“Keep Looking Up” is not only a call to stay optimistic; it is also a byword in the UFO community. The idea being that there are more unexplained things going on in the sky than we humans realize because we so rarely look at the sky. Consequently, we miss most of it.
I think of that each fall because it is a time of year that I look up and see the phenomenal display of foliage. When I do, I realize just how rarely I look directly upwards.
So far I haven’t seen any UFOs, but I have seen a blanket of yellows, reds, and oranges that speak of a God of many colors and harvest breezes.
Is God up in the sky? Early Christians and the early church certainly positioned God there. Many people still point upward when talking about God or the “big man upstairs.” It makes sense in a way, the sky and outer space have always been filled with mystery and the unknown. Kind of like God.
There is a powerful way of thinking about repentance in this way, too. The word repentance literally means to “turn around,” to make an “about-face” or to “face in another direction.” If we predominantly look down, we will most commonly see our shadows. Metaphorically, we can easily get caught in the shadow side of life too much of the time. We can start to define ourselves by our faults and the world by what is going badly. If, however, we repent—if we turn from looking down to looking up—we will see the light of the sun instead of our shadow. We will see the forgiveness, grace, and love of God which is greater than any shadow or brokenness.
Personally, I don’t believe God is confined to up or down but I do think it is our job to appreciate God’s presence and God’s creation more than we do.
In my own faith-life, I have found that a very simple way to enhance my connection to the divine is to just look up; straight up. Doing so helps me realize how much I am missing by only looking down. It reminds me of my tendency to want to reduce my life to only what is in front of me.
I feel smaller looking up and that’s a good thing. It makes me realize that I’m part of something bigger than I realize and that my job isn’t to fix everything but to be aware of where I’m standing in the grand scheme of things. My job is to do my small part to appreciate and maintain the gift of God’s creation where I find myself.
It’s a simple thing, but give it a try. As a spiritual practice this fall, try looking up more often.
See you in church,