The Week Before Ash Wednesday

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. (Exodus 24:15-16)

In seven days the smell of burnt palm

Will be the smudge of ash on skin.

In seven days the feast will be the fast,

And fast will we fall on skinned knees,

Torn by time spent too long on our feet.

Our hands clutch so many things,

That we cannot catch ourselves in descent.

Our eyes weary from unresting,

We do not see the cloud of mystery

Beckoning us to the mountain,

Beckoning us to climb towards the holy.

In seven days the smoke of 'dust to dust'

Will swirl around our broken souls,

But first must come these six days.

 With Moses we can listen

For a voice from the cloud,

A voice that once said, "Let there be."

With Moses we can peer through fog

In search of glory's sliver.

With Moses we can wait

For the rest of the seventh day

When the voice we long to hear

Declares the dust of us "very good,"

And names us the Beloved.