A Great Cloud of Witnesses
‘… Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, … let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart....’ (Heb 12:1-3)
Who are the “cloud of witnesses,” mentioned in this passage and how do they “surround” us? The word ‘Therefore’ at the commencement of this passage points back to the previous chapter eleven of Hebrews, where great men and women of faith are highlighted; Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Rahab, David, Samuel and so on. Chapter 12 references that these faithful men and women have paved the way for us, as they looked forward, in faith, to —the Messiah.
We too can be inspired by the godly model that these ‘faith-filled’ men and women encapsulate. Their example of faith in God encourages us today to embrace ‘faith-filled’ lives. The cloud is referred to as “great” because it indicates that millions have gone before us having left a legacy that we can build on.
Our motto here at Newington is ‘In Fide Scientiam’ which is translated to mean ‘To faith, add knowledge’. The fifty-two names of amazing people that are displayed on the walls of the chapel serve to remind us of the guiding principle and purpose of what our motto represents. These philosophers, scientists, artists, theologians, humanitarians, leaders and prophets have contributed in some amazing way to the foundations of our society; the likes of Mozart, Columbus, Einstein, Moses, Teresa, Mendel and the like, who have helped shape our world to be what it is today. For our Newington community, these are our very own great cloud of witnesses, who serve to inspire us that we too can help shape our world in an amazing way. Throughout Term Three, the boys will learn about the people behind these names; their exploits, their contributions and the values that they have bestowed.
Rev. Geordie Barham