You've seen it before.
How the night sky is a vast inky darkness, with only a few stars piercing through like pin-heads of light.
Then, as if on cue, across the contour of the eastern horizon, night evaporates into thin layers of dusky pink, with thresholds of soft light rising.
The beauty climbs slowly, highlighting clouds with wispy edges, hanging on to light.
And just as if the lights are lifted on a stage, the sky is illuminated with stunning rays of pinks mixed with orange and the center stage is taken by the sun as it begins its march across the sky one more day.
The sun in all its golden streaming light-glory and clouds curling as they wave across the sky.
On this morning, I grab the camera again, in an attempt to capture the beauty of them.
I have photo files named, “sunrise obsession,” “cloud obsession,” and sub-files under each of those files to contain all the images I have taken this summer of both.
As I child I would lay on my back, my brother often by my side, in the deep cool grass and imagine what we saw in the expanse of the sky. It was easy to see sheep and elephants, trucks and bunnies. And we imagined that we would grow up to be brave and good and have happy lives. But real life brought high walls, dragons to slay and flags flying at half-mast.
And today my imagination runs thin as the daily news, blares horror, tragedy and confusion. The internet chimes in with good people pounding their blog fists of messages that divide too, in the name of unity.
So for a few days I've had to walk away from it all. All the noise and the news.
I go back to the basics.
Sitting in my favorite place, in the first minutes of a fresh day. Reading the Word and what God has to say about all of life. How Jesus came, because there is only One answer to all of this worlds, problems. The epic battle of sin and the war that was won by Love.
And His Love and His Word are pure, clean, filled with hope, love, righteousness and faithfulness.
In those pages there are no longer lines that divide, but passages that say, "Christ is everything and in everything." (read here?)
And in Him we are all one.
As I let the sweetness of damp morning air wash over me I come back to the truth of God’s faithfulness no matter what the world spews out. The red cardinal comes to eat just outside my window, announcing his arrival with sharp snapping sounds, repeated over and over. Somewhere in our subdivision there is a rooster that crows out long and loud. It always makes me smile to hear him the middle of manicured lawns and rows of neatly kept houses. The dove flaps out her mournful sound as she goes to a place of safety and the meadowlark takes his stand on the fence post, belting out his song.
And these pages of the Bible are light, peeling back the dark.
The spiritual stratosphere of my world is reminded that God is able to be in all places, at the same time, bringing power and healing. And He is faithful.
Most often He uses people to do deliver grace and love.
Without suffering, grace is hard to see or to give away. And the people who give the most grace have probably suffered and received it.
Most mornings lately, I walk in the coolest part of these summer days with neighbors who are now friends. I snap pictures of clouds that draw up thin lines in the sky with cool colors of morning. Some days they rise high, with the promise of rain, or hang low overhead like a thick blanket to shield the light.
Indeed I've come to love clouds this summer.
From low hanging wisps to roaring thunderheads they herald a hint of the wind that carries them.
I heave a sigh of relief that God is in control of the things that seem so out-of-control.
Sometimes I wonder what God was thinking when He left this earth to be run by the likes of people. People like me. People like the ones in the news. All of us capable of doing to other people, what we read and hear about.
All the killing, the stealing and the destroying.
I think we all ache to live in a world that is set right and is the way that it was intended to be. I want Jesus to show up every day and fight the bad guys and to rescue the oppressed. I want faith to be easy. I want to sip lemonade under a large umbrella, and watch puffy clouds float by.
But Jesus sends his followers into the world to heal it. We have the Holy Spirit, working through us, imperfect humans to be His hands and feet to the needs around us. We are to be the voice for those who cannot speak. We are to be the arms that hold those who weep.
This whole thing about Jesus being on earth and dying and being raised from the dead? It is hard for some people to believe that He did all that to solve the problem of sin in the world.
But He did.
And He did one more thing.
He ascended into heaven. (Read here?)
And when He ascended, he went into the clouds.
Well of course He did!
Thank goodness, His status in Heaven is not dependent on whether people believe it or not, but it is our status that changes when we believe.
And in the end the Bible says that Jesus will be coming back and guess what He will be riding?
He will be riding on the clouds.
I love that.
The day is coming when the long night and deep darkness will be destroyed. All light will burst forth. No more childish ways or imaginations. The news everyday will be the Good News.
So friends let’s keep our eyes lifted up.
And until that day, we love and serve those in our lives and cling to the faithfulness of God.
Then I saw Heaven open wide - and oh!
a white horse and its Rider.
The Rider, named Faithful and True.