Following Matts suggestion some of the interesting googlings on the Shekinah Cloud...
[www.desertvoice.org]That dark cloud which overcame Peter and James and John with Our Lord is the cloud of God’s glory, the shekinah cloud, as the Jewish people would call it, the “glory cloud”. It is the cloud that filled the meeting tent when Moses met face-to-face with God. It is the cloud that filled the temple when Solomon first dedicated it to the Lord. It is the cloud that overcame our Blessed Lady when she conceived Our Lord in her womb. And it is the same cloud that will overcome us if we are willing to enter into God’s glory. It is called a dark cloud because, as we know, if we try to look at something that is too brilliant we will be blinded, and so God in His mercy lets us enter into the darkness. But it is in the darkness that the brilliance is understood and recognized.
[shekinah.elysiumgates.com]Shekinah means "presence of God" and relates to the feminine aspect of the Holy Trinity. It is the energy that sanctifies from within the dimension of matter or the Holy Spirit. Shekinah is the visible manifestation of the divine presence. One place within the Old Testament it appeared as the cloud that followed the children of Isreal in the desert.
Adam tried to answer but his mouth was as dry as cotton with fright. "I don't know what we're going to do...We can't go into His presence like this!" Something has happening to us!
A strange dark feeling they had never known began to grip them. Their minds became confused; feelings that were foreign to them had left them muddled and confused. The beauty of paradise became dim; their desire to enter the Shekinah cloud and commune with God was gone! They were dead and didn't know it! Their communion with God was broken.
Through the They watched the Shekinah cloud moving across the meadow calling for them..."Eve, this was the part the snake did not tell you!"
They had entered the arena of good and evil.
[crossroadsinitiative.com]Aware of the trauma the apostles would shortly suffer through the horror of his crucifixion, the Lord Jesus gave their leaders a vision of hope to sustain them.He went up on Mount Tabor and at last appeared as he really was.In anticipation of his risen glory, the Light of the World shown forth in the dazzling white of his divinity. The Law and the Prophets bore witness to Him through Moses and Elijah.The Father’s voice boomed the affirmation that this was his beloved son.The Holy Spirit was manifested as the shekinah cloud of glory which had led the Israelites on their desert journey.This transfiguration is a scene that proclaims the whole gospel, the Good News of a glorious life, won by the Savior that would last forever.
As I blog the sunshine has disappeared and the sky is a patchwork of clouds, different shapes and colours and moving at different speeds. Not an unusual sight in the UK! I suppose we tend to see clouds as negative things - bringing rain; but on a day like Wednesday (hot for the UK) we find ourselves praying for a respite; a bit of shade. And looking at my garden I am grateful for the odd shower - though not as much as they had this week in North Yorkshire! Anyway, the Holy Spirit/God in/as a cloud...
The OT is full of clouds... God guides the exiled Israelites in the form of a cloud in Exodus 13 (maybe a volcanic plume?) and in Chapter 14 the cloud obscures the fleeing people from the chasing army. It seems that throughout the exodus narrative the "Glory of God" is preceded by or seen in a cloud that gathers over the people or the place where God is met; the mountain, the tabernacle etc. John Rea calls this cloud "The glory cloud", indeed he tells us that in Exodus 40v34ff Moses was prevented from entering the tabernacle because the cloud had settled on the tent and the glory of God had filled it. The cloud it seems may be the tangible sign of the glory of God for a people who need guidance and protection.
Deuteronomy 33, Psalms 68 & 104, Isaiah 9 & 19, Daniel 7, Matthew 24 & 26, Mark 13, Luke 21 and Revelations 1 all point to God/Son of Man coming in power on the Clouds of Heaven... a picture of an oncoming storm most of us have seen on many occasions, watch the darkening of the sky, the looming presence, the power of a storm approaching over the ocean or across the landscape... Or how about a more gentle picture in Proverbs 16;
When a King's face brightens, it means life; his favour is like a rain cloud in spring.
After my random thoughts about the Albatross, Phil pointed out that the Albatross has been used as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, I have to admit not knowingly coming across this before though it obviously had some resonance, maybe I had heard it in the past... it's an image that does connect for me; the power, the movement, the majesty, the wildness finely balanced with precise control etc. Though it seems that the Albatross is most often used as a symbol of the Cross in literature (e.g. The Dawn Treader - C.S. Lewis and The Ancient Mariner - S.T. Coleridge)
Having a delve around the net there were several uses of the Albatross as a symbol of the Holy Spirit and unsurprisingly the majority of these come from the Southern Seas, in particular New Zealand. I guess Phil living in Aus is more likely than me in the UK to have picked up on this symbol, and it is perhaps a good example of inculturation/indigenisation of symbols and language. Drawing new symbols and allegories from the world we live in is obviously not new nor that radical, I wonder then how we (I can only observe the UK Church) have settled on symbols that we have inherited and yet are not common place in the world we inhabit - though I suppose the candle/flame has come round again but with a different context/meaning? Could we find new symbols? Is it OK to use anything as a symbol as long as it has meaning to me/my community?
