Today the church remembers George Herbert, Priest, 1633.George Herbert was brilliant, wealthy, well-born, handsome, and a favorite of the king and court. To the astonishment of a generation of prominent Englishmen, he abandoned a promising career in public life, took holy orders, and accepted a call to the humble parishes of Fugglestone and Bemerton. As he put it, “Methought I heard one calling, ‘Child." And I replied, ‘My Lord." ” In his short life (George Herbert was only forty when he died), he made a lasting contribution to the church"s life. He wrote A Priest to the Temple; or the Country Parson. He wrote many excellent poems and hymns (see The Hymnal 1982, numbers 382, 402, 403, 487, 592). Most important of all, he left us a beautiful example of a small town pastor. It was in tiny Bemerton, and not at the mighty Court of St. James, that George Herbert found depth and meaning in life. At Bemerton he was able to witness for his Master in unselfish service to others. He had learned an age-old lesson. “Nothing,” he wrote, “is little in God"s service.” O eternal Lord God, who holds all souls in life: We humbly ask you to shed forth upon your whole Church in paradise and on earth the bright beams of your light and thy peace; and grant that we, following the good examples of your servant George Herbert, and of all those who loved and served you here, may at the last enter with them into your unending joy. Amen.
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Our God and King, you called your servant George Herbert from the pursuit of worldly honors to be a pastor of souls, a poet, and a priest in your temple: Give us grace, we pray, joyfully to perform the tasks you give us to do, knowing that nothing is menial or common that is done for your sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.