“In the Cloud”

If you utter the phrase in the cloud most people assume you are talking about data that is stored virtually to protect you from losing vital information.  Many people have made the transfer for storing their own data to letting virtual storage protect them against whatever may infect one’s computer.

I want to offer up a more historical understanding of the phrase in the cloud.  We have a primary reference in the Bible in the book of Hebrews that reads, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses” (12:1) This reference of cloud directly relates to those who have gone before us in faith that still influence our current life. The passage reminds us that people have gone before and others will follow us.  We all have a part to play in the unfolding of God’s creation here on earth.  The people that are currently in the cloud are ones whose wisdom we draw from in living a life that is faithful and filled with meaning.

Who are the people you think of that would be your cloud of witnesses that shaped and continue to shape who you are as a follower of Jesus Christ?  Some of us may only name a few.  Others could recite a lengthy list.  When a person dies and is reunited with God’s presence they become part of that great cloud which is part of God’s unconditional love.

This past few weeks we have had to say goodbye to several in our church.  We give thanks for lives well lived and wisdom imparted that continues to make a difference to each of us.  Each of these individuals are now in the cloud with God.  They have joined the chorus of heaven that encourages us.  I am reminded of our memorial wall outside the sanctuary.  I often look at those names and consider the collective impact of those people on our church.  That group of people is a tremendous cloud of witnesses for Rush Creek.  We honor those people by embodying a faith that reflects the very nature of Jesus.  We are not to emulate them but the Jesus they sought to follow.

I invite us to give thanks for the people in our lives that have passed on who sought to be Christ-like in their lives.  They are a part of a great cloud of witnesses that inspire our own living and seeking to be faithful followers of Jesus.  In church world the cloud is those who have carried the mantle of faith in such a way that we honor and give thanks for their witness of faith and influence of our lives.

Grace and Peace,
Rev. Dr. Christopher Wilson