Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cockpit Fear

Last night we were cruising in smooth night air at 29,000 feet when Boston Center cleared us to descend to "Flight Level one-nine-zero".  Us being 280 miles and 47 minutes north of Philadelphia, en route from Ottawa, Canada, that didn't seem right.  I asked my First Officer to get an explanation from them, while I slowly started our early descent to FL190.  The controller sputtered something back like 'well got crossing traffic descending blah blah NY' etc., so I grudingly accepted his explanation.  At least we questioned it, I should've asked him why before we accepted the clearance, as that is within our rights as Pilots.  Choppy air at our new altitude made the 'seat belt sign off' time short lived.

Then, however, I did have a few moments to observe the scene outside the small room we shared.  The mostly full moon, the 'smaller great light', at our 10 O'clock high position above us, was shining through a sliding sheet of scattered thin clouds above us, like headlights shimmering through sheer curtains in a secret pair of lover's room of rendezvous.  Right in front of us, shined upon by our nose landing light, rain from nowhere is hitting us at 320 knots indicated, without a sound or feel, as the turbulence had subsided for a bit. 

That, combined with the rest of the sky, make for a surreal scene.  Life at this instant wasn't black and white, but all in shades of gray, nuanced in mottled, smooth cloud layers swished around near and far, with slate gray and muted blue tones backdropped toward terra firma and the upper atmosphere.  The horizon was gone; only the brightly lit moon remained as a comfort.

I looked over at my dark haired, masculine First Officer, and he was deeply reading something I had given him earlier.  He's a good Co-Pilot, but he had me irritated before, just a little bit, multiple times, after commiting various 'rookie' type errors.  I resolved to watch him more closely and not let my guard down for the rest of the trip.  "Look at this view, you can really appreciate this, with the moonlight and clouds sliding by", I said.  With an aggressive but graceful and strong body language, for a long moment he gazed up at the moon, now exposed without any clouds in the way, then straightened up, leaned toward me, and looked me deeply in my eyes.  Something about this was suddenly disconcerting to me.  "Oh, I know about the moon, believe me, much more than you know".  His clear and convicting words struck me suddenly as I felt the  adrenaline rushing through me.  'Surely he sees, and certainly enjoys, seeing my eyes widen', I thought upon comprehending that his gaping smile now shows his fangs, real fangs, bared, fangs I have always associated with the 'legend' of vampires and horror films.  Until now, that is.

Fear has shown itself to me, and is suddenly rushing me headlong, forcing me to react, as strongly as is humanly possible for me to do so.

The previous was mostly true, except for the Co-Pilot part.  Happy Halloween, I guess, and I hope you're not offended by my foray into the 'dark side'.  But I tell you this, by my own experience and lay training, I believe that Evil (with a capital E) is not just the subject of legends and folklore, woven over the milleniums and our last few centuries into our culture and traditions.  Evil exists, and it has a name.  In my experience, evil constitutes the enemy, or the thief, and "the thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy" I have come that they may have life, and that may have it more abundantly." - some of Jesus' most excellent words from John 10:10.

Fear is a strong emotion that does force us to react, whether in life or in flight.  As a matter of coincidence, everyone has heard of the term 'fight or flight' in regard to how humans react in situations of fear or danger.  How do Christians react, and what spiritual weapons and tools do Christians have at their disposal to fight evil?  Good question, I could wax all day long on my lay knowledge and my personal experiences of dealing with what in my heart I consider to be true encounters with evil.

Ok, you twisted my arm, here are a few paragraphs straight from my faith narrative I refrenced twice in previous 'New Vantage Point' blog posts:   "Once each, during the last two of my college years, a striking thing occured to me that I responded to in the strength of th Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.  As I was trying to fall asleep demons attacked me, in my dreams, perhaps.  It felt like it happened right when I was on the precipice of being unconscious.  They had the appearance and atmosphere of true evil and hatred, like nothing I've ever experienced.  Both times I sat upright in bed, rebuked the demons loudly in Jesus name, and prayed in confidence that I would sleep like a baby.  I woke up both times well rested, asking myself "did that really happen?", then answered my roomate's questions about what was going on last night.  Then I recalled that when I was a child, my mother taught me well how to rebuke Satan and evil spirits.  I feel that these this experiences indicated the spiritual reality of the wrestling going on between God and the enemy over control of my will and sin nature."  BTW thanks Mom!

