‘His sermons are filled with a humour born of setback and humility.’
A poet in a time of plague, John Donne was also preaching at St Paul’s. Dana Littlepage Smith on an icon of the Elizabethan age
With the simple and deep gift of time in my hands – time in our garden – I find myself dipping into John Donne’s sermons.
It feels right. He was writing them in a time of plague and he was a man who consistently believed in mercy, in prayer and in praise.
The sermons remind me of the practice of gratitude. In these days of pandemic I’ve begun to keep a jar in which I can place a scribbled note of each day’s mercy – cutting my husband’s hair, say, a first in our long marriage, thankful that he doesn’t ask for a mirror to see the back, and allowing the white tufts to drift off on a wind, hopeful they might be knit into a blackbird’s nest. In a radically changed and changing world, thankfulness and mercy can be touchstones, just as they were for this dean of St Paul’s, writing nearly four hundred years ago.
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