Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

In a discussion of the classic spiritual “Sit Down, Servant”—-performed above by the Staple Singers—-a friend pointed out the parallel between the song’s chorus and the last stanza of George Herbert’s “Love (III).”

Love (III)
by George Herbert

Love bade me welcome, yet my soul drew back,
     Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey’d Love, observing me grow slack
     From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
     If I lack’d anything.
“A guest,” I answer’d, “worthy to be here”;
     Love said, “You shall be he.”
“I, the unkind, the ungrateful? ah my dear,
     I cannot look on thee.”
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
     “Who made the eyes but I?”

“Truth, Lord, but I have marr’d them; let my shame
     Go where it doth deserve.”
“And know you not,” says Love, “who bore the blame?”
     “My dear, then I will serve.”
“You must sit down,” says Love, “and taste my meat.”
     So I did sit and eat.

So many beautiful echoes in this faith God has given us, his servants, ungrateful, unkind.

Comments are visible to subscribers only. Log in or subscribe to join the conversation.



Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles