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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.
– Hebrews 12:1

We’ve been watching a lot of sports lately and let me tell you, it feels a bit weird watching hockey in the middle of the summer.  That being said, it’s been a good way to wind down after a day of COVID chaos that continues to change our context and our world on a daily basis.  When this all started, I remember hearing it would be over mid-summer or, at the latest, early-fall.  And yet, here we are.  This has turned out not to be a sprint like many thought, but rather a marathon where the course keeps changing and hurdles keep getting thrown in our path even though this isn’t even a hurdling event. 

Here we are, in the midst of a marathon of which we cannot see the end.  If you’re anything like me… aka human… you’re probably feeling tired, frustrated, and praying that it would be over soon (which is exactly what I felt in the middle of every cross country race I ran in the 7th grade).  It’s during times like these that I turn to those I love, who continue to support me through the good and bad times in life, my great cloud of witnesses. 

We all have that cloud, whether we realize it or not.  And we are all part of that cloud for those people we love as well as for those people we may barely know or not know at all.  But this cloud of witnesses surrounds us nevertheless and what an amazing thing that is.  Our cloud of witnesses includes faith-filled people of the past, present, and future.  This cloud that supports us and encourages us on our faith journey, which is hard to navigate these days as we worship differently and gather seldomly. 

My hope and prayer for you all, you great cloud of witnesses, is that you both support and are supported by other members of this great cloud.  As we continue to navigate what it means to be people of faith during this time, what it means to be church, may we look to one another for inspiration and support.  May we see in each other the heart of Christ, the hands and feet of God, and the motivational power of the Holy Spirit.  And may we see these in ourselves as well.

We have a ways to go, the end is still not yet in sight.  But we will make it… together.  As a great cloud witnesses and as marathon runners.  And I’ll keep praying for it to be over, just as I did in 7th grade, because as you all know… I’m not very athletic.