The following is a sample opening consecration used in a cohort meeting of Maestro-level leaders:
Three questions are put to the great leader Ezra in the apocryphal book of 2 Esdras:
  1. What does a fire weigh?
  2. Can a blast of wind be measured?
  3. Can we bring back a day that is past?
These questions come because Ezra keeps asking God to explain why so many must suffer and so few are rescued. The point of the challenge given him is that many things are beyond human understanding and ability.
But wait a minute! Maybe answers to these questions were not possible for Ezra, but can't we measure fire? Can't we judge the force of wind blast? Can't we recall a day?  The answer is both yes and no.
  1. We can measure BTUs.
  2. We have instruments to measure windspeed.
  3. We store and retrieve data from our days--journals, photos, videos, and meeting minutes in which we recall and perhaps virtually re-live specific moments. 
And yet, even though we can approximate a measure of fire, wind and time we cannot speak them into being or action.  Even if we use voice activation to make some software/hardware combination perform a task, we are not speaking ex nihilo as God reportedly does. Evoking a little Patrick Rothfuss here, we don't know the true name of the wind. The measures we use require assistance and we cannot create them by the power of our voice alone. We cannot know without using tools we set up to serve us.
I recently read this story about Ezra in my rocking chair by the hearth of our wood burning stove lit against a March early morning chill.  This morning ritual near our hearth is an illustration all its own of how human understanding has grown since Ezra's time.
FIRE- Fire is a means to heat my home. The place and size of my fire, the choice of wood density, the size of the iron box it sits in to radiate heat, and the thermostat on the far wall are expressions of measure.
WIND - Two tiny fans sit on top of the wood burning stove. Powered by the heat of the stove they circulate air throughout the room. The number of fans and the way they are placed precisely control the level and speed of air circulation inside the walls and roof erected to block out other breezes.
DAY - Most days start in my rocking chair. My beloved seat is an anchoring point in the stream of time--a daily repetition in which I can review the past, remind myself of what is most precious right now, and from which to cast outward to the future.
With the help of these tools to encompass and govern my environment I have some means to participate with the Lord of the universe -- weighing fire, harnessing the breeze, recalling and casting forward in time. These daily and seemingly mundane tools tools serve best, however, when they remind me of my human limitation and dependence, and when they remind me that I am a grateful penitent rather than an arrogant and omnipotent deity.
Poets get at this theme the best.  Consider this blessing from John O'Donohue, written for those who hold power.  Or, you can just listen to this clip of him reading it on the radio show On Being.

May the gift of leadership awaken in you as a vocation,
Keep you mindful of the providence that calls you to serve.
As high over the mountains the eagle spreads its wings,
May your perspective be larger than the view from the foothills.

When the way is flat and dull in times of gray endurance,
May your imagination continue to evoke horizons.
When thirst burns in times of drought,
May you be blessed to find the wells.
May you have the wisdom to read time clearly
And know when the seed of change will flourish.

In your heart may there be a sanctuary
For the stillness where clarity is born.
May your work be infused with passion and creativity
And have the wisdom to balance compassion and challenge.

May your soul find the graciousness
To rise above the fester of small mediocrities.
May your power never become a shell
Wherein your heart would silently atrophy.
May you welcome your own vulnerability
As the ground where healing and truth join.

May integrity of soul be your first ideal.
The source that will guide and bless your work.

Questions for Reflection:

(It is recommended to precede any discussion with 5-10 minutes of silence to work through the questions and create talking points for discussion)

1. Is your starting point a bit more grateful penitent or arrogant deity? How do you know? What do you want it to be? What would others who know you well say?

2. As you move deeper into a Third Turn how might you better participate with something or Someone greater than you?

3. What stands out to you from the O'Donohue poem? Why?

4. As we've worked through these questions what is happening in your body? What emotions are you experiencing? What do you find yourself thinking about the most?


Mark L. Vincent
Post by Mark L. Vincent
April 29, 2021
I walk alongside leaders, listening to understand their challenges, and helping them lead healthy organizations that flourish.