Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.
because of the love and faith stories
of those who have gone before me
and the faithful who stand beside me,
I have come to know you
and to trust the God who sent you.
Your faith in God lived out among us
teaches me to put my faith in God as well.
But it was your resurrection from the dead,
your Easter triumph, your new life, your transformed life
given you by the power of God Almighty
that teaches me to put my hope in that same God --
the God of Abraham and Sarah,
the God of Ruth and Job,
the God of Samuel and Jael,
the God of Esther and Jeremiah,
the God of Mary and Joseph,
the God of Anna and Simeon,
the God of Mary Magdalene and Peter,
the God of Paul and Lydia,
the God of Agnes and J D,
the God of Ruth and Bob,
the God of Glenda and Charles,
the God of Hobbie and Ramsey,
the God of Brueggemann and Cousar,
the God of Griffith and Mendenhall,
the God of McLeod and Rhoad,
the God of Baldridge and Peggy,
the God of FPC and EPC,
the God of Alle and Charles --
the same God on whom
the saints of past and present
set their trust and hope.
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 our 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. -- Hebrews 12:1-2Amen.