George Herbert’s Poems as Lenten Devotions

Cranach | 2/14/2018 | Staff
TimHyuga (Posted by) Level 3
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J. R. Arner, back in 1994, put together a daily devotional series for Lent that is now online called LenTree for George Herbert. It consists of a poem from George Herbert, arguably our greatest Christian lyric poet, for each day of Lent.

It starts here with the introductory poem “The Altar, ” followed by Herbert’s great poem of rebellion countered by God’s grace, “The Collar,” for Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent begins. Then comes Herbert’s poem Lent for Ash Wednesday. After that, just keep hitting “next” for the next day’s devotional poem.

Calendar - Series - Chance - LenTree - Year

Here is a calendar for the whole series. And if by chance you have already followed this LenTree in a previous year, there is also a second series, using some of Herbert’s lesser known poems, entitled Church Ways: The Face of Fire.

This is a project of a wonderful site devoted to Herbert, which also includes a Tenebrae service based on his long poem about Christ on the Cross, “The Sacrifice” (which, with other Herbert poems, is alluded to in the popular Lenten hymn “My Song Is Love Unknown“).

Commentary - Poem - Books - Print - Reformation

If you’d like some in depth commentary for each poem, may I modestly suggest one of my first books, recently back in print, Reformation Spirituality: The Religion of George Herbert.

From George Herbert’s Lent:


As may our faults control:

And among those his soul.

Herbert - Meaning - Observances - Point - Lenten

Herbert, as he does so often, shows the internal meaning of external observances. The point of Lenten fasts is not just to stop eating, but to “starve sin.” And in Herbert’s characteristic paradoxes, he says that the best kind of fasting is eating! We should take “repast”...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Cranach
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