Sonnet for Psalm 1

Plant me by your streams of living water,
Where my faith will survive life's many droughts,
Where I can stay true to all that matters,
And be nourished in my seasons of doubt.
Praying this, I hear you say: There is no
Secret - take delight in my word each day;
Read it slowly, with an open mind, so
That you are changed by it, and then obey.
When this is hard, for it will be, trust and
Persist, stay rooted and near to all that 
You read, even when you don't understand,
Until it becomes a light for your path.
Blessed are you who drink from this river -
Your faith, like the leaves, will never wither.

Psalm 1 offers one of my favorite images of the spiritual life: that of a tree planted by streams of water. This image reminds me that a healthy spiritual life is one that has deep roots. The fruit comes naturally when our roots are deep and strong. And in times of drought, even if we are not bearing as much fruit for God as we would like, we can trust that our leaves will not wither, and fruit will return in its season. This pandemic is a time, for many of us, to simply hang in there – to stay rooted to God’s word, to hold on in faith, and to look forward to the day when we can once again bear fruit in our season.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that we simply hang around and do nothing. Faith, Martin Luther famously said, is “a living, busy, active, mighty thing” that “does not ask whether there are good works to do, but before the question rises, it has already done them, and is always at the doing of them.” As Christians, we should be busy doing good works, bearing good fruit, and there is much that we can do even during this pandemic.

But we can’t do anything worthwhile for God without a healthy spiritual life. And so, Psalm 1 encourages us to spend time meditating on God’s word daily, to be like the tree that is planted by streams of water, so that we can bear fruit in our season, and survive life’s many droughts, like the one in which many of us currently find ourselves.

These are a few of the thoughts that led me to this sonnet. So, here is the passage from Psalm 1 on which this sonnet is based, followed by two other scripture passages I had in mind when I wrote the sonnet, along with this sonnet again, followed by a closing prayer:

Psalm 1:1-3

Happy are those
   who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
   or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
   and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
   planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
   and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.

Scripture Readings

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit. – Jeremiah 17:7-8

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. – Psalm 119:105

Sonnet for Psalm 1

Plant me by your streams of living water,
Where my faith will survive life's many droughts,
Where I can stay true to all that matters,
And be nourished in my seasons of doubt.
Praying this, I hear you say: There is no
Secret - take delight in my word each day;
Read it slowly, with an open mind, so
That you are changed by it, and then obey.
When this is hard, for it will be, trust and
Persist, stay rooted and near to all that 
You read, even when you don't understand,
Until it becomes a light for your path.
Blessed are you who drink from this river -
Your faith, like the leaves, will never wither.

Closing Prayer

O Lord, plant me by your living water so that my roots can seek out and find your healing grace. Remind me to spend time each day with you – reading your word and listening to you in prayer. And, in your time and in your way, help me to bear fruit for you, bringing your grace, mercy and love near to those around me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

4 thoughts on “Sonnet for Psalm 1

  1. YES during this pandemic season, being the salt and the light has been a challenge. But I love how GOD works…….we just need to listen and obey! May each of our days be filled with the “fruit”. Thank you for your post!

    Liked by 1 person

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