Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The recognition, part 22: the Cloud of God

And as these were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah"-not realizing what he was saying. While he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!" (Luke 9:33-35 NASB)

Peter awakened to find Moses and Elijah speaking with Jesus. His first words were an offer to build tabernacles for all three. It wasn't a well thought out plan, it was simply the first thing out of his mouth, a spontaneous offer of service.

Suddenly, a very surprising thing happened. A cloud began to form and overshadow them. The word used here is the same term to describe the cloud that led the children of Israel by day and rested over them. Thayer's describes this as a "shining cloud, surrounding and enveloping them with brightness". Exodus 13 tells us that the Lord went before them in the pillar of cloud, and He was in this cloud, as well, surrounding Jesus, the disciples, and the heavenly visitors. Imagine this, if you can. The cloud of the presence of God gradually overshadowed them and surrounded them on all sides with incredible heavenly brightness and the presence of God. 

Pause and consider. 

Surrounded by the presence of God. How amazing would that be? What is even more amazing is that we can be not just surrounded by the Spirit of God, but filled with His Spirit. Jesus promised that, when He left, His Spirit would remain as our Comforter to lead us in the way in which we should go, helping us to have fruitful lives filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. We do not experience God's presence in a single once-in-a-lifetime cloud on a mountain. We can experience His presence through His Spirit on a daily, continuous basis, if we will. 

Oh, dear ones, reach out to our Lord, who longs to fill us with His Presence and lead us with His Spirit. Our lives can carry  the presence of God as we go, infusing our world with the light of God, if we will allow it. 

There's a prayer that captures the essence of this infilling. "Come, Holy Spirit. Fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love." Indeed. Come and fill us. Give us passion to change the world with God's love.