As Christians, what shall we fear?  Better yet, as humans, what shall we fear?  I found a few scriptures which might shed some light on the subject. 

Jesus talks quite a bit about Hell in the gospels.  As distasteful as it may taste to the sense of fairness and the expression of human freedom, the Bible teaches that Hell is an eternal destination for some.  I don't want to defend the concept of Hell straight on too much, so click here for a thoughtful explanation on Hell. 

The corollary, or opposite reasoning for it, might start with the following free-form expression: Without getting too theological, God is a Holy, Pefect God, and in the eternal scheme of things, God demands that all beings who exist in his realm be perfect.  We become perfect and holy in God's eyes by believing and receiving, in our heart of hearts, Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.  The incredible, merciful, full of grace, and loving sacrifice of Jesus, The one and only true Son of God, being crucified on this cross for our sins and imperfectness enables this to be so.  The theological term is sustitutionary atonement; Jesus Christ died for our sins on the cross as a substitute for us.  He took the punishment for our sins so we can have a true relationship with God now and for eternity. 

So, those who die who have rejected Jesus Christ as their personal savior are in danger of being sent to Hell for eternity, to be separated from God.  Jesus backs me up with his words in John 3:18: "He who believes in Him (God's Son) is not condemned; bt he who does not believe is condemned already, beacause he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."  Also, in Luke 12:5 Jesus gives a clear warning on what to fear: "But I will show you whom to fear: Fear Him (God) who, after he has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you fear Him!".

In spite of the starkness those who stand next to standard tradition Christian doctrine espouse, blessings are yours and mine to be had, available straight from the Bible, in many verses where we are taught not to fear:

From Psalm 27:1: "the Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"

Another great passage on fear from Romans 8, which my aforementioned Co-Pilot helped me find (he really is a great guy, a fellow brother in Christ, we talk about our common faith and Lord quite a bit) is from Paul's letter to the Romans in chapter 8:28-39 (New International Version)

'More Than Conquerors'

"28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:

"For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 

37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Yes, you might be wondering after a careful reading of that passage, whether I think that the world is a dangerous place for Christians.  I fully agree that it is, and that it is getting more dangerous.  And I stand confidently on God's promises that we have nothing to fear in Christ Jesus name.  Glory be to Almighty God!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Feel like a nap?

As everyone knows, last Wednesday, October 21st, Northwest Airlines flight 188, an Airbus A320-200, en route from San Diego, CA to Minneapolis, MN with 147 passengers, overflew the Twin Cities airport by 150 miles before they turned back toward Minneapolis, after being alerted by a Flight Attendant.

Radio contact was lost with the flight when it was 130nm southeast of Denver, CO. The airplane continued and overflew their destination 62 minutes later, and continued on an easterly heading for another 15 minutes before radio communication was re-established about 110nm east of Minneapolis. The airplane then descended to FL320, turned around and landed safely in Minneapolis 45 minutes after radio contact was restored.

The NTSB reported that the crew told ATC that they had become distracted and had overflown Minneapolis, and now requested to return. According to post flight interviews, the FAA reported that the crew had engaged in a heated debate over airline policies and had lost situational awareness. The NTSB have opened an investigation, scheduled an interview with the crew and secured the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder of the airplane.

