I came across this poem by Madeleine L’Engle as I was flipping through my bookshelf this week. I’d never read it before but I needed it. You could read it from a number of different circumstances and it could speak to you no matter where you are or how life is changing for you, but for me this week, as I’ve been thinking about community, it spoke to the leader in community – It spoke to what it is to try to guide…or is it listen… or is it lead…. or is it serve….. or is it all those things and you have to hold it so intensely loose. Here, with Madeleine, Moses is the perfect point to contemplate for those leading community, especially leading through change.
Moses by Madeleine L’Engle
Now. This way. I will guide you.
Wait! Not so fast.
Hurry. You. I said you.
Who am I?
Certainly I will be with thee.
Is nothing, then, what it is? I had rather the rod had
stayed a rod and not become a serpent.
Come. Quickly. While the blast of my breath opens the sea.
Stop. I’m thirsty.
Drink water from this rock.
But the rock moves on before us.
Go with it and drink.
I’m tired. Can’t you stop for a while?
You have already tarried too long.
But if I am to follow you I must know your name.
I will be that I will be.
You have set the mountain on fire.
I will be lost in the terror of your cloud.
You are stiff-necked and of a stiff-necked people.
YOUR people, Lord.
Your wrath waxes hot. I burn.
Thus to become great.
Show me, then, thy glory.
No man may see my face and live. But I will cover you with
my hand while I pass by.
My people turn away and cry because the skin of my
Did you not expect this?
I cannot enter the tent of the congregation while your
cloud covers it and your glory fills the tabernacle. Look,
it moves before us again. Can you not stay still?
But this river is death. The waters are dark and deep.
Now will I see your face? Where are you taking me now?
Up the mountain with me before I die.
Bursts into light.
The death is
What it will be.
These men: They want to keep us here in three tabernacles.
But the cloud moves. The water springs from a rock that journeys on.
You are contained in me.
But how can we contain you in ark or tabernacle or
In your heart. Come.
I will be with thee.
Who am I?
You are that I will be. Come.