The Gift of Sunday

by | Feb 23, 2022


by George Herbert


O day most calm, most bright,

The fruit of this, the next world’s bud,

The endorsement of supreme delight,

Writ by a friend, and with his blood;

The couch of time; care’s balm and bay:

The week were dark, but for thy light:

Thy torch doth show the way.


The other days and thou

Make up one man; whose face thou art,

Knocking at heaven with thy brow:

The work-days are the back-part;

The burden of the week lies there,

Making the whole to stoop and bow, 

Till the release appear. . . .

Sundays the pillars are,

On which heaven’s palace arched lies:

The other days fill up the spare

And hollow room with vanities.

They are the fruitful beds and borders

In God’s rich garden: that is bare,

Which parts their ranks and orders.

The Sundays of man’s life,

Threaded together on time’s string,

Make bracelets to adorn the wife

Of the eternal glorious King. 

On Sunday heaven’s gate stands ope;

Blessings are plentiful and rife,

More plentiful than hope.


This day my Savior rose,

And did enclose this light for his:

That, as each beast his manger knows, 

Man might not of his fodder miss.

Christ hath took in this piece of ground,

And made a garden there for those

Who want herbs for their wound. . . .

Thou art a day of mirth:

And where the weekdays trail on ground,

Thy flight is higher, as thy birth.

O let me take thee at the bound,

Leaping with thee from seven to seven,

Till that we both, being tossed from earth,

Fly hand in hand to heaven!


About this poem, Leland Ryken states, “The unifying theme is the supreme value of Sunday as a gift from God. The variations are the specific ways in which Sunday is presented as the best day. The purpose of literature is to raise our awareness about life, and as we ponder each stanza with its metaphors, we come to see Sunday more clearly and value it more.” (Leland Ryken. The Soul in Paraphrase: The Treasury of Class Devotional Poems. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway,  2018), 108-110). 

Yesterday, I was driving to work from the Urgent Care (trying to figure out some painful back/shoulder pain) and heard this comment from Kevin DeYoung from the podcast of Life, Books, and Everything:

“And not every sermon is going to be equally good, but over time it makes a difference. Just like none of us can look back and remember what did your mom feed you when you were younger. Well, maybe you remember a special birthday meal, but what happened was you were fed and you were nourished and you grew and you were strengthened and you may not remember very many specific meals, but over many years you were fed and you grew up,and that’s what we’re trying to do with faithfully preaching God’s Word week after week.” 

This Sunday, may you be well fed and nourished by the Word of God and the people of God, and may you delight in the supreme value of Sunday and the gift from God that it is for you.