By Pastor Jeff Jacobs
Unity Lutheran Parish –
St. Paul, Saetersdal and
St. Matthew, Granger
As we come to Holy Week, I share a poem by one of England’s great poets, John Donne, which is commemorated in Lutheran and Anglican churches on March 31, the day he died in 1631.
Born in London on January 22, 1572, Donne grew up a Roman Catholic, but converted to the Church of England. He had a varied career as a courtier, scholar, soldier, parliamentarian and bon vivant, but was eventually ordained a deacon, then a priest in 1615, then became dean of St Paul’s Cathedral in London, where he was a preacher. famous, from 1621 until his death.
Like his career, his poetry ranged from sonnets to satires, from sensual love odes to deep religious musings. This poem, one of 19 “Holy Sonnets” published posthumously in 1633, reflects his paradoxical thinking regarding human dominion through sin and the need for God’s liberating action to “divorce” us from evil and to make “captives” of divine love. May it enrich your Lenten meditation:
Beat my heart, three-
personified God, for you
For now, strike, breathe, shine and seek to mend;
That I can get up and stand, flip and bend
Your strength to break me, blow me, burn me and make me look good again.
I, like a city usurped from another due,
Working to admit you, but oh,
Reason, your viceroy in me,
me should defend,
But is captive, and proves weak or false.
Yet tenderly I love you, and would gladly be loved,
But I am betrothed to your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break this knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, because I,
Except that you captivate me, never will be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you