KING DAVID: “Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD? or who may stand in his holy place? He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain. ” (Psalm 24)
PIE IN THE SKY: “An empty wish or promise, as in His dream of being hired as a sports editor proved to be pie in the sky. This expression was first recorded in 1911 in a rallying song of a union, the International Workers of the World (or “Wobblies”): “Work and pray, live on hay, you’ll get pie in the sky when you die.”
Jesus scolds the Pharisees: “When you see a cloud rising in the west
you say immediately that it is going to rain–and so it does;
and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south
you say that it is going to be hot–and so it is. You hypocrites!
You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky;
why do you not know how to interpret the present time?”
The problem with the Pharisees was simple, “their theology lacked experience.” Or, their theology was nothing but a “pie in the sky” dream.
In the Bible, the shorthand for an experience with God was “clouds.” On fifty different occasions, God’s presence was found in the clouds (cf. Exod 13:21-22; 14:24; 19:16; 40:38;Num 10:34). Even the Son of God experienced His Father in the clouds (Matt 17:5 ; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:34).
Granted, there are plenty of people who wish for their pie in the sky bye in bye and end up in the city dump. Today’s Pharisees export their cloudy experiences (Jude 12) to a host of followers leading them into a ditch of unhappiness.
Staying in the clouds and keeping both feet on the earth is the calling of every Christian.
How do you do live in the clouds and fulfill your calling? Three ways:
1. Stay Creedal. The Apostle Paul was all about short creedal statements Christians could pass on. For example, Paul wrote “one Body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” I’m sure Paul commissioned His music minister to work out a few riffs so that the local churches could remember their calling (CF. I Timothy 2:5-6; I Corinthians 15: 3-4; Philippians 2:6-11). Occam’s razor (“law of parsimony”) was Jesus’ motto (cf. Matthew 5-7). If your faith isn’t simple it doesn’t pass the cloud test.
2. Stay Universal. The Psalmist rightly says, “The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it. for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.” If your Church is not as old as the Word of God, stop attending. It’s going to end up in the ash heap of History. Jesus founded the nation of Israel and the Church is its fulfillment. (cf. Matthew 16:8; Ephesians 1:22; 1 Cor 15:9; Gal 1:13; Phil 3:6). For a church to be local and universal its as impossible as a Savior to be both God and man. If your faith isn’t universal is lacks enough clouds.
3. Stay Clean. Are there any outstanding debts between you and brother Steve or sister Sue? If so, your spiritual weather forecast is a hot mess. Instead of experiencing God in the clouds, you’ll experience the desert winds of Satan’s fury. The Catechism says it well: “The holy People of God shares also in Christ’s prophetic office,” above all in the supernatural sense of faith that belongs to the whole People, lay and clergy, when it “unfailingly adheres to this faith . . . once for all delivered to the saints,”210 and when it deepens its understanding and becomes Christ’s witness in the midst of this world.” (Cf. Mk 1:16-20; 3:13-19; Mt 13:10-17; Lk 10:17-20; 22:28-30. Jn 15:4-5. Acts 2:33.) If your faith isn’t making you holy, it’s not the stuff of the clouds.