I’ve posted this poem recently, but it bears repeating. Today is the Anglican day of commemoration for its author–Reginald Heber, poet and once bishop of Calcutta.
Heber’s poetry is sung today all over Christendom, in both high and low churches. In evangelical circles, his most famous hymn is probably “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.” The imaginative Christmas carol “Brightest and Best of the Sons of the Morning” is sung in at least two versions to four different tunes, all the way from Lutheran churches to Sacred Harp shape-note choirs in the American South. And the Eucharistic hymn below is sung in high Anglican and Catholic churches.
It seems an especially appropriate way to commemorate Heber in these days leading up to Holy Week.
* * * * *
Bread of the World
Bread of the world in mercy broken,
Wine of the soul in mercy shed,
By whom the words of life were spoken,
And in whose death our sins are dead:
Look on the heart by sorrow broken,
Look on the tears by sinners shed,
And be Thy feast to us the token
That by Thy grace our souls are fed.
~ Reginald Heber, 1783-1826