sky-panorama-with-clouds-1479164-1598x485 Philippe Ramakers freeimages

© Philippe Ramakers, freeimages

Cloud watching

I love the sky, how it’s always moving and changing. Everyone has access to a little bit of sky, and no matter how messy and chaotic our lives can get on the ground the clouds blow past regardless.

If it’s not actually raining, or indeed if you don’t mind lying down in the rain, spread out a picnic blanket on the ground outside and spend five minutes looking up. This will save you getting neck ache! If you can’t face getting down on the floor, just stand and stare. If you can’t leave your home or place of work, grab a cup of tea and look at the sky out of the window for five minutes, or make a date to do some cloud watching from the window of your bus.

Maybe you’re having a grey overcast day and can barely see the sun glowing faintly through a layer of altostratus clouds. Perhaps you’re fascinated by the wisps of cirrus clouds feathering the blue sky, or are awed by a towering and majestic cumulonimbus heralding the onset of a storm. Clouds are other-worldly and constantly fascinating.

Have a read of Psalm 147: 7-8 while you do your cloud gazing.

Sing to the Lord with grateful praise;

make music to our God on the harp.

He covers the sky with clouds;

he supplies the earth with rain

and makes grass grow on the hills.

Putting down:

Cloud watching is one of the most transcendent things I do in my everyday life. Looking up and above helps me to remember that the world is larger than my own fears and concerns. The beauty of the sky helps me to get more of a perspective on my life. That feeling of being absorbed by something so much greater than yourself, with such a different sense of pace and priorities, also reminds me of how it feels to be absorbed into God’s reality, putting aside my own timetable and wish lists, and trying to attune myself to the winds of the Holy Spirit.

Lord, as I am filled with a sense of peace and awe watching the clouds above me, so fill me with a sense of peace and awe as I rest in your presence. Amen.


Journeying on:

It’s amazing to think that those clouds up there are all made out of tiny drops of water, often water as ice crystals, suspended in the air, and shaped and moulded by the air currents and the breeze. Eventually they will fall as rain, soak into the ground and trickle through streams and rivers, maybe even trickle through you! They’ll continue their journey possibly as far as the ocean before once more becoming water vapour and soaring up into the skies again. Reflect over your journey in the light of the water cycle. Are there some parts that particularly resonate with you at the moment?

Lord, as the water you have made speaks to me of my journey, so I am reminded that all your creation gives you praise, and I join in with creation’s song. Amen.


wild_lent_new_cover_copyThis post was an extract from Wild Lent: Discovering God Through Creation by Rachel Summers (Kevin Mayhew, 2017), 128 pages, £7.99.