The New Testament Letter to the Hebrews, Chapter 11, describes how the heroes of the Old Testament trusted in God, despite adversity, and relied on God’s promise of a better future. “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” The author continues in Chapter 12, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
By calling them “witnesses,” the author means that the people of old demonstrated their faith by their words and actions (as in the phrase, “Can I have a witness?”). The promise of a better future has come true in Jesus, who initiated a new relationship with God in which sin, evil, and death have been defeated. Jesus had to suffer for this to happen, but he saw “joy” ahead. We cannot do better than to imitate Jesus. We will not escape trouble, but we can run the race marked out for us cheered by the example of the holy people of God and of Jesus himself.
Soon we will be able to welcome people inside our church building. The first thing you will see when you enter is a glass screen etched with pictures representing the “great cloud of witnesses” who trusted in God’s promise. It is a good reminder for us to do the same. For the remainder of Sunday’s in August, we are open to receive you in a drive through Eucharist. Join us anytime from 10:00 am until Noon. We look forward to meeting you!