Sunday, March 28, 2010

Holy Week Poetry

God is a poet - his words and phrases and rhymes are living men and the history of nations. Poetry is therefore the highest human art - an imitation of God. The best preaching is, as Fr. Petersen has said, on the edge of poetry.

(As an aside: This is why I secretly like many hymns of Anglican origin better than our great Lutheran heritage of Luther, Niccolai, Gerhardt, etc. The thing is, I'm a native English speaker and I love the poetry, the images and turns of phrase. The best translations of Gerhardt just don't ring in English as something composed in English by a capable poet. This is yet another reason to learn German - and why I keep trying to improve my own feeble understanding of that tongue.)

For this Holy Week, Gottesdienst Online will post a poem or two each day to aid our readers with sermon preparation, meditation, devotion, etc. Please leave your own Holy Week poetry suggestions in the comments.

For this Passion Sunday, here is a stanza from John Donne's La Corona:


By miracles exceeding power of man,
He faith in some, envy in some begat,
For, what weak spirits admire, ambitious hate :
In both affections many to Him ran.
But O ! the worst are most, they will and can,
Alas ! and do, unto th' Immaculate,
Whose creature Fate is, now prescribe a fate,
Measuring self-life's infinity to span,
Nay to an inch. Lo ! where condemned He
Bears His own cross, with pain, yet by and by
When it bears him, He must bear more and die.
Now Thou art lifted up, draw me to Thee,
And at Thy death giving such liberal dole,
Moist with one drop of Thy blood my dry soul.



  1. like most good Lutheran hymns, La Corona is best taken as a whole...

  2. Sean,

    I concur - hence the link which I hope most will click upon. This is just a taste. . .


  3. Excellent! I am looking forward to the series.


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