Envision The Saints
October 12, 2022 Creekwood United Methodist Church

Perceived Value - Deep Thoughts

Posted in Deep Thoughts

line of candles that goes from clear to blurry as they move away

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [Saints], 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, 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 NRSV)

Have you ever heard the old spiritual “Who’ll Be A Witness for My Lord?

It’s a musical extension of Hebrews 11; a passage that showcases the faith of the Hebrew people and aims to convince Jewish Christians in the 1st Century that it was faith that actually brought shalom to the Jewish people and not the Law or their righteous actions.

The lyrics of “Who’ll Be a Witness” change depending on who’s singing, but different versions I’ve heard cover the stories of Nicodemus, Paul, Methuselah, Mary, Noah, Samson, Deborah, and more.  As in Hebrews 11, or any Sunday school class for kids, the aim of the song is to bring these characters to life so that you can envision the giants of faith on whose shoulders we stand.

I’d like for you to help me envision the saints in a different way on November 6th in worship.

I’d like you to bring me (or e-mail me) a picture of any loved ones you have lost that you consider witnesses in your life.  If they are framed, that is great and preferable.  We will display them on the altar, in the hallway, and around the worship area to remember the great cloud of witnesses [Saints] that laid the foundations of our faith AND still surround us due to our connectedness in the Holy Spirit that never ends.  If you can get me your pictures by or before October 25 that would be helpful.

I realize that worshipping while looking at your beloveds may seem like a difficult thing to do, but our sermon that day will center on how to live with our grief, acknowledging grief as a love that never ends.

We often like to paper over grief or keep ourselves busy so that we don’t think about who or what we are grieving,

but Hebrews 12 tells us the “cloud” around us can be our motivation for the life we still are blessed to live.  Revelation 14:12 says, “Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and hold fast to the faith of Jesus.”  Many of our loved ones have been a testament to faith and goodness, even through life-altering illnesses and ailments.  They have been a witness of the importance of human connectedness and selfless giving.  And even as we grieve, somehow the Spirit keeps us breathing, offering us a witness of life that comes after death.

So please bring your pictures to me so that the great cloud of witnesses [Saints] may surround us, and so we may be inspired to follow in their faithful footsteps.

Also, if you are someone who needs support in processing or living with grief, I want to invite you to join a reprisal of our weekly “Grief Group” that will begin meeting again October 17th.  Carol Crilly and Chuck Mundy have graciously offered to share their own experiences of healing and grief to help others navigate their own.


David Lessner

flower with text for grief in common

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