I was going to reflect on the Cloud as a symbol of the Spirit in scripture, (I'll do this later) we seem to have glossed over this in favour of Breath/Wind yet clouds are an almost constant fixture in the UK!
A UGov poll yesterday found that the British Public (?) thought that the top three issues for the G8 are...
Immigration (shame on you Daily Mail!)
I don't know whether to cheer about numbers 1 & 3 or cry about number 2!?
Oh and BTW two thirds thought that Live8 and MPH would make no difference to global poverty. I have sympathy with them, I'm really not sure what difference the concerts will make, I fear a bit of a charity concert overload effect, the impact has been diminished. But we still need to make a stand against government and corporate sin (including EU subsidies)... would we have even got this far without Jubilee2000? What we probably have to recognise is that Aid is not THE answer, without the transparent delivery of Aid and trade justice we are surely in danger of lining the pockets and filling the armouries of the governing classes.
Of course none of the above is a reason not to go to Live8... however this (from ITN) may be ;-)
Live 8 organiser Bob Geldof is trying to reform the Spice Girls for the pop concert!
I've been busy marking essays today - on a beautiful sunny day here in the UK (oh well never mind read some good work - Module = Human Personhood through Popular Art and Culture) whilst I was reading the Computer was busy transfering tracks onto mmc to play on my PDA (Cheers Ian - Youthblog). I got a bit sucked in by a track by Quantic on Mishaps Happening; the track is called Angels and Albatrosses - a wonderful deep instrumental described by Break4Dayz as having a...
spiritual jazz vibe [which] would sound just like a Flying Dutchman outtake were it not for the gigantic hip-hop drums that dominate it.
I got to thinking about Albatrosses, not an image used very much so I thought I'd find out a bit more (from the Albatross project)...
Albatrosses are AMAZING! They are among the largest flying birds, weighing in at up to 10 kilograms (22 lbs). Some species display striking colors and perform beautiful mating dances. Albatrosses are oceanic birds. They live at sea and find their fish and squid food on the open ocean. They come to land on islands only because their offspring have to be on land until they can fly. This can be a problem for Mom and Dad Albatross, because the food in the ocean may be a long distance from where the nesting island happens to be! To handle this problem albatrosses can cover thousands of kilometers during one trip to find food for their babies and themselves.
I suppose we are used to the idea of doves and even wild geese used as symbols/representations of God, but what about the Albatross?
The ocean surface moves slower than the wind above it does. So, the wind moving just above the ocean surface is slowed quite a bit by friction with the slow-moving ocean. The higher you get from the ocean surface, the less the wind is slowed by the ocean. So, if an albatross wanted to fly into the wind, it should fly close to the ocean surface, where the wind against the bird would be the slowest. That is what they do, and they also do something else, and this is the interesting part.Picture an albatross that wants to fly to the west, but the wind is blowing from south to north. The albatross is five meters in the air (a bit taller than your ceiling probably is). It points itself to the north and glides quickly downwind. It gains speed rapidly because it has the wind pushing it and because it is gliding gradually from a high position to a low position. After a long downhill glide with the wind pushing it, the albatross turns west, which is the direction it wants to go. It is moving very fast, just as you would be on a bike after a long downhill with the wind at your back. Conveniently for the albatross, the wind moving from south to north is slowed so much by friction with the ocean that the bird's flight is not affected much by wind (like we said earlier). Compared with the bird's speed, the wind is not blowing much at the surface. So, the bird can fly a long distance, maybe a hundred meters (the length of a football field) on the energy it got from the long downhill glide. It has not been flapping its wings during this time. Finally it slows down enough that it needs more energy to keep going. It could flap its wings to increase its speed, OR...
It could change the angle of its wings so that it rises up above the ocean surface where the wind is blowing more strongly, and grab itself some more wind energy by flying downwind again. During the downwind glide they pick up enough energy to fly some to the west and also to rise up into the wind again at the end of their progress to the west.
This alternation of downwind gliding and cross-wind gliding is the usual way that albatrosses get around, and all without flapping their wings. Now, really what they should do if they want to fly west in the situation above is to glide downwind to the northwest and upwind (just above the ocean surface) to the southwest. This would have them moving mostly west even though the wind is moving to the north.
This technique is called dynamic soaring.
Dynamic Soaring! what a wonderful picture... Genesis 1v2? Wonderful album too!