The Co-Pilot gave a short interview to CNN, insisting that they weren't sleeping and they weren't arguing, as everyone seems to suspect. In my (professional) opinion, a 'heated debate over airline policies' actually seems likely, as Northwest Airlines continues the integration process with Delta Airlines, their merger-buyout partner. In the future these two legacy carriers will be fully integrated as Delta, for now the NWA planes are being repainted, and Northwest Pilots have to adopt Delta's flight standards and procedures, a recent occurrence. This can encompass virtually every detail in how the pilots operate the airliner and perform the flights, and the reasons and philosophy behind the procedures. It is a credible cause for distraction, because procedures can vary widely from one airline to the next: most veteran airline pilots who are 'set in their ways' might likely oppose operating according to new procedures and standards.

However, it is not a valid excuse for overflying your destination, a major hub for the airline this Captain, at least, had presumably flown for at least a decade. That being said, I do not wish to disparage these Pilots, in fact, I'd like to express a little sympathy for them.

The following is a common saying, at least at the regional carriers, of the Captain briefing the Co-Pilot on 'nap' protocol while en-route on a 'long' flight (one of perhaps more than 2.5 hours): "Don't let me wake up to find you sleeping". It's cute and light hearted, but sets a certain standard at the same time, that IF (and that is a big if) one pilot is to 'catch a few winks', the other pilot shall handle everything involved in flying the plane, and shall be alert and awake. I don't adopt this saying, because I don't want the idea of napping in the flight deck to become commonplace in my operations. Do I ever do it or permit it? I won't deny that it hasn't occurred before; it is honestly a rare occurrence, perhaps a half dozen times a year. When it does occur, I prefer that a strict standard be set, and that it be allowed only because it is agreed upon that a rest will improve the alertness of the pilot in question.  It's all in the interest of safety, see?

I insist that if the Captain or First Officer wants to take a nap, that it first be approved by the Captain, that both crewmembers are comfortable with the idea, and that the remaining crewmember agrees to have complete responsibility for the aircraft, and will remain awake and alert.

Though when I think about it, we have a situation where only one pilot is awake in the flight deck frequently. The other pilot isn't sleeping; he isn't there, period. And it happens on long flights. What I'm speaking of is, of course, when a pilot has to take a bathroom break. On our regional jet the lavatory is in the back of the jet, and we tend to call it 'the walk of shame', somehow it's a macho thing to be able to hold your bladder (these youngsters at the regionals, ya know).

So what's the difference between a 5-10 minute bathroom break (we still have the same needs you do, you know) and a 15-20 minute snooze? Not much really. Actually, if an emergency occurs while a pilot is sleeping, he has a better chance to be a beneficial crew member than if one occurs while he is indisposed in the lavatory. It's all in how it is perceived, and I am trying to be sensitive to the public in that regard.

How could a pilot even consider taking a nap with all those passengers’ lives in his hands? Put yourself in the pilot's place. Think, you have a four day trip, all early shows, 5:30 AM vans to the airport. You're flying on the east coast but you live in Denver. On day three you have an accumulated sleep debt of 15-18 hours, and that's being generous. On that one long flight, with beautiful weather and a smooth ride, the sandman can come, with a vengeance. Reading puts you to sleep, and there is no energy to talk, or desire perhaps. Post 9-11 security protocol doesn't prohibit opening the door to fetch a cup of coffee, but it does discourage it somewhat. And coffee can only keep you awake and alert for so long.

Both pilots, sleeping? Absolutely unacceptable in any book, obviously. I'm not saying that these pilots were sleeping, but it has happened before, in Hawaii of all places. Read about last year's flight of Go! Airlines flight 1022.

As strange and as uncomfortable as it may sound, legalization of pilot napping could possibly become a reality in the future. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, "U.S. airlines and their unions have joined forces to push the Federal Aviation Administration to let pilots do what was once unthinkable: sleep on the job." Research has been performed and provides "overwhelming evidence that controlled napping provides significant" ways to reduce fatigue risk.

For now, I'm going to give these NWA Pilots the benefit of the doubt. In spite of the likelyhood that I haven't reassured you that your pilot isn't sleeping during your next long airline flight, let me tell you straight up: you have nothing to worry about. "Sit back, relax, and enjoy the rest of the flight. (And maybe take a nap, the air in the cabin is at pressurized to an 8,000 foot elevation, and that book you have is putting you to sleep anway!)".

