“Now Show Me Your Glory”

Moses went up the mountain, early in the morning

To see the glory of Yahweh

“Come alone” God had instructed

“Leave Joshua, Aaron, and Hur below”

not even goats or sheep could graze within sight of this meeting

only his two feet, two hands, two slabs

the basket boy of Nile birth

slow of speech and tongue

the “who am I” who met the “I AM”

and took command of the sea

His climb was harsh, the way hidden

leaving light and friends and flocks behind

level ground and tents and food abandoned

for this trust-walk into darkness

Believing, following, expecting Voice and Presence

Found in fearful, fiery cloud

He had begged to see that which should strike a man dead

A showing of glory that would kill

And Yahweh agreed to the meet-up

Promising mercy to the one whose staff had split the sea

A way would be made, a space would be given,

And so this man stood atop the mountain, protected

Death again pressed back by the hand that summoned him

A fissure of rock prepared

A chasm of stone holding the holder of stone

Carved embrace crafted by covering hand

And so a man pressed into mountain cleavage

Allowed to catch a glimpse

of the back of the Presence passing

And hear the Name declared:

“The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”

The promise spoken:

“I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you.”

The union sealed:

“Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.”

Moses’ climb met God’s descent

Union, reunion, communion,

Glory of God come near to one alone on mountain rock

for forty days Moses feasted there

Tasting neither bread nor drink

Only Presence, Glory, Word

The two empty slabs he carried up

Once lifeless stones now invited to become flesh

Words binding one to another

A promise chiseled that would endure rejection

Generations of rejection already begun in tents below

Tablets declaring a lover’s faithfulness more powerful than any wickedness

And a promise to walk together

Faithful, obligated, entrusted, promised

a people belonging to the beautiful name

The abounding, maintaining, forgiving Name

Whose every right it is to punish

Whose glory deserves to kill

Is it any wonder Moses’ face was flushed

With the unbearable radiance of such a meeting

And the weight of goodness declared in a name

that is at once a promise and prophecy

Mercy ever new, unfailing

Like a widow’s oil that cannot run dry

Compassion hounding, chasing, searching

Coins and lambs worth dying for

Love that lifts up its skirts and runs

Majesty that stoops and scrubs

A king whose borning cry screams hope to every nation

This is the Presence we too long to see

this One who could have withheld or struck down

but reached down instead and joined

This is the Name we speak aloud

Or wrestle in dark silence

Or flee from altogether

This Mercy, Compassion, Forgiveness we cannot exhaust

This summons to meet and see and taste

Glory shown, heavy as stone, tender as flesh

God with us

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