5/16/21 – Seventh Sunday of Easter

Posted on : May 15th, 2021 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Into the Cloud

by Vicki Kemper | published on May 13, 2021

The glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day God called to Moses out of the cloud. – Exodus 24:16 (NRSV)

People have been making pilgrimages to the summit of Ireland’s Croagh Patrick for 5,000 years, since pagans first gathered there to celebrate the harvest. According to tradition, Saint Patrick prayed and fasted there for 40 days in the year 441.

Now more than a million people each year make the climb – for the adventure or as a form of penance. Some walk the rocky path barefoot or crawl over the sharp stones on their knees.

My friend and I wanted a mystical mountaintop experience. Besides that, the guidebooks promised magnificent views of Clew Bay. And so we began the steep ascent.

By the time we reached the top, my shirt was soaked with perspiration … and the sparkling blue waters of the bay were nowhere to be seen. The summit was socked in by fog so completely enveloped that it felt like we were in a cloud. What a disappointment!

Or not.

We are, many of us, goal-setting people. We set our sights on what we hope to achieve. When difficulties arise or obstacles appear, we think all is lost.

But experience tells us that transformation happens in the obstacles and how we handle them. Tradition tells us that God is in the cloud itself.

As my friend and I stared into the thick gray cloud at the summit of Croagh Patrick, an opening appeared. Through the veiled window we could see the brightness cast by the sun and captured by the cloud. The glory of God was all around us.

When I think I’ve hit a dead end, remind me that is where you do your best work.

About the Author
Vicki Kemper is the Pastor of First Congregational, UCC, of Amherst, Massachusetts.


Philippians 4:1-9 (The Message Translation)

My dear, dear friends! I love you so much. I do want the very best for you. You make me feel such joy, fill me with such pride. Don’t waver. Stay on track, steady in God. I urge Euodia and Syntyche to iron out their differences and make up. God doesn’t want [us to] hold grudges.

And, oh, yes, Syzygus, since you’re right there to help them work things out, do your best with them. These women worked for the Message hand in hand with Clement and me, and with the other veterans—worked as hard as any of us. Remember, their names are also in the Book of Life.

Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in [God]! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that [God] is about to arrive [and] could show up any minute!

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into [Gods] most excellent harmonies.


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One Response to “5/16/21 – Seventh Sunday of Easter”

  1. Jose Rivera Says:

    I am having trouble accessing the “survey monkey” to vote for issue of reopening the sanctuary for service. Any other means to vote?

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