Therefore, since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and 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. Hebrews 12: 1-2
We have a “great cloud of witnesses” in the prophets, the apostles, our pastors, and our forerunners here at St John’s. Miss Jane Martin entitled her video history of St John’s Church, “A Great Cloud of Witnesses.” Those who came before us here at our church ran their race and left as evidence our buildings, our stained-glass windows, various other memorials, and a living church for us.
The writer of Hebrews suggests that we should not concentrate on those past heroes of our faith, though, but that we need to fix our attention on Jesus who ran this Christian race and set our goals.
We run the race for eternal life, the prize that is already won for us, keeping our mind on Jesus, “the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” In the running, we become more like Jesus. Even though we never reach perfection, we are improved by the striving.
Jesus endured death on the cross to pay for our “sin that clings so closely” to us. He knew that after His glorious resurrection, His victory over sin and death, He had a place reserved in heaven beside the Father.
At the end of our successful race through this life, we have a place reserved in heaven, too! In John’s gospel (John 14: 3), Jesus promises, “…I will come back and take you to myself, so that you will be where I am.”
Prayer: Father in Heaven, You sent Jesus to us and a great cloud of witnesses pointing to Him. Guide us as your church to remember our past and to plan for the future with stewardship. Lead us to serve people now and to keep a church here for future generations to gain more witnesses for You. Amen.