Clergy Notes — Sunday, March 8, 2020

There is a very interesting article in Anglican Journal about the Reverend Malcolm Guite. He is an Anglican priest, chaplain to Girton College, Cambridge, and a published poet. We were fortunate enough to have him at St. James’ as our preacher one Sunday last year.

In the interview, Guite refers to a poem by George Herbert called “Prayer.” I have printed it in the Reflection section at the beginning of the bulletin. We would do well to follow his approach to the poem as it gives a wonderful way of understanding it. It is a sonnet, so it is only 14 lines. At first sight it seems like a random jumble of phrases. Until we realize that it is a series of 26 images. Each of these is a way of looking at and participating in prayer. Guite recommends that we “slow the pace” down by exploring each one of them deliberately and in a meditative fashion. Do try it.

Do you know the works of George Herbert (1593-1633)? Like Guite he was a priest and poet. He was born into an aristocratic English family and had a distinguished career in the civil service, but he was a modest and unassuming man. He was happy to serve as an ordinary parish priest. A number of his poems were set to music and are sung regularly as hymns. Four of them are included in Common Praise – the hymn book of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Father Neil Gray