In chapter 11, the writer of Hebrews goes through the Who’s Who of the faith. That person didn’t make selections based on wealth and power, prestige and prominence. Instead, the writer noted those who were strong in faith, able to see God and God’s future, and oriented their lives around these even to the point of sacrifice. Such people form our cloud of witnesses.
As we approach All Saints Day, we remember them and the many others who have since died, some quite recently. Remembering strengthens us as we note that we are not alone on this journey as we join a long procession of witnesses. Some of our liturgies, prayers, creeds, and hymns also serve to remind us that yes, we are part of the church triumphant as well as the church universal.
Inasmuch as we remember the cloud, we also look beyond the cloud to Jesus Christ. We serve Jesus and we consider his life and sacrifice. We get strength and encouragement from the lives of the departed saints, but ultimately, it is to Jesus we look and to whom we run.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.Hebrews 12:1-13
Loving God, Loving Neighbor