07 April 2020, The Tablet

How George Herbert teaches us about God and the soul

How George Herbert teaches us about God and the soul

George Herbert
Photo: PA/Zuma Press


In George Herbert’s great poem “Easter”, the risen Lord reaches out his hand in friendship, inviting each of us to share in his resurrection, to overcome our fears and to find the best in us

An agnostic friend recently sighed and told me that when it came to contemporary Christianity the choice on offer seemed to be either ignorance on fire or intelligence on ice. He was finding it difficult to find churches where he could exercise his critical faculties and keep his emotional honesty. I sympathised, only too aware of the warm shallows of the Church that many of us spend far too much time paddling about in.

So, I gave him a copy of George Herbert’s poems. Although 400 years separate us from him, the way he tries to think openly and pray with integrity is a compelling invitation to dive a bit deeper. As Richard Baxter wrote: “Heart-work and Heaven-work make up his Books.”

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