Sunday, November 26, 2006

Having Your Head in the Clouds

Last Sunday of the Church Year
Sunday of the Fulfillment
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14

We probably all know someone who has their head in the clouds. They often seem to be daydreaming or simply seem to be out of touch with reality. Dear friends in Christ, this is us—we have our head in the clouds. Ask anyone you know who doesn’t believe in Jesus about the three Scripture readings today and they’ll probably think you believe in a fairy tale if you really believe the stuff that’s in there. And we have to admit, it’s some pretty strange stuff.

These Scripture readings give us fanciful descriptions of God and His reign and the end times and seem preposterous to many. But if we can get our head in the clouds to see what these descriptions are showing us, we’ll actually have a very practical outlook on our life.

One thing common to all three readings is the description of Jesus coming with the clouds. This suggests to us that we can’t be so quick to bring things “down to earth”. We must remember that this is not our true home. Heaven is our home. We are strangers and pilgrims on this earth. We belong here, yes, because God has placed us here. But this is not where we ultimately belong.

Having our head in the clouds the way the Bible leads us to will give us three practical ways to put our lives into perspective and help us live day to day. The first is that we must truly have our head in the clouds but never deny the life God has given us on this earth. We live in this world and we must not fall into the trap of thinking that just because something is physical or temporal means that it’s bad.

It’s true that the greatest blessings of God are spiritual and eternal. But He has just as readily given us many good things in this life to use for enjoyment and our benefit. We can rejoice in the good things God has given us in this life. We can and should enjoy our family and friends, the material possessions we have, nature and all its wonders, the abilities we have, the many exciting things we enjoy doing whether it’s art or games or hobbies.

And since He gives these things to us so that we may benefit from them we should remember that they are for the benefit of everyone. So we shouldn’t just use them for ourselves. We should rejoice also in using them for the benefit of others and help them see how they are good gifts from God.

The second way we should have our head in the clouds is by looking forward instead of constantly in the present. Yes, we may enjoy the blessings of this life but we mustn’t get caught up in them. We should see them and use them for what they are—blessings God gives to us for our benefit and the benefit of others. We must also remember, though, that we are here today and gone tomorrow. We don’t know how long we have in this life. Everything we have on this earth we will lose when our life comes to an end.

So we must look to the clouds. That’s where Jesus will return. We must always be aware that He could come at any moment. We must always remember that He wants to take us to our true home, heaven. If we lose sight of that we could lose heaven forever. Enjoying the things of this life doesn’t mean forgetting about what is to come, where God is taking us once our life here comes to an end.

And this leads us to the third way we Christians have our head in the clouds. It’s kind of a melding of the first two. We have our head in the clouds when we are mindful of where we’re going and where we are while realizing why we’re here. We know where God wants us to be—heaven—but we also know that there’s a purpose for why He wants us here for the present.

The purpose is described most beautifully in the three Scripture readings with images of people from all nations, thousands upon thousands giving glory to the one Lord and Savior. How will people know if we ignore our ultimate destination and just live for today, enjoying life as it comes but never looking beyond this life? How will they know if we ignore why we’re here on this earth while we wait for that day of our Lord’s Return? If we’re always looking ahead and forgetting that there’s life to live now, people to love now, the Gospel to share now, then we’ll just have our head in the clouds but no Christ in those clouds.

When Christ was hanging on the cross with His death imminent, the clouds seemed to make a statement about why Christ was hanging there suffering. The clouds darkened the sky and everything spiritual and eternal Christ had proclaimed and pointed to seemed to be snuffed out in the darkness. But it was in the darkness of the covering of those clouds that the brightness of God’s love showed through. The clouds may have darkened the skies over Him; the tomb may have enclosed His lifeless body; all may have seemed in vain, both spiritual and physical things; but God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ. All was not lost.

And just as on Easter Sunday the sun rose in the east, so the Son of Man rose victoriously from His grave. Just as the clouds gave way to a brightness that fills the world with light and warmth, so the Son of God has ascended into heaven, being covered with the clouds, to reign on high forever and having a very personal involvement with your life and mine. He is interceding for us. He is blessings in every spiritual way, giving us strength that we may have our head in the clouds.

For those clouds that covered Him up will reveal Him to the world on the Last Day. On that day we will join with the thousands and millions who are even now in pure glory giving all honor and praise to the God Most High. Amen.

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