We lay on our backs in the cool grass, two ten-year-olds, shading our eyes from the sun with one hand and pointing at cloud-shapes with the other. “There! A Cheshire cat! See its grin?” “Yes! And, look there! An elephant, standing on its hind legs!” “Where?” There!” “Oh, I see it now!” And the afternoon melted away as quickly as the shape-shifting clouds that formed and reformed in the eyes of our imagination. “What do clouds feel like?” I wondered. “Can I sit on them, like the baby angels in the pictures in my Bible? And, is God up there looking down from the other side?”
That summer day of my youth came flooding back, making me smile, as I leaned forward in the plane, glad to have a window seat. I held my breath as the earth fell away and the plane soared up, up, up into the clouds. What a joy to see those cloud-sculptures again from a birds-eye view! At 10,000 feet, I am eyeball to eyeball with a box turtle, a baby dragon, a fish swimming in the deep, blue sky. And, I can feel God hovering on the sunny side of the clouds, so real I expect to see him behind the next one, or the next. And, I understand what moved Pilot Officer Gilespie Magee to pen his poem entitled High Flight. He wrote,
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds… Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
I do feel closer to God when airborn; the plane slicing through the clouds like a hot knife through butter. So intense is his presence when I fly that it’s as though I can reach out and touch God’s face, just as surely as he has touched mine. There is a book from the 1300’s called The Cloud of Unknowing that speaks of our longing to know God despite what seems like a thick cloud between us. “Knock on that cloud!” the author says. “Beat on it with your fist until God sends a beam of his love to cut through the darkness and pierce your heart. Then, you will know God better than anything man can tell you.” I don’t think we have to work at it that hard. I think that the longing, the simple upward glance, is all it takes for God to reveal himself to us. God wants us to know him. That is why he sent Jesus, so that all might come to know God by his love. You don’t have to beat at the clouds with your fist. You don’t have to soar above the clouds to touch and be touched by God. God comes down! God will always come down! God longs to meet you where you are, on land, on sea, in sky… All you have to do is open your heart, and let his love come in.
Blessings, Pastor Barb <><
“Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” John 14:23