Journey to the Promised Land

I stand at the edge of this wilderness
Weary with the journey to get here.
So long ago we left our lives in Egypt.
Some days, I can still taste
the bread and delicious fruits
watered by the Nile.

At the beginning, the journey was exciting.
There was the pillaging of the Egyptians
After the death of the first born.
Moses told us to paint our doorposts
With sacrificial blood to survive.
We had to leave in such a hurry,
No time to let the bread rise.

Of course, the Egyptians realized
We were escaping their control.
They came after us.
Through Moses, God saved us
by parting the Red Sea.
How grateful and hopeful we were that day.

But we have wandered a long way from that time
Following the Pillar of Cloud.
At Mount Horeb, Moses went up the mountain.
We worried when he didn’t come down.
Some people decided that he wasn’t coming back,
Argued that following him
Into the wilderness was a mistake.

(I never really understood—Why a Golden Calf?
We were slaves, not the chosen people of the Egyptian gods.)

I was not surprised when
Moses was furious at this betrayal.
Had not we seen enough signs
of God’s continuing Presence?

But, sometimes, I wonder if Moses really knows
How to get to the promised land.
We have endured snakes and thirst.
No wonder we grumble.
Once we lived in plenty.
Moses says that Egypt looked alive
But, because we were slaves,
We were spiritually dead.

Now we wander in a dry land that seems dead.
Food is scarce and water hard to find.
If not for the miraculous manna and quails,
The water from the rock,
We would all be dead with hunger and thirst.
I must admit that I am tired of manna.
If I never eat another quail, I would die happy.
Sometimes at night, I look up at the stars
And wonder if I will ever see
The sky over the Promised land.

Ruth Meredith, 2020

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