Thursday, October 22, 2009

To 'Zinzinnati' in 'Oktober'

Yesterday I started a four day trip, and the big H on the weather map meant mostly blue skies, sunshine, and generally smooth air all day long. Charlotte to Cincinnati was our third flight out of five. Out of the Charlotte area and headed northwest, we were climbing through 21,000 feet, I was flying with the autopilot engaged, and I took a few moments to enjoy the views.

What I describe won't match what it looked like, because this picture is from two weeks ago, but it was another flight from Charlotte to Cincinnati.  Differences: the clouds are below us, with cumulus formation, which means curved, rounded edges, and a little turbulent air inside them.  The white sun is in common, and the evening and autumn colors, though.  I like the long shadows the sun cast behind the lumpy cumulus jutting up from the top of the layer in the foreground.  I don't have a good picture from yesterday, but next is my description of it.

The long ridges of the Great Smoky Mountains, displayed in a blue-gray, darkening, almost pixilated tint, were in front of and below us, and the haze between them helped to frame their wavy washboard ripples. From the horizon, long, flat and gray stratus clouds raised above to a white reflection above our altitude, the top of the clouds being illuminated by our white sun above and to our left. It was still gleaming while the angle this section of the planet Earth gave it a few moments more to do so, in its ever-present spin. The blue skies above our present position wouldn't last much longer.

We were now at 24,000 feet, our groundspeed was 400 knots and accelerating, and we would be in Cincinnati in 45 minutes. Looking far below I see autumn, orange and yellow textures on the long, alligator spiny, arcing ridges, interspersed with snaking rivers in the valleys they are constrained by. The airplane is a great way to observe geological features. With my lack of knowledge, though, I have more questions that answers.

The colors, and where we're headed, reminds me of a good time I had once on an overnight, attending the Oktoberfest in 'Zinzinnati', as a co-pilot when we were flying for a different airline. Cincinnati hosts the second largest Oktoberfest in the world, next to the one in Munich, where it originated. Authentic German food, drink, dancing and songs, and culture can be found throughout it. I thought just maybe if the airplane broke on the way into Cincinnati this evening, we could perhaps repeat it. But here in the Columbia, SC hotel I found out while blogging this that 'Oktoberfest Zinzinnati' is actually held during the third weekend in September.

Yes, I'm writing about drinking beer, and yes, I believe a Christian can have an alcoholic drink in clear conscience. I like a good beer or glass of wine with a meal. 'Everything in moderation', right? To me, at least, Oktoberfest isn't about getting drunk, but about celebrating with others the food, drink, and culture Germany has brought the world. I happen to think that God want us to celebrate life. After all, wasn't Jesus first miracle when he turned the water into wine at the wedding party, after "the guests have drunk freely" and they had run out of wine? (John 2:1-11 ESV)

To be clear, I am for the responsible use of alcohol, whether by your own consumption, or by limiting your use in order to avoid tempting others. Jesus teaches this clearly in Matthew 18. After he characterizes new Christians as humbled children (not a condescension by the way) and as the 'greatest in the kingdom of heaven', he warns against temping these new creatures to sin. From Matthew, 18:5-7 (ESV): 5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!"

Now, these words, directed straight to my heart do have an implication for me personally. I would never open a bar, for example. Jesus' teachings can be difficult to put into practice; we can only hope to do so in submission to God and in a heart attitude of receiving and following the Holy Spirit's guidance in our lives.

Here's a fellow blogger's good post on temptation.

This is another good post on 'Do not be drunk'; instead be filled with the aforementioned Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:17-20 (NIV) advises the same: "17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. 18Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

It is worldly wisdom that drunkenness lowers inhibitions and increases temptation, and in a roundabout way, the good word agrees on this: From Galatians 5:19-21: "19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."

