Today's Lectionary Text
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.
I really love these verses and hold them dear to my heart. The image of being surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, is very humbling. If you’re a fan of late 90’s early 00’s Christian music, it may also spark your memory of a song I love by Mark Schultz, “Cloud of Witnesses”. Not familiar? Check it out on YouTube, and if you’re like me, it may leave you in tears.
It is beautiful to me to reflect on those in my own personal cloud of witnesses. I think of my Sunday school teachers, youth directors, campus ministers, mentors, friends, those who encourage me in my faith, everyday life, and the hardest struggles life has thrown my way.
The scripture says that with the support of these people in our lives we can run with perseverance the race marked out for us. We fix our eyes on Jesus—who has already completed the race, who is the pioneer of faith, and because of his example and support of our witnesses we will not grow weary or lose heart. I’m not a runner, but I can relate to the images that come to me when reading this scripture—I think of the “cloud” as the folks cheering you along the route, they are the support to carry on when your muscles are dead tired and don’t want to cooperate, they are an encouraging word to keep up the good work, they are a drink of water when you are thirsty. They spur us on toward Jesus at the finish line. He endured, so we can endure.
Relationships and the communal aspect of our faith is so beautiful to me—I’m in awe of a God that knew we need a support system. We are not in this life alone, we are not in our faith alone.
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Prayer for Reflection
Take some time today to reflect on your own Cloud of Witnesses. Say a prayer for them, think upon their impact on your life, pray for encouragement as a member of another’s cloud, maybe even send a note to those that you are especially grateful.
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