“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 which is set out before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2
Too often we don’t look up. Our daily routines keep our eyes looking at the few feet of ground in front of us and the tasks at hand. On my river pilgrimage I can also get into the same pattern and see only the mile markers and river bends immediately ahead. And then I look up … and I see the clouds. I think rivers and clouds are friends. Like a giant magnet bodies of water and puffy cumulonimbus clouds dance together. I hope you have seen some cloud pictures I have posted on this blog. Just as the river is my teacher, the clouds are “witnesses”…
In Paul’s letter to the Hebrews he reminds followers of Jesus of another but related “cloud of witnesses.” Using the metaphor of the Christian journey as a “race” he points to a cloud of believers who are in the stands cheering us on as we travel. I can’t tell you how meaningful and empowering that is to me as I paddle each day. I literally “feel” your prayers and good wishes and am encouraged, healed, strengthened, and blessed.
Each day new folks are added to the “cloud.” Today I received a message from Sean in Australia, who in 2000 water-skied the Mississippi from Mpls to the Gulf in 6.5 days. He said, “I hope and pray that God richly blesses your trip and keeps you safe.” Thanks, Sean, for being in the cloud. Thanks to countless others as well who are cheering me on! But it is not about me. It’s about “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” And don’t forget to “look up” today!
Soli Deo Gloria