Drunkenness is actually part of the sinful nature; this is what we're really talking about here. In our lives, it seems that our hearts need to be filled with something, whether it is drink, the Holy Spirit, or something else. What fills your heart?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Providence and the Glory in the skies

Dateline: September 25, 2009

We arrive at the White Plains airport at 5:15 AM, and after looking at the paperwork for our flight to DC, I exclaimed to my two crewmembers "negative APU". Usually that puts a damper on things, because it means our APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) isn't working, and we’ll require extra external equipment to electrically power the plane, to provide air pressure to start the engines, and to condition the cabin in hot or cold weather. It means headaches and possible delays to get those things. We’re to have the plane all day as well, flying four legs, but the cool and cloudy weather means we might get by without too warm of a cabin, at least starting out.

The capable ground crew gets the various carts connected in short order. Under my hands and fingers, I pull us off the ground at 6:15 AM. Climbing out toward the west, on our left we spy, sliding by, the behemoth known as New York City, sleepily waking up in gray and black silhouette, street lights shining their last moments before the partial orange sky behind us, hidden behind a sloping cloud deck, overcomes the faded darkness.

Now, below and to the left, over New Jersey now, the New York Giants stadium lights are still burning bright and white, on charged up battery power, so to speak, from the big Bono and company (U2) show last night. I could have gone, I really wanted to, the 'wife of my youth' gave clearance, but it would've been a 'goat rope' transportation wise, and definitely not compatible with a 4:30 AM wakeup call. I've seen them before; 84,472 fans set an attendance record there last night. Loving U2 is like loving Harleys, if you're not a fan, you wouldn't understand.

Onward to Providence we go, through DC. Providence is an interesting word and city in Rhode Island. A pretty city near the ocean, it has an inland bay that lets out gradually in postcard quality, scenic and sandy beach arcs to the Atlantic. From the air, on our route from DC, Connecticut seems to be hidden by Long Island, but RI is a nice transition area between New York and Massachusetts. Connecticut and Rhode Island are very green, given that there are quite a few wooded hills around. I’ve overnighted a few times in Providence, and have appreciated the nice folks there. My awesome cousin in the Coast Guard, Jose, used to be based in Rhode Island, and he and Sonya loved their stay there.

So what does 'providence' mean in relation to God? From Webster’s dictionary: “the care of benevolent guidance of God or nature; an instance of this”. It's not really in the bible as a term, but it is a theological one. It means to be divinely cared for, by God, in his protection and guidance, actually framing and preparing the stage for pre-ordained events to occur in your life. Scripturally, we can see this in my late, great Aunt’s favorite verse, Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” You can recognize providence in events, I call them “God things”, or not recognize them; that depends on your faith and outlook. It does take a little faith, I admit, and skeptics have the right and wherewithal to cast doubt on one’s witness of these things.

When events conspire to bless or protect one, naysayers talk of ‘having good luck’ or chalking it up to ‘just a coincidence’. The term luck seems to be used in two ways, both self focused: (1) to lament your lack of it and to express envy of others who have it, and (2) to credit your own worthiness of being lucky. Providence doesn’t focus on a ‘lucky’ person or an unknown reason and cause. Providence focuses on God, the providential one. Here is a good website to check out for more information on Providence from a Christian perspective: Providence in All of Life

My most memorable event showing God’s providence in my life has to do with an answer to prayer. There have been times where I’ve recognized that God was protecting me or providing for me, but the one I’m sharing still stirs me when I think about it, was in the 1988 fall semester, during my second year in college, in the dormitory at Oklahoma State.

