Monday, November 30, 2015

He's coming in the clouds

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.


  1. Is this all of it? I was actually really looking forward to your sermon posting this week because I wanted to reread it and revisit some thoughts I had during service, but I think the parts that sparked my thoughts aren't here. I think there was more about watching the news, how that made you feel, and how that related to your circle of friends!

  2. Sorry Caroline. This is just a blog post and not the sermon. I didn't have it in final written form this week and didn't have time to get it together since I was on vacation all week. Actually the part you're referring to just came to me while I was preaching and I threw it in.
    My point was that it's easy to think there is no reason to hope if you believe what the media tells you. But in my world I am with people all the time who give me hope. I'd rather base my hope on my actual experience than on hyped up view of the world from the perspective of people who make it their business tom convince us we're all doomed because people are so messed up.


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