Two witnesses joined that great cloud in this past week. Two women who played a significant part in my life, both of whom lived lives of integrity and great faith.
|Michael and his parents|
|Michael, his boys, and his Mom|
Michael is not only a very loving and caring husband, but a very loving and caring parent to his two sons. I can only believe that his parents played a significant role in the formation of his capacity to love, serve, and give of himself. How could I not love her for that? Michael's parents served the Church for many years: learning French and pastoring in churches in Quebec, serving a church of mostly Haitian immigrants and learning that culture, starting a seminary in Montreal so that French speaking pastors would stay in Quebec, and serving God in whatever other way He called.
We spent about 36 hours by her bedside, and her five children, their spouses, and a good number of her sixteen grandchildren were present. It was a time of praying and singing, scripture reading and sharing stories, crying and mourning, distress and joy. It was a holy time and I was privileged to observe and learn more about the family that formed my husband.
I believe that she has joined this great cloud of witnesses and will now be cheering on those of us who continue to run the race set before us.
|Jane and John Lambers|
Jane and John Lambers were two people who not only spoke freely about their faith but were determined to live it out in a real and powerful way. Jane struggled and wrestled for all the years I knew her with how to be even more real, and wondering how the church could do better at addressing issues that were so real to her heart: justice, poverty, and racism. She and John lived in community for many years, sharing all resources, and continued to live with the values of community for all of their years.
I feel so privileged to have had the joy of working alongside Jane for so many years. I was just thinking last week, as I was writing a document that was a tough write, that I needed Jane to "send me to my office" and make me write without distraction.
I pray that both of these witnesses are celebrating among so many other witnesses who have graduated from this life to the next. They continue to spur on so many through their testimony.
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, 2 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. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.