Love (III)

by George Herbert

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.

Begone, Unbelief

Begone unbelief, my Savior is near,
And for my relief will surely appear:
By prayer let me wrestle, and He wilt perform,
With Christ in the vessel, I smile at the storm.
 
Though dark be my way, since He is my Guide,
’Tis mine to obey, ’tis His to provide;
Though cisterns be broken, and creatures all fail,
The Word He has spoken shall surely prevail.
 
His love in time past forbids me to think
He’ll leave me at last in trouble to sink;
Each sweet Ebenezer I have in review,
Confirms His good pleasure to help me quite through.
 
Determined to save, He watched o’er my path,
When Satan’s blind slave, I sported with death;
And can He have taught me to trust in His Name,
And thus far have brought me, to put me to shame?
 
Why should I complain of want or distress,
Temptation or pain? He told me no less:
The heirs of salvation, I know from His Word,
Through much tribulation must follow their Lord.
 
How bitter that cup, no heart can conceive,
Which He drank quite up, that sinners might live!
His way was much rougher, and darker than mine;
Did Jesus thus suffer, and shall I repine?
 
Since all that I meet shall work for my good,
The bitter is sweet, the medicine is food;
Though painful at present, wilt cease before long,
And then, O! how pleasant, the conqueror’s song!

 

–John New­ton, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­iv­er, 1779), num­ber 37.

Confessing of our Home Life

One of the blessings of having a liturgy at church is the inclusion of confession in every service. The prayers of confession, right after a reading of a passage in Scripture, bring light to sins which I have not otherwise thought of. As a stay-at-home mom, here is one prayer that has gripped me to the core:

Forgive us, O Lord, for everything that spoils our home life:
for the moodiness and irritability that make us difficult to live with,
for the insensitivity that makes us careless of the feelings of others,
for the selfishness that makes life harder for others.

Forgive us, O Lord, for everything that spoils our witness for you;
that we so often deny with our lives
what we say with our lips;
for the difference between our creed and our conduct,
our profession and our practice;
for any example that makes it easier for people to criticize your church
or for another to sin.

When we think of ourselves and of the meanness
and ugliness and weakness of our lives,
we thank you for Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Grant unto us a true penitence for our sins.
Grant that at the foot of the cross we may find our burdens rolled away.
And so strengthen us by your Spirit that in the days to come
we may live more nearly as we ought.
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.