United Methodist Women

Spiritually Speaking
May 2019
By: Brenda Anderson-Baker
Mission Coordinator for Spiritual Growth
I’ve been hearing the sandhill cranes calling for the last month, and have been scanning the skies looking for them since I first heard their strange and haunting cries this spring. They nest near a creek in the fields behind my neighborhood, and it always thrills me to see them. Although I’d been hearing them and looking for them, it wasn’t until I was on my way to church on Easter morning that I actually saw the first ones of the season. A pair of them with their elongated wingspans slowly stretched across the morning sky in perfect tandem. Their grace and beauty captivated me, especially since they’d been eluding me for weeks. My unbidden prayer was a simple Thank you. Even when I struggle with prayer, gratitude still comes easily, and for that too, I say Thank you. After a long, challenging winter, I am ready for spring. Simple pleasures loom large: the greening lawns, the snow on the mountain while it’s warm here below, brilliant blue skies, budding trees, robins, and yes, sandhill cranes. Easter brings resurrection, and the earth responds. Easter brings resurrection, and my soul looks for hope and promise. I stumbled across a verse from The Message this week. It used to be one of my favorites, but I’d forgotten about it until I saw it again: I’m thanking you, God, out loud in the streets, singing your praises in town and country. The deeper your love, the higher it goes; every cloud is a flag to your faithfulness. (Psalm 57:9-10) It’s that part about every cloud being a flag to God’s faithfulness that gets me. I am convinced that Montana has the best clouds in the world, especially in the spring and summer. I often play a game with myself when I’m out walking the dogs by trying to find the best “God-Cloud” in the sky. Sometimes I go for the wispy, streaky cirrus clouds. But most often, my God-Clouds are the huge, puffy cumulus clouds that look like they could be hiding a choir of angels and their harps. After a winter that kept my head bowed down against the snow and wind, it’s a gift and a joy to look up. When I do that, I’m reminded of God’s faithfulness. And I revel in not just the promise, but the actual fulfillment of resurrection.