What do you see when you look up out of a window?
I know the question is obvious but the answer isn’t.
Your answer should be the sky but the similarity between what we see and what the people in the Bible saw ends right there. We ‘see’ layers of air, the atmosphere, insulating us from the coldness of space and enabling us to live on this astonishing planet. For the ancients, they saw a solid structure, possibly held in place by the mountains, to hold back the cosmic waters that threatened to overwhelm them. This solid structure, or firmament, had been made by their loving creator God to ensure their ongoing survival, security and stability in the midst of life and so giving depth and content to their faith in God.
Thus when they looked up what they would have literally have seen would have been a structure from which metaphor and analogy and praise and worship would have flowed. This is the heart of where quiet prayer takes us; it takes us to that place whereby faith is strengthened, inspired and encouraged.
As they looked up they would have thought of their God as being their refuge and shelter who is able to hold back all that is chaotic and disastrous from overwhelming us.
As they looked up they would have thought of their God as being their Lord and their King who ruled the cosmos justly and well. A key expression of this was the belief that as God had created a firmament that was preceded by his creation of time and followed by his creation of abundance, so God could be relied upon to provide for all their needs.
As they looked up they would have thought of their God as being their friend, their Shepherd and their Father for though he was majestic beyond description, he remembered them. He did not see them as nothing but as precious beyond all value. He did not see them as specks in a vast cosmos but as his beloved children. He did not see them as of no consequence but as those who had been made in his image and sharers in his shepherd like care for this world.
This is something of what it means to look up. Don’t take my word for it but think and imagine and remember what else it might mean to you too.
Enjoy being quiet and still and remember, look up.