Five Minutes on Friday #24


After our last column ‘on clouds’ by Ian Brown I got to thinking about the Bible and clouds.  Here’s a sampling of some of the stories & texts that came to mind:

        God set a rainbow in the clouds after the flood (Genesis 9).    

        Moses on the mountain with God (Exodus 33).           

        Elijah being caught up into heaven on a fiery chariot (2 Kings 2.11).          

        Yahweh is called a ‘cloud-rider’ (Psalm 68.5).                               

        The voice of God comes from a cloud at the Transfiguration (Mark 9.7)     

        A cloud masks the departure from earth of Jesus (Acts 1.9).           

       Jesus return in the clouds (Revelation 1.7).

In the Bible clouds were experienced and understood as awesome manifestations of the Divine’s power.

Happy sky watching!   

LIMBO – a movie

Set on a remote Scottish island, refugees struggle to find meaning in their lives as they await the processing of their asylum claims.  The bleakness of the landscape mirrors the bleakness of their lives as they remember what they have lost and contemplate an unknown future.

Omar is a young Syrian musician who has carried his oud all the way from his homeland.  His family had great hopes for him but now his musical gifts seem more of a burden than a gift.

Farhad, his roommate loves chickens and steals one from a local farmer to keep as a pet in their trailer.

The Scottish residents are not hostile but neither are they overly warm toward these strangers.  And the two Scots who are hired to instruct them in the English language and cultural awareness are two of the strangest teachers you could ever hope to meet.

A fine, quiet film which gives us a penetrating experience of what it feels like to be an outsider.

Available on Netflix or at the SP Library for borrowing.


READ – Genesis 1.1-2.3

Today is Earth Day, a day to reflect on our beautiful planet and a day to reflect on the Climate emergency that we face.  As Christians, we are challenged by our own scriptures to be good stewards of creation.  OT scholar Terence Fretheim, reflecting on the creation story says this:

‘That the Bible begins with Genesis, not Exodus, with creation, not redemption, is of immeasurable importance for understanding all that follows…God has established a special relationship with each and every creature….  What does it mean for our environmental considerations that God has made promises to the animals and other creatures?’        

For an insightful take on the climate issues of our time and how to have respectful conversations even with those we disagree with, here is a link to an interview with Katherine Hayhoe.  Hayhoe is an evangelical Christian, a climate scientist, and a great communicator.  We all have much to learn.


“You are above me O God; You are beneath; You are in air; You are in earth; You are beside me; You are within.  O God of heaven, you have made your home on earth in the broken body of Creation.  Kindle within me a love for you in all things.”

[Celtic prayer for the love of creation – John Philip Newell]