Readings for George Herbert: Priest and Poet (27 February 1633)
“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve” (1 Peter 5:2)
This message is from Peter to the Elders of the new Christian community. But the whole of our Christian community constitutes the priesthood of all believers. Therefore all Christians lay and ordained have the responsibility to care for the flock of the world, no matter what those sheep look like or think. Today we remember George Herbert, Priest and Poet (27 February 1633)
“George Herbert read Morning and Evening Prayer daily in the church, encouraging the congregation to join him when possible, and ringing the church bell before each service so that those who could not come might hear it and pause in their work to join their prayers with his.” (by James Kiefer)
For three years I read Morning Prayer at 6 am every morning. Let me say that again; I read Morning Prayer every day, for three years seven days a week. I would often have one regular visitor, and some occasional visitors. That effort came from studying people like Thomas Bray and George Herbert.
After a clergy conference and some spiritual direction with a cluster of priest, I was informed that traveling the round trip 26 miles with little to no response was not what Thomas Bray, George Herbert, or God intended. Holding Morning Prayer in my home was just as significant as Morning Prayer at the church. So I stopped the morning travels and continued my practice of Morning Prayer at home. This practice lead to journaling, journaling led to facebook entries and face book postings led to this blog page.
Perhaps I should say that my spiritual direction with the priests really started it all. When I do spiritual direction today I keep this in mind as I know that my time with others can have them take off in only God knows where. We are all Christian Elders. We are all shepherds of this flock on earth. And God wants each and every one us to be willing and eager to serve. George Herbert reminds us to remind others to join us whenever possible, in church if they can, but in prayer always.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through and to God’s people and “Ponder anew what the Almighty can do.” John Thomas Frazier Sr.