Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!

Psalm 150:6

Sonnet for Psalm 150

Praise the Lord! Rejoice in the Lord always!
And again, rejoice! Today and all days!
Come, earth, moon, and stars, shine like the sun's rays,
Let all that breathes praise our God- no delays!
Sing out to the Lord in all different ways,
For God's mighty deeds, our voices we raise!
The Lord God is near to the one who prays,
This is God's promise, as the scripture says.
God's peaceful presence with us never strays,
Even in valleys, when happiness fades,
So we live each day with our hope unfazed.
How can we not let our thanks be upraised?
Just as the psalms end with unsurpassed praise,
We join in their song with hearts set ablaze.

This is my twenty-fifth and final sonnet to share with you in this series, and as I bring this to a close, it seemed appropriate to share a sonnet based on the last of the psalms, Psalm 150. This psalm includes the word “praise” in every line, so I thought I would end every line of this sonnet with a word that rhymes with “praise.” My sonnet is also very influenced by Paul’s wonderful words in Philippians 4:4-7.

Not long after the COVID-19 pandemic began, I started writing these “Sonnets for Psalms,” and preparing them has been a meaningful spiritual discipline for me during these challenging times. Each week during the pandemic, I chose one of the psalms from scripture and prayerfully reflected on it before composing a sonnet in response.

Often, I would begin these sonnets during my morning prayer time, continuing to work on them in the evenings on my back porch. This proved to be a wonderful way to keep me connected to God’s word in the midst of those unprecedented days.

This spiritual discipline, to use a good church term, was my way of engaging in “lectio divina,” reading, reflecting, and responding to God’s word as a daily devotion. (I shared a little more about this practice as a spiritual discipline here: How Writing Poetry Has Deepened My Spiritual Life.)

The psalms are themselves poetry, of course, and some of the most beautiful poetry that I know. And what better way to interact with God’s poetry than through our own poetry? And so, each week I selected a psalm and spent time prayerfully pondering its meaning before offering my response in the form of a sonnet.

Often, as I pondered these psalms, my thoughts turned to Jesus. The psalms were written long before the time of Christ, and can be read and prayed without seeing them through the lens of our Christian faith, as our Jewish brothers and sisters have done for millennia. But I can’t help but read and pray the psalms particularly as a Christian, which leads me to see Jesus at every turn.

I still remember coming across the opening line of St. Augustine’s “Exposition of Psalm 1” that led me to think ever more about Christ in the psalms: “’Blessed is the man that has not gone away in the counsel of the ungodly.’ (Psalm 1:1) This is to be understood of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord Man.” I had never thought of Psalm 1 as describing Jesus, and this insight led me to begin seeing Jesus in all of the psalms.

When you think about it, even Jesus himself recognized himself in the psalms, when he referred, for example, to himself as the good shepherd. The same Jesus who prayed these psalms, most poignantly on the cross, also fulfills these psalms, in other words, and my sonnets on the psalms try to reflect that.

Preparing these sonnets has blessed me in ways that I did not anticipate. It led me ever more deeply into God’s word, and helped me to see Jesus more vividly in every psalm.

As I bring this series to a close, I thought I would gather all the links to these sonnets in this post. Here, then, are the links to all the “Sonnets for Psalms” that I have shared on my blog:

  1. Sonnet for Psalm 1
  2. Sonnet for Psalm 8
  3. Sonnet for Psalm 16
  4. Sonnet for Psalm 19
  5. Sonnet for Psalm 24
  6. Sonnet for Psalm 27
  7. Sonnet for Psalm 42
  8. Sonnet for Psalm 46
  9. Sonnet for Psalm 51
  10. Sonnet for Psalm 61
  11. Sonnet for Psalm 62
  12. Sonnet for Psalm 90
  13. Sonnet for Psalm 91
  14. Sonnet for Morning Prayer (Sonnet for Psalm 95)
  15. A Sonnet of Thanksgiving (Sonnet for Psalm 100)
  16. Sonnet for Psalm 101
  17. Sonnet for Psalm 103
  18. Sonnet for Psalm 116
  19. Sonnet for Psalm 119
  20. Sonnet for Psalm 121
  21. Sonnet for Psalm 131
  22. Sonnet for Evening Prayer (Sonnet for Psalm 141)
  23. Sonnet for Psalm 145
  24. Sonnet for Psalm 146
  25. Sonnet for Psalm 150

Sonnet for Psalm 150

Praise the Lord! Rejoice in the Lord always!
And again, rejoice! Today and all days!
Come, earth, moon, and stars, shine like the sun's rays,
Let all that breathes praise our God - no delays!
Sing out to the Lord in all different ways,
For God's mighty deeds, our voices we raise!
The Lord God is near to the one who prays,
This is God's promise, as the scripture says.
God's peaceful presence with us never strays,
Even in valleys, when happiness fades,
So we live each day with our hope unfazed.
How can we not let our thanks be upraised?
Just as the psalms end with unsurpassed praise,
We join in their song with hearts set ablaze.

Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!

Psalm 150:6

9 thoughts on “Sonnet for Psalm 150

  1. I appreciate these sonnets so much! And I identify with the way writing such poetry has been a way of practicing spiritual formation. Me too — just a different set: solitude, silence, and listening. And when I truly listened, my “psalms” poured out. If you wish, you can read some of them in my collection that was recently published, When He Whispers: Learning to Listen on the Journey. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Linnea, I found your book on Amazon and read the introduction. I plan to purchase your book in the near future, and look forward to spending time with your “psalms.” You have lived a very interesting life, and it was clearly fueled by your love of the Lord and nourished by your time in solitude and prayer. Thank you for your comment, and for suggesting your collection to me, and blessings to you.

      Like

      1. I am honored that you think so. And reading your story of translating God’s Word for the Nyarafolo was very inspiring, and a “kairos” experience for me, since we are getting ready to celebrate Pentateuch this Sunday. What a wonderful modern-day Pentateuch miracle!

        Like

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