Eliot on the Dove Descending


The dove descending breaks the air
With flames of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre-
To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.

-T. S. Eliot, from THE COMPLETE POEMS AND PLAYS, Harcourt, Brace & World,
1952, 143-44.


Today's WORSHIP QUOTE is a short Pentecost poem by American poet T. S. Eliot- not an "easy read" but well worth every moment it will take you to get to the heart of the Holy Spirit's work. Here's a hint: look for the contrast between the fire of destruction and the fire of the Holy Spirit.

Lord, may we be consumed by the fire of your Spirit. Amen!

(Originally posted 5/26/1998)

To find out more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.