Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Great Cloud of Witnesses

This morning, my friends and I huddle by the school entrance, making conversation with other parents and school administrators.  As we notice the line of cars pulling up to drop off children, I'm overcome with the desire to run up to the car doors, open them wide, and greet each child like he or she were a celebrity. 

London Paparazzi
I imagine each car to be a long black limousine. I even include fashion commentary like we're on the Red Carpet for some premiere.

My friend and I laugh about making this our community job each morning.  We wonder what it might feel like to arrive at school and have folks open your car door, celebrate your arrival, and compliment your outfit.  What if we even brought paparazzi to our morning Red Carpet event?  What if we really did announce a child's arrival?  You've arrived!  Welcome to school you beautiful, wonderful person!  You are very important to us! 

Walking home from the school, I feel like I've touched upon something eternal in that moment of opening a car door and celebrating a child's arrival.  Something about that act seems to echo in eternity. 

All of us parents, surrounding those youngest members of our community--celebrating them like that, protecting their journey from car to school entrance--represents a spiritual reality for me:  I too am surrounded by that love and protection at all times.  I have cheerleaders in the heavens. 

Doesn't scripture teach in Hebrews 12 that we are "surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses" who cheer us on, helping us "run with perseverance the race marked out for us?"  We cannot see the saints and angels, but aren't they surely there in some unseen realm about me? 

Later, I ride in my minivan across town.  As I unfasten my seat belt and turn to touch the door handle, I imagine them all there outside my van.  My Red Carpet event unfolds as I walk into the cold, bright day, surrounded by my cloud of witnesses.   

They cheer about me, celebrating and protecting.

(Photo, "Paparazzi at the ICA in London" by Justinc, courtesy of Creative Commons)


jenny_o said...

Beautiful imagery. I remember the morning and afternoon huddles at school - kinda miss them. As Gretchen Rubin coined it, "the days are long but the years are short" . .. said...

thank you, i needed that today when something is emerging and i am less than welcoming... blessings to you heather

David Rupert said...

I lived near a school and always laughed at the cars lined up...i imagined it to be funeral procession, especially given the sad faces on all the attendees!

Anonymous said...

when the new middle school in our town opened(a few years ago) for the first day of school the teachers/staff did exactly as you imagined. They all had cameras/cell phones and took pictures as each student got out of the car, they even had a red carpet! It was a great way to start the new year! What a great memory. Also, the Elementary School my kids attended had a teacher waiting at the car loop to help with car doors, etc and just give a warm hello! It's such a small but meaningful thing to do!

E.M.B. said...

Great imaganition!!
What if that could be true.

Tammie said...


Thank you for your post today. A really great reminder.

Karen said...

I actually get to do something like this in my job as a speech pathologist assistant. I decided 11 years ago that since I cannot speak of Jesus to my k-6th graders in the 20 minutes a week I spend with them, I would tell them that they are wonderful at the end of every single session. I feel I'm touching their hearts for eternity! blessings, k