my soul, then all the persons and things on earth are not enough. And when I have infinite goodness to delight in, where my soul may freely let out itself, without fear of exceeding love, how sweet should this employment be!
…I am often unready to pray, but my God is always ready to hear. I am unready to come to him, walk with him, and delight myself in him, but he is never unready to entertain me. Many a time my conscience would have driven me away, but God has invited me to him, and rebuked my accusing and trembling conscience. Many a time I have called myself a prodigal, “a miserable sinner,” when he has called me “his son,” and reproved me for questioning his love. He has readily forgiven the sins, which I thought would have made my soul the fuel of hell. He has entertained me with joy, with music and a feast, when I rather deserved to be cast out of doors….O how many mercies have I tasted since I thought I had sinned away all mercies! How patiently he has borne with me, since I thought he would have never put up with me more! And yet, except my sins, and the withdrawing of my heart, there has been nothing to interrupt our converse.  I upbraid myself with my sins, but he upbraids me not. I condemn myself for them, but he will not condemn me. He forgives me sooner than I forgive myself. I have peace with him, before I can have peace in my own conscience.
Herbert: The World

Herbert: The World

Love built a stately house, where Fortune came,
And spinning fancies, she was heard to say
That her fine cobwebs did support the frame,
Whereas they were supported by the same;
But Wisdom quickly swept them all away.

The Pleasure came, who, liking not the fashion,
Began to make Balconies, Terraces,
Till she had weakened all by alteration;
But rev’rend laws, and many a proclamation
Reforméd all at length with menaces.

Then enter’d Sin, and with that Sycomore
Whose leaves first sheltered man from drought and dew,
Working and winding slily evermore,
The inward walls and Sommers cleft and tore;
But Grace shor’d these, and cut that as it grew.

Then Sin combin’d with death in a firm band,
To raze the building to the very floor;
Which they effected,–none could them withstand;
But Love and Grace took Glory by the hand,
And built a braver Palace than before.

 

George Herbert, The World

Peterson & the Pastoral Itch

Peterson & the Pastoral Itch

This quote is a big winner each time it’s posted, it hits hard and in the ribs. This week I came across the full context of the quote in Peterson’s work, Under the Predictable Plant: An Exploration in Vocational Holiness. It’s among the last of sabbatical reads that I am finishing up, and I thought the page this oft-shared snippet comes from would be worth posting. It’s in the middle of a section regarding the importance of place and locality to ministry – that pastoring is irrevocably intertwined with the soil your church lives in.

 

…the more local life is, the more intense, more colorful, more rich it is, because it has limits. There are boundaries to the local. Nineveh is three days’ journey across. These limits, instead of being interpreted as limitations to be broken through, are treasured as boundaries to be respected. No farmer looks on his or her fences as restrictions to be broken down or broken through as a sign of progress. The fense is a border, defining the place. When I know what is mine, I know also what is not mine, and can live as a neighbor.

This has immense applications for pastoral work. For one thing, it locates our work in what we can actually do, among the people for whom we have primary responsibility. For several decades now, under the influence of the myth of progress and in ignorance of the craft, the term pastor has been a gunnysack into which all sorts of tinker’s damns have been thrown. We run all over town, from committee to committee, conference to conference, organization to organization, doing all manner of good work, scattering seed in everybody’s field but our own. Very often our reason for doing this is that it seems more important than the humble task we have in our own parish; it seems more urgent, and it certainly gets more publicity. But if we can discipline ourselves to our parish, our congregation, we will find something far better. Teilhard de Chardin was not a pastor but a scientist. He gave, though, accurate witness to pastoral experience when he wrote, “I discovered that there could be a deep satisfaction in working in obscurity—like leaven, or a microbe. In some way, it seems to me you become more intimately part of the world.” The pastoral itch to be “where the action is” should be resisted.

 

 

George Herbert: a 400 year old poem, a timeless invitation.

George Herbert: a 400 year old poem, a timeless invitation.

This summer I’ve been reading the work of George Herbert, and it has been deeply encouraging. I’ll be posting some of his work on a weekly basis for a while. A friend points to the practice of reading poetry as a means to force yourself to slow down and fall in step with the author. Herbert’s work has done this for me in spades. Enjoy!

 

Love (3)

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 any thing.

A guest, I answer’d, worthy to be ere:
Love said, you shall be he.
I the unkind, the ungrateful? Ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee.
Love too 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.

 

 

George Herbert (1593-1633)

s a b b a t i c a l .

s a b b a t i c a l .

things will be slow here for a while, not that they have been fast to begin with.

my family is entering into a season of sabbatical over the summer – something I am grateful that our church provides for the pastors.

i’ve got more than enough books to read and am trying to set my page-turn expectations low, but the nap quotient high.

as I close things out tonight and tomorrow I’m thinking on these two statements from dallas willard:

You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life. 

and

The most important thing in your life is not what you do; it’s who you become. That’s what you will take into eternity.

 

Hoping this time brings depth in life through slowness of heart, and affects not only who I’m becoming, but my family.

if you think of it, we’d love your prayers for our time together.

MK

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