Devouring Fire

The LORD said to Moses, "Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction."  So Moses set out with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God.  To the elders he had said, "Wait here for us, until we come to you again; for Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a dispute may go to them."
             Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain.  The glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud.  Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel.  Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.
      - Exodus 24:12-18     

You in your holiness burn hot and wild
and we cannot even touch the edges
like the sun we can only scuttle our ships
lest we rocket too close and get pulled in

But from time to time and place to place
you let your devouring fire flame free
and in grace it does not burn or consume us
and we can stand to be in your corona unshielded

Moses in the clouds and ocean floors undiscovered
Jesus and Elijah mountaintops and first borns swaddled
astonishing enactments on earth of your will good and just
moments when the second hand stops and joy lingers

We would grasp you in these moments if we could
but your flames elude our fingers and palms and minds
our technical categories and rules and so you are free
from our control and we are unscorched and glad to be


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