Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cloud of Witnesses

"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" ~ Hebrews 12:1

One of my favorite songs in the whole world is "Cloud of Witnesses" by Mark Schultz. It poignantly reminds me of my childhood church friends and how closely we were raised together. We didn't always hang out together, and we didn't always even like each other. But we spent many waking hours together at the First Christian Church, and we knew we could count on each other. I believe we can still count on each other despite the decades and miles that have separated us.

These 2 fight like siblings..
Then there are the adults we were also raised with at the same time. The ones who taught our Sunday school lessons, took us on youth trips, and watched us grow up. They were always there for us, and always offered us sound advice. (My childhood choir minister and I reconnected on Facebook not too long ago. I swear I saw his name pop up and immediately felt like I was sitting in Fellowship Hall being directed in a musical!) Our friends' parents were like our own. We knew we could trust them - and probably still can today.

I know I harp on friendship a lot on here. It's obviously of huge importance to me. Except as I grow older, and my kids grow older, my perspective takes on a new shape because I see their cloud of witnesses being formed too. The people in their lives that they will always remember and to whom they can always go for sound advice. The ones who they will be able to go to when I'm not there to help them. Just like the people I have had in my life.

It's a great feeling to know that they are surrounded with people who love them, and who are willing to hold them accountable when we can't be there to do so.

Then there are the school friends..
 I get to see the friendships forming that will last their lifetimes. The deep, undeniable trust they have with those friends and the parents of those friends.

It just makes my heart smile. Their clouds are growing....and thereby, my cloud is growing too.

Then, on the flip side of that, I see the same relationships forming for the kids' friends with us. Our closest friends' kids easily think of us as second parents to them - just as ours think of their parents. We go places together - or just sit around and do nothing together. We attend the same church and have the same values. And we parent very similarly. It just makes our cloud a little cushier to know that we have such a great bond with such a great family.

Billy and his "other mother"
If it just stopped there, I could be undeniably thankful. But I can continue counting other families who are also amazing role models for our kids, and who are also part of their lives. This community of friends and their children at church, school and just in our daily lives.

Sorry to get all mushy. I guess I'm just overly thankful. Thankful that I still have my firm foundation from my past, and that my kids will be able to look back someday and see that they were given the same type foundation in theirs.

To that end, here are the lyrics for the song. I couldn't find a video of it, but it's worth it to google and listen to the whole thing.

These 2 are our mini-me girls..
Watched them running down the aisles
Children's time, Sunday morning
Preacher asks them who they love
They all smiled and started pointing
To their mom, dad, teacher from their kindergarten class
Each and every one, have just become

Cloud of witnesses
That would see them through the years
Cheer them with a smile
Pray them through the tears
Cloud of witnesses
That would see them to the end
Shower them with love that never ends
A cloud of witnesses

Stuck together through the years
Best of friends faith could foster
So When they found out one of them
Heard the news, he lost his father,
They ran to him, prayed and put their hands upon his head
Slowly one by one, have all become

Cloud of witnesses
As they sent above a prayer
Took hold of hands
Circled round a friend
Cloud of witnesses
With a faith just like a rock
Helped him give his father back to God
As a cloud of witnesses

So when it comes the time
Heaven calls, they'll come running
To see the ones who've gone before
Ran the race, and made the journey home
To find waiting for them at the finish line, cheering happily
They will run, they will see

Cloud of Witnesses
Lined up on a street of gold
As they run the final mile
That leads them to the throne
Cloud of Witnesses
They see God upon the throne
As they fall into His arms they know they're home
In a cloud of witnesses
Surrounded by a cloud of witnesses

Watched them running down the aisles

Children's time, Sunday morning


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