AND FROM THE CLOUD
with Rev. Rachel
5 AND FROM THE CLOUD - Matthew 17
You're either a mountain person or you're not. I don't recall ever being given the option. In fact, it was understood that time with Dad mean time with Grammy and Grand-pop and when Grammy and Grand-pop weren't in Atlanta, they were in Jonas Ridge, North Carolina. On Gingercake Mountain.
Getting to Gingercake was easy – three-quarters of the way. Then came the twists and turns for which the front seat and chewing on ice did a whole lot of nothing. The only thing that made a difference in the last leg of the trip was the weather.
Fog meant less visibility. Less visibility meant a heightened fear of tractor-trailers. Fog meant, for this girl, carsickness compounded.
Pilots know. Those who forecast weather know. Clouds can mean turbulence. Clouds can mean damaging storms. A cloud is a force to be reckoned with: Appalachia taught me that.
If you're with me in gladness that there are 26 more days left in winter, and 18 days until the time springs forward, the fewer the clouds the better. Right?
Well, this Sunday’s texts feature God, God calling, mountains, and—wait for it— clouds. “Moses entered the cloud (Exodus 24).” “Suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them and from the cloud a voice (Matthew 17)...”
The Scriptures have tied the glory of God and encounters with God to clouds.
If there is a prayer we can pray when we find ourselves looking up at them, maybe it begins with remembrance. A cloud pillar led the Israelites out of Egypt; for the Mesopotamians, Egyptians and Greeks, the cloud symbolized creation, fertility, divine power, and protection.
Author Iimani David: “Thirty-nine years of my life had passed before I understood that clouds were not my enemy; that they were beautiful, and that I needed them.”
I am not prepared to make a case for why we, the Church, need them. I am however inclined to soften my stance toward those vapor masses travelling the sky. We are a people born not only of the water (our baptism) but also of the mist. Any chance to connect with our sacred past and present is most precious.