After a brief biographical devotion about Bede, we conclude with a poem that is written on Bede’s tombstone. The devotion and the poem are printed in Treasury of Daily Prayer.
Bede (AD 673–735) was the last of the Early Church Fathers and the first to compile the history of the English church. Born in Northumbria, Bede’s parents placed him in a monastery in northern England at the age of seven. He rarely left the monastery and devoted the rest of his life to teaching and writing. The most learned man of his time, he was a prolific writer of history, whose careful use of sources provided a model for historians in the Middle Ages. Known best for his book The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, he was also a profound interpreter of Scripture; his commentaries are still fresh today. His most famous disciple, Cuthbert, reported that Bede was working on a translation of John’s Gospel into English when death came and that he died with the words of the Gloria Patri on his lips. He received the title “Venerable” within two generations of his death and is buried in Durham Cathedral as one of England’s greatest saints.
Here lieth Bede, his country’s pride and light,
The firm maintainer of all law and right.
To wisdom’s path, e’en from his youth inclin’d,
Far spread the radiance of his heavenly mind.
His earliest vow to God, his constant care
Was learning, preaching, meditation, prayer.
His sword was Scripture, in these holy arms
He saved Christ’s pious flock from all alarms:
None in his presence suffered hunger’s call,
His words were heavenly comfort to them all.
A pleasing perfume in this church is found,
Which breathes refreshing gales on all around,
And now the world has lost this brilliant light,
And sinks enveloped in the shades of night:
Whilst he in radiant clothes ascends above
To dwell for ever in the realms of love.
Devotional reading and prayer are from Treasury of Daily Prayer, pages 1301–02 © 2008 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.