Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Passover Poem

The Passover story has numerous points of crisis and decision where people have to take significant risks to side with the Lord. There were Shiprah and Puah, who quietly disobeyed the Pharaoh. Moses' mother and his sister Miryam who took great risks to keep him alive and keep involved in his life.

Moses himself, of course, had plenty of chances to live comfortably in Egypt. And the people didn't have to accept him as a prophet when he returned from the desert--they knew full well there was a significant risk involved and went back and forth for years on whether it had been a good idea to trust him.

My aunt once pointed out that if the children of Israel had put blood on their doors and not been delivered, an Egyptian mob wouldn't have had any trouble going from home to home against them. And there are great stories about the parting of the sea--like a tradition that the waters didn't part until the first Jews to walk forward on Moses' counsel were chin-deep in them.

I wrote a poem for Passover this year with a related question: what might a person have thought while walking through the bottom of the sea? It was a miracle, yes, but wouldn't the awe of the event have been mixed with some degree of awareness that walls of water which rise up can also come back down? Wouldn't there have been a few people who wondered whether they'd really live to see the other shore?

Prayer on the Red Sea Shore

If these walls of water fall, O Lord,
let me drown with Moses.

And let me praise you with my final breath
for lending me his mad, prophetic dream
for letting me wander out past the edge of this world
beside a man who could see all the glory of Egypt
and still say that it wasn't enough

If these walls of water fall, O Lord,
let me drown with Moses.
Yes, let me die with the same fire in my eyes
Moses saw in a desert bush.

1 comment:

  1. I love this poem. It reminds me of all the times I've heard or seen the story of Moses, and that it would be enough just to have the stories, just to have believed them.



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