Today I get to reflect on three of my favorite things! The first is today’s word, Clouds. I have always loved clouds especially big ol’ storm clouds. Their sheer size, their movement, color and texture capture my imagination.
The second is the picture, this storm cloud followed my wife and me up the Door County peninsula on our last trip to Washington Island. The Island will forever hold a special place in my heart, and I love to make that trip on the ferry. Together with these clouds, I was in my happy place!
Lastly, there is our reading from Hebrews 12:1-3 there is not one word of this passage that is not dear to me. The cloud of witnesses, oh… have I been blessed. Likely if you are reading this you have been or are part of the great cloud that surrounds, comforts and shines the grace of God into my life. My cloud of witnesses contains my mom and dad, siblings, grandparents, sponsors, cousins, and all the usual suspects. But also in my cloud are little old ladies who fed me sugar cubes in the church basement, farmers missing limbs who joined in worship, teachers, preachers, people who built structures and sacrificed so that I others, generations after their work on earth was finished, I might be blessed by their witness. Friends I live in one big honking cloud!
I could go on and on with each phase of this verse, each word, but that would take a long time, and I still have sermons to preach on this text! But I will close with one final reflection on this cloud. This Holy Week has been bumpy for a bunch of reasons (hint one of them has to do with Monday… April 15th ugh…) The phrase, “you’ve got to be kidding me!” Has come out of my mouth far to often this week, but more often than that, the great cloud of witnesses that God has put into my life have been there witnessing to the grace and love of God even in the messy, complicated parts of life.
The final sentence of verse 3 is this “Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.” I can not tell you how this has lightened my heart, it has filled me with hope, and joy, even as I contemplate the days to come, the somber, the heartbreaking and the difficult. These are just storms, they come, and they go. The cloud of witnesses reminds me that I remain in God’s grace. This witness energies me to run the race and reminds me that there is nothing in all creation that can separate me from God’s love, not even my Form 1040.