Lent Madness: Aidan vs. George Herbert

 This battle pits two Englishmen separated by 1000 years against each other. In recent action, Peter defeated Dunstan 60% to 40% and will face Joseph of Arimathea in the next round. Click to view the updated tournament bracket: Lent Madness 2010

Aidan of Lindisfarne (d. 651) was a Christian missionary and the founder and bishop of a monastery on the island of Lindisfarne in England. During Aidan’s lifetime Anglo-Saxon paganism had usurped the gains the Roman church had made in England. An Irishman by birth, Aidan was sent from the community at Iona to Lindisfarne to convert the Northumbrians. His missionary style was simply to walk among people and strike up conversations about Christianity. It is reported that a king once gave him a horse for him to use during his travels but Aidan chose instead to give the horse to a beggar.

In 651 a pagan army attacked Bamburgh and attempted to set its walls on fire. According to legend, Aidan prayed for the city, after which the winds turned and blew the smoke and fire toward the enemy, forcing them to retreat. Hence Aidan is known as the patron saint of fire fighters. Aidan died in 651 in the 17th year of his episcopate.

A Collect for Aidan of Lindisfarne: O loving God, you called your servant Aidan from the peace of a cloister to re-establish the Christian mission in northern England, and endowed him with gentleness, simplicity, and strength: Grant that we, following his example, may use what you have given us for the relief of human need, and may persevere in commending the saving Gospel of our Redeemer Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

George Herbert (1593-1633) was an English priest, poet, and writer. Born in Wales to a wealthy family, Herbert served in Parliament for two years before abandoning his secular ambitions. He was ordained a priest in his late 30’s and accepted a call to St. Andrew’s in Bemerton, England.

His book “A Priest to the Temple (or A Country Parson” was published in 1652. It remains a favorite among clergy in its prayerful and practical advice. In 1633 he finished his collection of poems in a work called “The Temple.” A number of his poems have been put to music including “Come my Way, my Truth, my Life,” “Let All the World in Every Corner Sing,” and “King of Glory, King of Peace.”

Herbert died of tuberculosis only three years after taking holy orders but his impact upon clergy and people everywhere remains profoundly widespread.

A Collect for George Herbert: Our God and King, who called your servant George Herbert from the pursuit of worldly honors to be a pastor of souls, a poet, and a priest in your temple: Give us grace, we pray, joyfully to perform the tasks you give us to do, knowing that nothing is menial or common that is done for your sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


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