Therefore, 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, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
We’re told in Hebrews to keep our eye on Christ as we run the race set before us. The thought quoted above is that Jesus is the pioneer as well as perfecter of faith, I think as much in setting us an example as in helping us in the way Christ opened. For many of us this amounts to our own spiritual growth and witness to others, and that pretty much sums it up. But considering the context of Hebrews 11 and the witnesses of faith there, of course culminated and we can say completed in Christ and Christ’s example for us, I think there’s much much more.
In the way of the cross, the way of love, we have much to do in what we’re supposed to be and what we actually are, yes, in this life. Often I hear and read the thought that we’re not to look at the things that are visible, but what is not seen (Paul) and that we’re to set our heart on heavenly things, not earthly things (again, Paul), as if all that matters is heaven someday for ourselves and everyone else, and this world, its problems and tragedies are secondary, and hardly worth considering, certainly not worth dwelling on in comparison to the big call. Many of you will recognize that given the passages from Paul, that’s a misreading of him.
I dare say that this flies in the face of the biblical witness, of God’s love and what that amounts to and means for us, and not the least- the callings we can find even perhaps beyond the humdrum job we feel stuck with, callings not only in but for this life. We need to be about finding God’s will and living in that will fully, a will that will be for the temporal as well as eternal good of others in the love of God and neighbor. And yes, definitely within that witness will be the sign and hope of a better world to come when at long last all conflict and war will cease and all people will flourish in community together as sisters and brothers, one family of God.