Easter Reflections

April 2010 – Rector’s Ruminations

As most of you know, Liz and I live near the top of Buck Mountain which affords us exceptional views of the Sound, the village, the islands, the Straits of Georgia, the Olympic Mountains, Friday Harbor, Victoria, Sidney, Vancouver Island and on clear nights, the lights of Vancouver.  I never tire of the view because it is a view that “lives”: boats and ships of various types and sizes navigating the Sound and Straits, airplanes landing and departing throughout the day and early evening, weather systems moving up and through the islands accenting glorious sunrises and magnificent sunsets.  That which I enjoy most, however, is the opportunity to watch the birds; eagles soaring, hawks gliding, seagulls floating, ravens surfing the wind and the occasional hummingbird greeting me just outside the window of my study.

With the advance of spring, the Season of Easter and the flight of birds, I was put in mind of a poem that George Herbert wrote that associates resurrection, redemption and new beginnings with flight – the flight of birds and our flight during Easter as we soar towards the heavens on the wings of a dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit.

George Herbert, who we celebrate in the calendar of Saints on February 27th, was a gifted poet, pastor and priest. Born in 1593 of nobility, he began studying divinity in his early twenties and was ordained priest in 1626 and served as rector of the parishes of Fugglestone and Bemerton.  Herbert was unselfish in his devotion and service to others.  His biographer, Izaak Walton, wrote that many of his parishioners, “let their plow rest when Fr. Herbert’s saints’ bell rung for prayers, that they might offer their devotion to God with him.”  Herbert’s words have reminded Christians again and again that “nothing is little in God’s service…everything in daily life, small or great, may be a means of serving and worshiping God. “

Several of Herbert’s poems have been set to music and are included in our Hymnal to include “King of Glory, King of Peace” (#382), “Let all the World in Every Corner Sing” (402-403) and “Come my Way, my Faith, my Life” (487). His best-known prose work is The Country Parson.

As I gaze out the window of my study and watch our winged brothers and sisters on this beautiful spring evening, a poem by George Herbert entitled “Easter Wings” comes to mind.  I share it with you as we celebrate this Season of the Resurrection.


Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
Though foolishly he lost the same,
Decaying more and more,
Till he became
Most poor:
With thee
Oh let me rise
As larks, harmoniously,
And sing this day thy victories:
Then shall the fall further the flight in me.

My tender age in sorrow did begin:
And still with sicknesses and shame
Thou didst so punish sin,
That I became
Most thin.
With thee
Let me combine,
And feel this day thy victory:
For, if I imp my wing on thine,
Affliction shall advance the flight in me.
–George Herbert

Alleluia, Christ is Risen,


By Bishop Craig B. Anderson

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