Sonnet for Psalm 19

The heavens tell your glory, the sun, stars - 
Silent poetry above, timeless words
That all the world can read, here and afar;
Beauty eternal, your wonders unfurled.
Your word, like the heavens, shines like the sun -
Unwavering truth that revives, makes wise, 
Sets course like the stars, offers direction;
Better than gold, honey, all our desires.
But sweetest of all, the gift of your son -
Our champion traversing sky and sin,
Whose love shines brighter than the stars or sun,
Who runs to the cross to redeem, to mend.
Our words join angels in this ancient song,
Sung through the Spirit to Father and Son.

It is difficult to think of a more beautiful poem than Psalm 19, of which C.S. Lewis wrote: “I take this to be the greatest poem in the Psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in the world.” It is a poem that lifts up the beauty of God’s creation alongside the beauty of God’s word. In the sonnet that I wrote in response to this beautiful psalm, I lift up God’s son as the most beautiful gift of all. Here, then, is a passage from Psalm 19, followed by the other scripture passages I had in mind when I wrote the sonnet, along with the sonnet again, followed by a closing prayer:

Psalm 19:1-10

The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them;
and nothing is hid from its heat.
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever;
the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb.

Scripture Readings

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. – Colossians 1:19-20

Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. – Hebrews 1:1-2

Sonnet for Psalm 19

The heavens tell your glory, the sun, stars – 
Silent poetry above, timeless words
That all the world can read, here and afar;
Beauty eternal, your wonders unfurled.
Your word, like the heavens, shines like the sun –
Unwavering truth that revives, makes wise, 
Sets course like the stars, offers direction;
Better than gold, honey, all our desires.
But sweetest of all, the gift of your son –
Our champion traversing sky and sin,
Whose love shines brighter than the stars or sun,
Who runs to the cross to redeem, to mend.
Our words join angels in this ancient song,
Sung through the Spirit to Father and Son.

Closing Prayer

O Lord, you reveal yourself to us in so many ways – through the beauty and wonder of your creation, through one another, and through your word, which offers us both guidance and hope. But it is in Jesus, where your fullness is pleased to dwell, where we see you most clearly, and where we experience the power and depth of your love most fully. Keep us close to your son, to your word, and to your world. In Jesus’ name. Amen

In celebration of the International Year of Astronomy 2009, NASA’s Great Observatories — Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope, and Chandra X-ray Observatory — have produced a matched trio of images of the central region of our Milky Way.

6 thoughts on “Sonnet for Psalm 19

  1. I love everything you said here! I looked at Psalm 19 in my Bible and I have much of it highlighted. I pray I will never take HIS beauty around me for granted…..it is very evident here in the Desert of Arizona. HE provides for everything and HE provided for us too……HIS Son JESUS. Thank you LORD!!

    Liked by 1 person

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