Posted by: Phoebe | April 3, 2010

“The Agony” by Herbert

Again a favorite poem by George Herbert. One fit for the last hours before we celebrate “Christ is Risen!”

The Agony

        Philosophers have measured mountains,

Fathom’d the depths of seas, of states, and kings,

Walk’d with a staff to heaven, and traced fountains

        But there are two vast, spacious things,

The which to measure it doth more behove:

Yet few there are that sound them; Sin and Love.


        Who would know Sin, let him repair

Unto Mount Olivet; there shall he see

A man, so wrung with pains, that all his hair,

        His skin, his garments, bloody be.

Sin is that Press and Vice, which forceth pain

To hunt his cruel food through ev’ry vein.


        Who knows not Love, let him assay,

And taste that juice, which on the cross a pike

Did set again abroach; then let him say

        If ever he did taste the like.

Love is that liquor sweet and most divine,

Which my God feels as blood; but I, as wine.


That last couplet has gone through my head off and on this last couple days. “Love is that liquor sweet and most divine, Which my God feels as blood, but I, as wine.” Amazing!

Christ’s agony earned peace and warmth and nourishment for us, as symbolized by wine. We remember the bread and the wine he shared with his disciples on Passover. During that last supper he promised to his disciples “I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” (Mt. 26:29) After dying and making atonement for sins, he rose again and is alive today. One day he will return as he promised and feast with us in his kingdom. One day he will experience his love with us not as blood, but as wine.

So our remembrance of his death and resurrection now, his love and agony, should whet our appetites for his second return when we will experience the final fulfillment of his sacrifice. We will joyously celebrate with Jesus and with our Father to whom he reconciled us! In the words of Isaiah 53:

But the LORD was pleased

To crush Him, putting Him to grief;

If he would render Himself as a guilt offering,

He will see his offspring,

He will prolong his days,

And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in his hand.

As a result of the anguish of His soul,

He will see it and be satisfied;

By his knowledge the Righteous One,

My Servant, will justify the many,

As he will bear their iniquities.

 ~ Isaiah 53:10-11


Have a blessed Easter. Come, Lord Jesus!


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