John Keble, Priest, Tractarian, Poet

14 July -- Lesser Festival -- Pastor -- White

Born in 1792, the son of a priest, John Keble showed early brilliance as a scholar, becoming a Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, at the age of nineteen, a few years before his ordination. He won great praise for his collection of poems, The Christian Year, issued in 1827, and was elected Professor of Poetry in Oxford in 1831. A leader of the Tractarian movement, which protested at the threats to the Church from liberal developments in both politics and theology, he nevertheless did not seek preferment and in 1836 became a parish priest near Winchester, a position he held until his death in 1866. He continued to write scholarly books and was praised for his character and spiritual counsel. Yet he is still best remembered for the sermon he preached in Oxford, considered by some the beginning of the Oxford Movement, delivered on this day in 1833.


Father of the eternal Word,
in whose encompassing love
all things in peace and order move:
grant that, as your servant John Keble
   adored you in all creation,
so we may have a humble heart of love
for the mysteries of your Church
and know your love to be new every morning,
in Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

A reading from the book Lamentations.

The thought of my affliction and my homelessness is wormwood and gall! My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him." The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

This is the word of the Lord.         Lamentations 3. 19-26

Responsorial Psalm

RYour love is before my eyes, O God;
[faithfully I have walked with you].
Give judgement for me, O Lord,
for I have lived with integrity;
I have trusted in the Lord
and have not faltered. R

Test me, O Lord, and try me;
examine my heart and my mind.
I have not sat with the worthless,
nor do I consort with the deceitful. R

I have hated the company of evildoers;
I will not sit down with the wicked.
I will wash my hands in innocence, O Lord,
that I may go in procession round your altar; R

Singing aloud a song of thanksgiving
and recounting all your wonderful deeds.
Lord, I love the house in which you dwell
and the place where your glory abides. R         From Psalm 26

A reading from the Letter of Paul to the Romans.

We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Each of us must please our neighbour for the good purpose of building up the neighbour. For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me." For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is the word of the Lord.         Romans 15. 1-6

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: "Blessèd are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessèd are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessèd are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessèd are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessèd are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessèd are the pure in heart, for they will see God."

This is the gospel of Christ.         Matthew 5. 1-8

Post Communion

God, shepherd of your people,
whose servant John Keble revealed the loving service of Christ
   in his ministry as a pastor of your people:
by this eucharist in which we share
awaken within us the love of Christ
and keep us faithful to our Christian calling;
through him who laid down his life for us,
but is alive and reigns with you, now and for ever.