The posture of the Christian’s walk of pilgrimage to God is one of service and humility. It is a posture of pleading for mercy. The mercy we seek and which God offers is not one begrudgingly given by our Father. (Who gives his son a stone?) Rather we best participate in the mercy God desires to show when we are well-convinced that we both need and continue to receive mercy.
This sonnet is based upon Psalm 123 which exemplifies the pilgrim’s posture as well as his need. The psalm reads,
1 To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us.
3 Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt.
4 Our soul has had more than enough of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud. (ESV)
If it’s helpful you may listen to me read the sonnet via the player below.
To Thee, in heaven do I lift my eyes;
Look, how I look, how I wait on Thy hand;
Wait as a watchman, for the dawn to rise,
For Thy mercy as light to flood the land.
Enough! –the contempt of the proud who look down,
Who sneer and scowl over their upturned nose,
Who turn away, ignore, “tisk-tisk” and frown
At the brethren they trample, use, then dispose.
The Richest of All looked down, stepped into,
Looked up, cried ‘Why hast Thou forsaken me?’
Looked down, plead, ‘They know not what they do!’
Cried, ‘Enough! It is finished; my spirit, receive.’
Three dawns hence my called name lifts up my head
To behold, Mercy reaching, risen from the dead.
© Randall Edwards 2017
This sonnet is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks.
artwork: detail from an illustration of The Pilgrim’s Progress or Christian’s journey from the City of Destruction in this evil World to the Celestial City; Published July 1, 1813 by J. Pitts No 14 Great St Andrews Street Seven Dials.