2nd Sunday Lent – Into the Cloud of Knowing and Unknowing…
Liturgists have made us of the desert to signify lots of different Lenten themes. Wilderness, ashes, fasting, almsgiving, & prayer. Sunday’s gospel suggests the cloud as a place of encountering Christ, the law & the prophets, our humanity, and such.
It’s the place on the mountain of transformation. Of listening. Of wondering. Of seeing only Jesus. I’m not recommending a fog machine. But a place to pray within our hearts – to meet Christ, who walks the path of diminishment, and our own lives, who seek to walk the path of accomplishment. What new might come from this meeting in the cloud?
Cloud = nephele
Mark 9:6–8 He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
On the last day: Mark 13:24–27 “But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
On the last day: Mark 14:61f But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus said, “I am; and ‘you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power,’ and ‘coming with the clouds of heaven.’ ”
A sign of peace: Genesis 9:16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”
Guiding & saving: Exodus 13:21f The Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
On the last day: Exodus 24:15–18 Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.
On the great & terrible day: Joel 2:1f (NRSV) — 1 Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near— 2 a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness! Like blackness spread upon the mountains a great and powerful army comes; their like has never been from of old, nor will be again after them in ages to come.
On the last day: Jeremiah 4:11–14 (NRSV) — 11 At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem: A hot wind comes from me out of the bare heights in the desert toward my poor people, not to winnow or cleanse— 12 a wind too strong for that. Now it is I who speak in judgment against them. 13 Look! He comes up like clouds, his chariots like the whirlwind; his horses are swifter than eagles— woe to us, for we are ruined! 14 O Jerusalem, wash your heart clean of wickedness so that you may be saved. How long shall your evil schemes lodge within you?