A scene in the gospels recently etched an image on my mind when Jesus took James, Peter and John up a mountain to experience something new of His presence. The encounter involved the spirit of Moses and Elijah but also the transfigured Christ (Matthew 17, Mark 9, Luke 9).
The message paraphrase of the Bible describes the manifest presence of Jesus in that moment in this way,
“…as they found themselves buried in the cloud they became deeply aware of God”
The Greek word for ‘creation’ is ‘poema’, the root word for poem.
If you look at the sky on a crisp, clear night and begin counting the countless twinkling stars; or if you feel the fading warmth of a day’s heat on your face as you watch the sun dip under the dusty horizon of the grand canyon; or if you stare in disbelief during a solar eclipse – the sky is an amazing part of God’s poetic creation.
I’ve never thought about creation as a poem before.
Poems need rhyme, meter, rhythm, lyrical hooks, themes and originality. Some poems are obscure and difficult to ‘get’. Others seem child-like and too superficial to have any impact. But other poems can touch you deeply.
Creation should touch us deeply.
The sea touches me deeply as do songs and melodies and peoples’ words and BBC classics like The Frozen Planet. But it was the sky that touched me this Christmas.
It is like a canvas onto which God projects all manner of colour and shade and cumulus form. And clouds concealed Jesus when He left planet earth and it will be the clouds that are his foot-stool when He returns.
To me, the sky represents heaven touching earth. If there was going to be a portal to touch and walk through to enter the other heavenly reality, it would be the sky. It seems so ultimate and ethereal in that it can’t be touched, too high and lofty to fully appreciate. But one day Jesus will split the sky.
Finally, it is virtually impossible to think about the sky without thinking about clouds, in the same way it is impossible for a Christian to think about God and not think about grace and love. Skies contain clouds and clouds represent the presence of the Almighty.
I hope when you next look at the sky or a cloud, or the waters of the sea, or even a flower bed on a busy roundabout, that you remember that ‘creation’ all around is a ‘poem’ to be read.
What is the poem of the world around you saying, today?