Click above to stream Taken by a Cloud from my 5th album Unveiled as you read this story from May 2014. I am also including the music video at the bottom so you can watch and listen for further reflection.
Have you ever been “taken” by a cloud? or had a beautiful scene take your breath away?
There is a splendor and mystery inherent in the world as seen in a common cloud that reflects something much larger than me. This idea originated from an ancient scripture, “As they watched, he was taken up and disappeared in a cloud.” (from Acts 1:9)
I am thinking about clouds because this is my first blog post from an airplane. I have been “taken” by some clouds as I look out from my window seat. After departing from Baltimore in the rain on the way home to Atlanta, we soon were above the clouds looking down on them. Two recent experiences came to mind.
First, a few weeks ago I played a concert west of Chicago, Illinois near Wheaton College. My host was a new friend who graduated from Wheaton years ago. He took me on a tour of the Billy Graham museum there (Billy Graham also graduated from Wheaton). I photographed the above image in the final room of the museum. The Hallelujah chorus was playing from Handel’s Messiah, and the platform where I stood was surrounded by clouds. Carefully constructed mirrors created an effect that made the clouds go on forever whether I was looking up or looking down. This was a glimpse of heaven’s wonder and beauty, and it reminded me of Taken by a Cloud.
The second experience was last night in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I was invited to share some of my Scripture inspired piano at the HOPE International “Celebrate Hope” annual dinner, where 650 people gathered to hear inspiring stories from around the world, and support the great work that HOPE is doing. They specialize in micro-finance and savings programs for people in poverty who have a small business. Through targeted financial assistance entrepreneurs can grow their profits to help improve their living conditions, educate their children, and have a positive impact in their community. What is interesting is that at the core of HOPE International, is the faith, hope and love found in Jesus, and the Gospel of His grace and forgiveness. As I was “taken” by the incredible stories of financial and spiritual transformation in these impoverished communities, I was filled with eternal hope found in Jesus’ resurrection and ascension.
How can you apply today’s music and words to find greater hope?
As they watched, he was taken up and disappeared in a cloud. They stood there, staring into the empty sky. Suddenly two men appeared—in white robes! They said, “You Galileans!—why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly—and mysteriously—as he left.” Acts 1:9-11