With the dawn of a new church year, we have launched a new feature on our website, a weekly post of poetry that resonates with the lectionary readings for that week.
*** Revised Common Lectionary ***
2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14
Rosa Emma Salaman
Thou child of God! oh, be it thine to know—
Though sad thy lot, though deep soe’er thy wo,
Though desolate thy path, though weak and lone—
Thy God regards thee, for thou art his own.
Angels are round thee when thou art most drear;
Thy tears they see, thy faintest sighs they hear;
They leave their heavenly Paradise above,
To aid thee with their presence and their love.
There is no spot so sacred, none so blest,
As that whereon the holy people rest.
In grief Elijah laid his weary head
Beneath a tree; when near his lonely bed
A beauteous presence stands, whose radiant form,
Like a bright rainbow after heavy storm,
Betokens peace; so, most serenely bright,
His soul is touched with pure, benignant light.
The lovely form! the mild, majestic mien!
In which a tender sympathy is seen.
“Arise, and eat; the journey is too great,
Thy patience fails thee, trust in God and wait!”
Thus felt, thus looked the messenger divine,
While soft compassion in his face did shine.
Beloved of God! thou dost not comprehend
Thy sacred mission and thy glorious end.
Oh, Israel! seek to know, and thou wilt find
Thy God in every breeze, in every wind.
Like thee, Elijah, was sent forth to prove
“The Lord is God,” and none but He above;
Like thee, Elijah, was oppressed by foes,
With none but God to cling to in his woes;
Like thee, he was discouraged and distressed,
But with His faith, like him thou wouldst he blest.
Oh, wondrous faith! when earth and heaven are thine,
When barren rocks and caves with beauty shine!
Elijah rose; again erect he stands,
And eats the food prepared by angels’ hands;
With heavenly might imbued, he walks along,
And sighs are changed to most melodious song.
How wonderful God’s dealings with his own!
That “still, small voice,” that most angelic tone,
Seemed to Elijah too divinely sweet
To sound on earth, for mortal ear to meet.
He hides his face; but ah! not yet is come
That glorious transit to the prophet’s home.
O child of God! afflicted, think of this,
A day awaits thee, ‘tis a day of bliss,
When God decides if earth or heaven shall be
The fittest place of happiness for thee.
A thousand chariots at his bidding rise
To bear thee up in triumph to the skies;
A thousand “ministers of flaming fire,” Who wing their way through heaven at his desire.
See, where it comes, the fiery coursers fly,
The gorgeous car is riding through the sky;
His angels, breathless, stand and take their post,
To greet Elijah ‘mongst the heavenly host.
Hark! ’tis shout of triumph! glory shone
A momentary blaze, and he is gone!
*** This poem is in the public domain,
and may be read in a live-streamed worship service.
Rabbi Rachel Barenblat
Elijah walks the streets
with Moshiach’s phone number
programmed into his cellphone.