Priests clad in white tunics with sash
grasp thurible and incense shovels
as they approach the altar, soon to smoke
aromatic calamus and spikenard,
frankincense and myrrh,
as others stand by bearing ewers for libations,
all the while intoning orisons and benisons
to the singular and universal God of Israel,
everywhere present, nowhere apparent.
Levites begin the din of hymns,
their chorus and orchestra
of lutenists, lyrists, and harpers
strumming melic odes ascending the ether
while on the horizon anxious pilgrims
traverse the fordable Jordan,
elevating themselves to lofty heights
of spirit and terrain, whose crowning fane
welcomes the weary.
Atop the peristylar esplanade
god-sodden crowds from every province
cram the jambs of courtyards,
proffering festal offerings as melodies
resound off the edifice and columns of limestone
first erected and hallowed by forebears.
Soon David’s scion mounts a rostrum
and recites a pericope from the pandect
guiding their lives, stories and statutes
instilling discipline, enduing Israel with
a unique vocation amongst the nations.
Here the humble mumble and tremble,
edifying their character, embracing the cumbrance,
pledging their energies and strengths
to perfecting the world under divine sovereignty.