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The Face of God

Lovely face, majestic face,
     face of beauty, face of flame,
the face of the Lord God of Israel
     when He sits upon His throne of glory,
     robed in praise upon His seat of splendour.
His beauty surpasses
     the beauty of the aged,
His splendour outshines
     the splendour of newly-weds
          in their bridal chamber.

Whoever looks at Him
     is instantly torn;
whoever glimpses His beauty
     immediately melts away.
Those who serve Him today
     no longer serve Him tomorrow;
those who serve Him tomorrow
     no longer serve Him afterwards;
for their strength fails and their faces are charred,
their hearts reel and their eyes grow dim
     at the splendour and radiance
          of their king’s beauty.

Beloved servants, lovely servants,
     swift servants, light-footed servants,
who stand before the stone of the throne
     of glory,
who wait upon the wheel
     of the chariot.
When the sapphire of the throne of glory
     whirls at them,
when the wheel of the chariot
     hurls past them,
those on the right
     now stand again to the left,
those on the left
     now stand again to the right,
those in front
     now stand again in back,
those in back
     now stand again in front.

He who sees the one says,
     ‘That is the other’.
And he who sees the other says,
     ‘That is the one’.
For the visage of the one
     is like the visage of the other;
and the visage of the other
     is like the visage of the one.

Happy the King
     who has such servants,
and happy the servants
     who have such a King.
Happy the eye
     that sees
     and feeds
     upon this wondrous light —
          a wondrous vision
          and most strange!

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