And we are put on earth a little space,
That we may learn to bear the beams of love.
– William Blake
Pasach – Passage, No. 1
After we were passed over
we passed over.
When the waters split
a shimmering wall
seething strength, waves
smacking, spitting above us
some of us hesitated
to weigh the odds
consider and debate.
Was it more magic?
Who was this son of Abraham
with his stave of almond wood?
Crippled from scrabbling straw in the fields
mixing mortar for the man
meeting his quotas
we dawdled on the shore.
Others, children especially, ran out
skipping over the coral
through the sea grass
past the shipwrecks
and green turtles
raising their mottled beaks, amazed.
We heard hooves pounding,
shouts, thunder of chariot wheels.
Death before, death behind.
Better to drown
than die by the hands of those bastards.
The kids, though,
did not flinch,
tossing up fistfuls of sand,
diamonds in the sun,
playing on the seabed
We hobbled over,
leaning on each other,
Seems when a soul is crushed
it takes a long time to rinse out the slave.
Though at Pasach, when we gathered,
it would all come back.
We would shake off another chain
see more clearly
Pasach – Passage, No. 2
The night we celebrated Pesach –
what did he say, what did he mean
leaving and that we knew
the way to where he was going?
I was trying to work it
out when another sea split open
not waters humping up like steel cliffs
but a great scythe slashing
through the middle of everything
and him falling, tumbling down into the rift.
where there had been none before
death leering from either side.
I heard the soldiers coming
swords clanking at their sides.
In the acrid air lungs burned, eyes stung
flames draped from clouds.
And while they dragged him off
on the vast lintel and door posts
of the writhing world
and dribbled down
*Hebrew (Pasach) also spelled Pascha for Passover or passage. The verbal form means to protect and to have compassion as well as pass over. Exodus 12 -14; John 14-19
Note to readers: This blog is part of a series of Lenten “short takes” on the themes of lent, which follow more or less the lectionary Scripture lessons for this season. Like a note you find tucked under the bark of a tree, a lozenge to let melt in your mouth, an amulet to wear around your neck, I hope these little reflections may hold a small dose of truth or comfort or challenge for your life on the way to Easter.
In the abundance of words which inundate us daily, it is easy for the message of redemption to be buried under the latest disaster, outrage or scandal. Likewise the familiar stories and passages of lent may grow dull and trite to ears and hearts already stuffed with words.
I have noticed in my work as spiritual director that it is hard for many of us to take in the goodness and grace, as well as the challenge of the story of Jesus and God’s redeeming love. Perhaps we need to titrate the gospel. Sometimes a well- timed, tiny dose, carefully administered, may be what the Physician orders for our healing. And so slowly we build up our tolerance for love and more and more joy finds the faith in us through which to invade our being.
Dose titration: adjustment of the dose until the medication
has achieved the desired effect