Reflections on Love: Four Principles from Herbert’s Love (III)

Jesus Washing Peter’s Feet, Ford Madox Brown, 1876

This post is part of a series. Click the link for Parts 1 & 2.

Last time I introduced you to Herbert’s poem “Love (III),” and invited you into it—to meet the loving Jesus Christ who Herbert would like to introduce you to.

Here I want to draw a few principles from it about God and God’s love. These four principles don’t exhaust the treasure to be found in the poem, but they do help distill its essence.

Hopefully, in doing so, you can carry these principles into your entire life—certainly your worship and prayer life, but not only there! God wants your entire life, from waking to sleeping, to be permeated by his love.  

So here we go:

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Reflections on Love: Being Loved by God, or Love (III) by George Herbert

Jesus Washing Peter’s Feet, Ford Madox Brown, 1876

This post is part of a series. To see Part 1, click here.

“Love (III)” is one of my favorite poems because it speaks to the heart of the matter: what does it look like to be loved by God? Composed by George Herbert in the 17th century, it is his most celebrated poem. It also concludes the main section of The Temple, the collection of Herbert’s English poems.

Here is the poem in full (it belongs to the public domain), with the spelling modernized:

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Reflections on Love: Why Does It Even Matter?

Jesus Washing Peter’s Feet, Ford Madox Brown, 1876

This blog post started as a reflection on a poem, but it started to get pretty long. I realized I didn’t want to test everyone’s attention span, so I decided to split it up into a series that will attempt to unfold what love means for those who follow Christ.

Christians talk a lot about love. They claim that God loves them.

One early writer says that God has given Christians a new life because God’s love for them was so strong. Elsewhere, he writes that God’s love is so powerful and large that nothing can overcome or overpower it. Nothing is bigger or stronger than it (Eph 2:4-5; Rom 8:38-39).

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How Do I Live with Mammon?

For a while the idea of money has been bouncing around in my head—and for a number of reasons: I’ve been trying to come to terms with teachings of the Early Church Fathers and Mothers, which is more likely than not to put those of us in the wealthy modern West on edge; I’ve recently watched through the Netflix docu-series Dirty Money, which brings to the fore the abject evil perpetrated by large companies in the U.S. and abroad, all in the name of fulfilling the interests of investors; I recently read the article by the Christian theologian David Bentley Hart, “Three Cheers for Socialism,” and found it incredible provocative and thought-provoking (wherever you put your fealty in terms of economics, I think this article is a must-read, especially for Americans, who are all too often ignorant of political and economic history); I’m disturbed by the flippancy with which many Christians (including myself) pass over Jesus’s hard sayings about wealth and money, and I’m also continuously perturbed by the multiple, often contradictory voices with which Scripture speaks about wealth and money.

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