We tell the stories of our ancestors, guided by the promises of God
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...Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.
In other words, these words of scripture invite the listening audience to seriously consider another way of approaching life; a way lived by ancestors in the faith (read chapter 11) and Jesus. Some might even consider these words a call to conversion from seeing/living life as lifeless, possibly meaningless, to one that is hope-filled because of the joy that is yet to come, in spite of current reality.
There is much conversation these days about spiritual renewal, both individual and corporate (congregation/denomination), with the question oftentimes of where even how to begin. The words from Hebrews suggest remembering and telling the stories of ancestors whose lives were shaped and guided by the promises of God, even when the promises were not realized during their lifetime. Yet, as the author explains, they lived by faith. And then consider Jesus, the writer continues, who endured such hostility against himself, endured the cross, for the sake of the joy that was yet to come.
"Therefore" the writer says, "let us" in joy and confidence, with perseverance and patience, live in this same mind.
Jesus, you are the pioneer and perfecter of faith. In these holy days, we listen, we follow, and pray that we not grow weary or lose heart. Amen
--Pastor Jim Hytjan