Clouds and the glory of God
What’s the most amazing storm you have ever experienced? Why was it so amazing? Remind yourself of what it felt like.
Have you heard of the cloud appreciation society? It was set up by a guy called Gavin Pretor-Pinney a few years ago and now has a worldwide membership. The society has a manifesto which reads like this:
WE BELIEVE that clouds are unjustly maligned
and that life would be immeasurably poorer without them.
We think that they are Nature’s poetry,
and the most egalitarian of her displays, since
everyone can have a fantastic view of them.
We pledge to fight ‘blue-sky thinking’ wherever we find it.
Life would be dull if we had to look up at
cloudless monotony day after day.
We seek to remind people that clouds are expressions of the
atmosphere’s moods, and can be read like those of
a person’s countenance.
Clouds are so commonplace that their beauty is often overlooked.
They are for dreamers and their contemplation benefits the soul.
Indeed, all who consider the shapes they see in them will save
on psychoanalysis bills.
And so we say to all who’ll listen:
Look up, marvel at the ephemeral beauty, and live life with your head in the clouds!
Well, I have to say that I am a huge cloud fan. I’m not bothered about the science of it but I do love clouds. I was travelling home on the number 40 bus last week, reading my book, I looked up out of the window and there was this most magnificent skyscape. It was so beautiful and breath-taking that I put my book down and just gazed out of the window all the way home. Then when I walked home I kept stopping to see if I could take a picture. What was really interesting is that I couldn’t take an adequate photo. I couldn’t contain its true beauty, you just had to be there. At church, we just looked at the theme of the glory of God. The passage we were looking at is the scene of the Tent of Meeting in Exodus 40, which reads:
“Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.”
I can see why the Lord chose a cloud to display his glory to his people. Clouds are indescribable, beautiful, often terrifying and despite all our great inventions, we can’t manufacture clouds that display such beauty as those that nature does.
- Photo I took from the car driving down Lindisfarne causeway back to the mainland
I was reminded of Psalm 19:
1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
3 There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,
5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is hidden from its heat.
7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is pure,
The ordinances of the LORD are sure
and altogether righteous.
10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the comb.
11 By them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can discern his errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then will I be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.
14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Next time you see an amazing cloud-scape, remember that it is simply the heavens displaying the glory of God!