The information age we live in recently entered a new phase called “cloud computing.” IBM coined the phrase “The Cloud” to describe a storage concept (actually it’s a device) for storing data on a detached or remote computer.
A mainframe device set up to receive wireless transmissions in the way we use to send hardwired data to mainframes, using transmission control protocol (TCP) and Internet protocol (IP), commonly called (TCP/IP).
But this is not really new. Throughout scripture, God uses wireless communication of His own, a “transmission cloud protocol” (TCP) which transports us into His presence (IP).
Over and over, in the Bible, the glory of the Lord appears in the form of clouds.
Moses received the 10 Commandments in a cloud (Exodus 19:9). Daniel (7:13) saw “the ‘Son of Man’ coming with the clouds of heaven.”
The Israelites in the desert (Exodus 13:21) were “led and protected by day, by a cloud.” Acts (1:9) says, “A cloud hid Jesus as He was taken up into heaven.” Mark (9:7) tells us, “Men will see the ‘Son of Man’ coming in a cloud with great power and glory.” Paul tells us (I Thessalonians 4:17), “Jesus is coming back and we who are left will be ‘caught up with Him in the clouds.’”
In the New Testament, Luke 9:28-36, Christ is transfigured on the mountain top in a cloud. He “transfigures through humility,” “transforms through prayer” and, finally, He “transcends into glory,” all hidden by a cloud.
First, Christ is transfigured through humility: “He went up into the mountain to pray,” says Luke 9:28. Humility frequently led Christ to pray because He didn’t pretend to know everything and He didn’t think He could get along in life without frequently seeking, through prayer, advice from His Father.
Christ’s transfiguration on the mountain was meant to show us it is our duty to escape the busi-ness of life, to pray. When Moses and Elijah appeared to Christ on that mountain, it was to tell Him His life’s mission, which was to die in Jerusalem for our sins.
Prayer humbles us. If sincerely done, it elevates and enlarges our hearts. As we pray, we become transformed by our humility.
Our humble prayers position us for transformation because prayer is transformational. In prayer we get “Caught up in the Clouds” but we must watch our “transmission control protocols” (TCP) when praying.
We’ve got to control our attitude, our tone and our disposition when praying to God.
So what happened back then? It wasn’t until after Christ’s resurrection that the disciples finally understood it all.
It was then that they were better equipped to share their “Transfiguration” experience. The wireless transmission from God on that mountain top was a “Transporting Cloud Protocol” (TCP) and it became transformational “Into the Presence of God” (IP) and the disciples, for a moment, were all caught up in the clouds.
They transcended through prayer into glory. Our humble prayer after transformation starts us into a transcendental ascension. Through prayer, we transcend into His glory and then on into the clouds and thus into His presence (IP).
With the proper posture, tone and attitude in prayer, we can fetch wisdom from the clouds, we can fetch grace from the clouds, we can fetch joy from the clouds and these precious gifts, when fetched from the clouds through prayer, can make our faces shine.
Exodus 34:29-30 tells us, “When Moses came down from the presence of God (in the clouds) he wasn’t even aware that his face was radiant — so radiant that the people were afraid to come near him.”
In His transfiguration, Jesus was willing to enter into the clouds to have a discourse with the Prophets concerning His death and suffering, just to teach us that it is our acceptance of our own destiny and mortality that truly frees us.
If we are willing to transcend our fear of death, we learn our thoughts on our earthly departure are never inappropriate, just liberating.
Why, one might ask?
It is in such deliberations that we ask ourselves several critical questions: Are we on point in our life’s mission? Are we headed to our own personal Jerusalem? Are we ready to get caught up in the clouds of heaven?
We should all hope to get caught up into the clouds when Jesus returns to get those He left behind.
*The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door UCC in Miami’s Liberty City community. He may be reached at 305-759-0373 or firstname.lastname@example.org