Bleh. What a god-awful day. Grey, dingy drizzle chills the marrow of my bones. All I want to do is crawl under a down comforter and sit by a fire with a cup of hot cocoa in my hands. But of course, that ain’t gonna happen.
Instead I’m in the car shuffling around East Charlotte in the yuckiness and thinking about the bizarre message of Advent 1 that tells us Jesus is coming in the clouds.
I would guess that if you stopped people on the street and asked them, “Where do you expect to see Jesus?” none of them would say, “In the clouds.” Well, maybe in those fluffy, puffy clouds that are dabbed across a sky blue canvass on a perfect day, the kind of day we had yesterday. Or maybe people would expect to see him sliding down a rainbow, or appearing in the rays of sunshine streaming out over the horizon at dawn, or in any number of natural wonders that leave our mouths gaping in wonder. But on a day like today, not so much.
The people who wrote the Hebrew Scriptures seemed to get that because, for them, the clouds were the place where God was hidden. And yet, Jesus promises that he is coming in the clouds. Hmmm. As usual, in Jesus, God shatters our expectations and surprises us with a new way of seeing.
So, I’m thinking about the way I experience Jesus in my life and, guess what? When I’m feeling most discouraged, when life seems hopeless… when it feels like a dark cloud hovers over days… Jesus comes. It’s true. He comes in a word of encouragement, in the warm embrace of a grandson, in expressions of love and caring from the faith community I am blessed to have in my life, in songs of hope and in a simple meal of bread and wine. Just when I thought he was nowhere to be seen, there he is.
My colleague Reggie used to say, "When you're down to nothing, God is up to something!" And so Jesus comes to us in the clouds. When things seem most desperate to us, it's a sign that God is on the move. When it feels like we can't go on, Jesus is about to make an entrance. As people of faith, we can count on that.
Jesus promised us that he's coming in the clouds. And so he does. Again and again.