One evening I was feeling especially lonely, desperate, and far from God. My relationship with God was standoffish, and one with Jesus as my Savior, and not quite my Lord. I was having a difficult time settling in the dorm, making friends, and studying well and making good grades. I prayed in the bathroom stall, crying out to God to rescue me. Immediately after I returned to my room, two older guys from The Navigators ministry knocked on my open door, wanting to share the gospel. It was an amazing, immediate answer to my prayer. I shared with them what I had just done, prayed the prayer of salvation with them, and started meeting with my new friend. However, I quickly broke it off, one reason being because I couldn’t convince him that I had already become a Christian as a child. Even though I was still a babe in Christ, he thought I was chronologically and literally a brand new Christian. My pride was perhaps in the way as well, and I still wasn’t ready to give the rest of my life up to the Lord. However, I was very gratified and thankful to see that God was still ‘knocking on the door of my heart’.

You might say there has been Providence at Providence, as well. On a foggy and dark December 1999 night, United Airlines flight 1448 made a few wrong turns while taxiing to the gate on arrival, wound up on the active runway, and had a near miss with a FedEx aircraft which took off on that runway. After that a US Airways jet refused takeoff clearance twice, before the mistake was realized.

God's providence is just one of many qualities of his character which gives us reasons to revel in his glory, as displayed in nature and in the skies. I see our God of wonders in the ever changing and dynamic sky, intermixed with the changing light, clouds, and terrain of the seasons. But I don’t worship the creation, as some do, I worship the creator through appreciating the creation. Last week I saw my pastor describe how he appreciated God by observing the beauty of a sunrise over local rolling farm fields, while jogging around our golf course. If he can experience that, how much more blessed am I to exercise and affirm my faith by experiencing God’s beauty, glory, and wonder in the scenes painted and created in his sky! It’s like he made it himself, just for me.  Other pilots don't seem to appreciate it the same way I do.  The next time you fly, look out the window, and commune with the Father of us all.

These days I try to read a Psalm each day, and often there are references to 'the heavens proclaiming the glory of God' (Psalm 19:1-4).  I call them 'sky Psalms' and try to share them on twitter.  I think I'll start sharing them here also.  "God of Wonders", a great song of praise still played frequently on Christian music stations, has lyrics compiled straight from the Psalms:

“Lord of all creation, of water earth and sky
The heavens are your tabernacle
Glory to the lord on high!

God of wonders, beyond our galaxy, you are Holy, Holy
The universe declares your majesty, you are Holy, Holy

Hallelujah to Lord of heaven and earth, (3x)”

Continuing our day, the ground crew at 'PVD' made quick work of us, even as our jet was crippled with a broken APU.  We took off toward the south, before turning west toward Long Island, on the dogleg shaped route ATC gives us.  The scenes that morning were especially striking.  You can't see it too well, but in the first picture the sun is low, shining through the overcast cloud deck, far to the horizon.  The light spilled low and long across the gray sea, leaving me spellbound till we turned the corner, to see . . .

the very eastern edge of Long Island, New York below, with cirrus clouds right above our altitude, shades of jet blue all around.  I should clarify that I'm pretty sure there were created from the contrails of other jets.  I tried to enlarge the picture, but you get the idea.  I experience beautiful scenes in the sky like these every trip.  It's just that I appreciate them more than I used to, I believe.

Does God really exist in the clouds and sky, the heavens? Well, yes and no. The no part is that God is a spirit, and exists in another dimension, a spirit dimension. With faith, and his spiritual presence in our lives by the Holy Spirit (part of the Holy Trinity), God is spiritually there in the believer, evidenced by his glory in the skies. It's hard for my layman’s words to explain, but God's glory in the skies is a a visual and physical representation of a spiritual manifestation and reality.

The yes part is that biblically, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit do come and go on and in the clouds!  See, let me show you.  (1) When Moses led the the Israelites to the promised land for fourty years, "the cloud of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel during all their travels" - Exodus 40:38.  (2) When John the Baptist baptized Jesus to start his earthly ministry, "heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove.  And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." "- Luke 3:21-22.  (3) After Jesus appeared to his followers after he was resurrected from the dead and gave them 'the Great Commission', "he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.  Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it." - Mark 16:19-20. 

And there are many other instances of this in his Holy word.  There is a U2 song called "Window in the skies", and now I know another meaning for it.  "Oh can't you see what Love has done?"