Hebrews 12:1-3 (New International Version)
1Therefore, 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 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him 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 sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
These are some of my favourite verses. There is so much about them that I love. I love the part about the "great cloud of witnesses" that surrounds us, for one thing.
Last week I was at leadership training and we were each given a "Leadership Agent Dossier" in which we had to write our name and an alias, which was to be the name of one of our heroes. We then had to write the three most inspirational traits of our alias.
On the next several pages, the names of all of the other participants in our session were typed. There were about 90 of us, and over the days we spent together, we had to find the other people and get them to sign beside their name, as well as have them write down their "alias." There was a prize for the first people to get all of the signatures.
I didn't care about how quickly I did it, but I loved finding out who people's heroes were and what traits they admired about them.
Lots of people put down their mother's or father's names and that was cool. Others put down famous heroes such as Ghandi, George Mueller, or Martin Luther King. One person put down Bob Dylan and I had a very interesting conversation with him during which I learned why he felt so passionately about Bob Dylan, and this also branched off into a discussion about John and Bobby Kennedy. I learned so much about people by listening to why they chose certain people.
My hero was Amy Carmichael. My friend Susan introduced me to her poetry several years ago, and I loved it, especially, The Scar, which I copied out on the fly leaf of my Bible. I read a book about her life, Wild Bird Child and Susan also gave me a book of her daily devotions, which I read every day, Edges of His Ways.
The traits that I find inspirational about Amy Carmichael, are that:
She waited on God for her inspiration
She used her inspiration to encourage others, and
She followed God's call (spending her life as a missionary in India, rescuing destitute children and forcing the British government to acknowledge and make illegal, the practice of child prostitution in the temples there)
As I wandered around asking people about their heroes and everyone else was doing the same thing, I wondered if there was in that cloud of witnesses around us, some of the people whose names were written down and being said out loud. It gave me a goose bumpy feeling to think of them maybe watching us and knowing that we were remembering them and honouring them.
I would like to share Amy's poem, The Scar.
Have you no scar? No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear you sung as mighty in the land.
I hear them hail your bright ascendant star.
Have you no scar?Have you no wound?
Yet, I was wounded by the archers, spent, leaned me against the tree to die,
and rent -- by ravenous beasts that encompassed me
Have you no wound?
No wound? No scar?
Yes, as the master shall the servant be,
and pierced are the feet that follow Me,
but yours are whole.
Can he have followed far -- who has no wound? No scar?