There were a lot of visitors in worship last week, or so it seemed. Our attendance was twice the number we’ve come to expect over the last few months and you could hear it in our singing. After worship I was drawn into a conversation with one of our members and one of our visitors – a pastor from San Francisco. As it turns out, they both knew Rev. Bill Lesher, a former pastor here at St. Luke’s. It has proven true, time and again, that there are barely three degrees of separation between any two Lutherans. We are not so much visitors in each other’s churches as we are long-lost cousins at a family reunion.
The reading assigned for this Sunday from Hebrews reminds us of that web of interconnectedness. “Therefore,” it reads, “since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, 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.” (Heb 12:1)
I am very aware of the presence of that cloud of witnesses at St. Luke’s, from former pastors and members to the company of saints that stretches backward in time uniting each of us to one another as children of God and members of the body of Christ. I feel their presence as we gather in worship, in prayer and in song, cheering us on as we run the race set before us, a marathon to be sure.