looking through me

Tag: vision

fleeting beauty

In the stillness of dawn the thick crescent of a waning moon gleamed in the southern sky. Salmon pink streaks seeped through thin spots in slate-colored clouds to the east. And then they were gone, swallowed whole by gray.

My soul sagged. All week early morning fog shrouded the sunrise, but I thought today would be different. I thought today I would see the brilliance of daybreak. And I did. For fifteen seconds.

The wonder wasn’t minimized by its short duration. But too often I write off anything I can’t hold onto and return to time and again as unworthy of my attention, unworthy of my appreciation. I fail to see the value in the momentary. Yet . . .

Fleeting beauty is still beauty.

Twenty minutes later, I sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic—still watching the sky. The muted palette hinted at the mystery above it. Gunmetal gray places wore an extra blanket of insulation. Other areas were already shedding their covers and lightening to soft, dove grays. I could almost feel the sun’s rays tearing away the layers. Filtered light flooded through as water molecules gave way to the strength of the sun.

There in the thin places—that had ever-so-briefly been pink—I saw how beauty often appears first in the places I perceive as being not ready for display, incomplete, not good enough, temporary or unfinished. Yet they transmit glory. It might only last a moment, but it is real and it is good.

Maybe it’s the fragile strength of vulnerability—not perfection—that creates a canvas worthy of the Artist’s best work. In the clouds . . . and in me.


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cloud of witnesses

My eyes drifted east to the clouds piled in a heap on top of the mountains. Giant tentacles stretched out of it, thick offshoots snaking westward across the sky.

Directly beneath it the sun began to rise. A fiery flush of coral washed over the gray. Second by second the warm blush swept down the cloudy arms. The morning sky came alive.

Its brilliance infiltrated my prayer for our church, “Would You make us like that cloud—reflecting the Son’s glory—taking people’s breath away and drawing them to You? . . . Could we be like that? Could we be a cloud of witnesses?”

Oh! Is that what a cloud of witnesses looks like? I’d always pictured a solitary, massive column, an overwhelming thunderhead. I’d projected an ominous edge to the cloud—I don’t know why—but this . . . this was glorious. The incomparably richer reality before me reshaped the image in my mind.

By the time I pulled into my parking spot at work the cloud had faded to standard gray against an average morning sky. The radiance was gone, but the impression—the vision—remained.

The cloud is just a cloud, but the cloud in communion with the sun is breathtaking.

The church is just a bunch of people, but the church in communion with the Son is altogether holy. Lit by His magnificence, reflecting it outward, we become a living mystery—His constant canvas, His cloud of witnesses—drawing the eyes of others beyond ourselves to Him.

We do it imperfectly. Our glow fades, our unity wavers, our focus falters, our cloud drifts, and yet His mercies are new every morning.

Our mission is clear. Our Hope is here. Our Son is risen.


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