I walk before the Lord in the land of the living.

Psalm 116:9

Sonnet for Psalm 116

This life, this beautiful life, our one chance
To walk with the Lord while we’re here living,
To give thanks in every circumstance,
To live by faith before sight of heaven.
How shall we thank you for all you have done?
What can we offer that you did not give?
Existence itself, from you did it come,
When taken for granted? Still you forgive. 
Much more than that, though, our faith, hope, and love,
Gifts without which our lives would be empty.
Into this emptiness, sent from above,
You send your own son, incarnate mercy.
You give us much more than earned or deserved,
So here we are, Lord, to love and to serve.


To walk with the Lord in the land of the living is our greatest blessing, when you think about it. We do not need to wait for Heaven to walk with the Lord. We are invited to spend this life in the presence of our loving God. But in this land of the living, we walk by faith, not by sight. And this gives us a chance to show God our faith before we no longer need it.

Here, then, is a passage from Psalm 116, 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 116:5-14

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
    our God is merciful.
The Lord protects the simple;
    when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return, O my soul, to your rest,
    for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
For you have delivered my soul from death,
    my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
I walk before the Lord
    in the land of the living.
I kept my faith, even when I said,
    “I am greatly afflicted”;
I said in my consternation,
    “Everyone is a liar.”
What shall I return to the Lord
    for all his bounty to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
    and call on the name of the Lord,
I will pay my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people.

Scripture Passage: 2 Corinthians 5:6-7

So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord—for we walk by faith, not by sight. 

Sonnet for Psalm 116

This life, this beautiful life, our one chance
To walk with the Lord while we’re here living,
To give thanks in every circumstance,
To live by faith before sight of heaven.
How shall we thank you for all you have done?
What can we offer that you did not give?
Existence itself, from you did it come,
When taken for granted? Still you forgive. 
Much more than that, though, our faith, hope, and love,
Gifts without which our lives would be empty.
Into this emptiness, sent from above,
You send your own son, incarnate mercy.
You give us much more than earned or deserved,
So here we are, Lord, to love and to serve.

Closing Prayer

O Lord, how grateful we are to walk with you here, in the land of the living. How grateful we are for our very existence! When we take this for granted, forgive us. And until we see you face to face, help us to walk by faith, trusting that you are right here with us, every step of the way. Through Christ our Lord. Amen

4 thoughts on “Sonnet for Psalm 116

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