We had a great time on Sunday evening with one of our leaders at Grace opening up George Herbert’s lovely poem “The Elixir.” Here it is:
Teach me, my God and King,
in all things thee to see,
and what I do in anything
to do it as for thee.
A man that looks on glass,
on it may stay his eye;
or if he pleaseth, through it pass,
and then the heaven espy.
All may of thee partake;
nothing can be so mean,
which with this tincture, “for thy sake,”
will not grow bright and clean.
A servant with this clause
makes drudgery divine:
who sweeps a room, as for thy laws,
makes that and the action fine.
This is the famous stone
that turneth all to gold;
for that which God doth touch and own
cannot for less be told.
Back in the day the science bods hoped to find a magic potion which could turn base metals into precious metals, and they really thought they could do it. Herbert takes the idea and talks about the gospel being the ‘elixir’ – that thing which enables the base to become precious. It is the ‘tincture’ of the gospel which makes our actions not base but bright and clean – that which God doth touch and own cannot for less be told. Me thinks Herbie is the man (apart from his do). What sayest thou?