George Herbert was a poet and pastor. In his work, The Temple, Herbert “shows how we begin in unbelief outside the church, come to initial belief, grow in our maturity in this belief and finally realize full intimacy with God.”

Part of his creativity is shown in the structure he gave his poems. The Temple itself is shaped as a temple. The first two poems form the “church porch.” One poem, “The Altar,” is written in the physical shape of an altar from the Anglican Church.
Herbert emphasizes four pillars of the Christian faith: Scripture, prayer, the sacraments and the ordered life of the church year. He recognizes that life is lived on two levels. Beebe and Foster write, “On the horizontal plane, our daily life does not always seem to have meaning. Yet Herbert suggests that these activities are the very activities where we encounter God. We cannot always see the meaning, control our moods or even sustain a consistent understanding of God. . . . On the hidden vertical plane, decisions are being made, choices executed, allegiances cast and motives evaluated.”
So life is lived on these two levels, both connected and intertwined. One influencing the other. The horizontal more easily perceived than the vertical, but no less vital. Both are important.
Advertisements