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Reform Magazine | March 28, 2017

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On Pisgah

On Pisgah

A poem by Carla Grosch-Miller

“Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho, and the Lord showed him the whole land….  The Lord said to him: ‘This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, “I will give it to your descendants”; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.’” Deuteronomy 34:1,4

 

A lifetime of scrambling towards holiness was to end here,
amidst a crowd of clouds and the perfect patience
of mountains carved by unseen hands,
a blaze of light breaking through slate grey skies,
mist rising from green sloped rock.

The dream of the promised land burned
onto the back of his eyelids,
he will die in hope.
While we,
scorched by holy fire,
resume the scramble,
lose our footing,
stop to catch our breath,
bruise our shins,
and toss restlessly in our beds,
hoping and praying
for the assurance
of things unseen.

I too would stand at Pisgah,
let hope sear my heart
and a vision of glory
burn the inside of my eyelids.
I too would gladly spend my days
trudging, slipping, sliding, scaling;
scrape my knees,
offer my hands to rock to tear,
let beauty break and bind my heart
that I might glimpse true holiness.

Let the Adversary depart from these heights,
its promises splintering on eternal peaks,
and let the angels come to minister in kindness.
For in the end there is only kindness
that will hearken the kingdom of heaven.

Carla Grosch-Miller is a United Reformed Church minister 
and author of Psalms Redux: Poems and prayers 
(Canterbury Press, £10.99) available from www.urcshop.co.uk

___

This article was published in the February 2016 edition of  Reform.

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