Although not a liturgical holiday, the Sunday before school starts has been a milestone in our congregation for years. With special Back to School Litanies and Backpack Blessings for students and teachers, we join to pray over those in our community as a new year begins. Today’s scripture from Hebrews reminds us that they do not make this journey alone. In fact, none of us makes any such journey alone because we are “surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.” This cloud of witnesses is with us – surrounding us – in water and word, wine and wheat, in school and sanctuary, work and worship.
In Hebrew’s long list of Biblical heroes we find people who were flawed yet faithful and who persevered through persecution. This serves as a good reminder that our call is not to be perfect but simply to follow Christ in whatever we do, trusting that God will work all things for good, just as was done on the cross of Good Friday. So join us on Sunday to bless and be blessed, to be reminded of the “great cloud of witnesses” surrounding you and to remember that you are a part of that cloud for others!