- Dominic Crossan
I am a hole in a flute that the Christ’s breath moves through— listen to this music.
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 12.1-2 (NRSV)
We have invited the members of our faith community to adorn the chancel on Sunday with photographs of loved ones whose memory they want to honor on All Saints Sunday. We’ve done this before; so I know from experience that this visual reminder of that great cloud of witnesses surrounding us is both moving and powerful. I’ve looked forward to it for months. So imagine my near panic when I couldn’t find my favorite picture of mama and daddy; two of the many saints that have graced my life, and let’s face it… my favorite saints.
I searched high and low around the house, and couldn’t find it anywhere (in point of fact, I still haven’t found it!). I was devastated, and as I searched fell deeper and deeper into a funk; until it dawned on me that I didn’t need an image at all, because their voices still resonate within my spirit. I can still hear the spiritual wisdom they shared with me, the sage advice they offered. Occasionally I have to dismiss mom’s disapproving refrain, “Bobo, I taught you better than that…” I can’t forget it, because she said it so often (my personal development was, shall we say, slow to see the light of day, and often obscured by clouds), but no one offers gems of wisdom every time.
I am still guided by their voices, voices in which I find comfort and courage; and theirs are not the only ones. There are more voices, many voices to which I can turn for inspiration and hope. One voice, two voices, three and more, all speaking at once. You might think it would be hard to hear anything useful amidst such cacophony, but it’s not. Voices that speak in love and support, voices whose only purpose is to give, to share with others; these voices blend, harmonize, and in truth become one. Beyond the deafening roar of such a multitude, there is the sound of but one voice. This voice offers us an inkling of the unity that grows in and around us when we open our spirits, and add our voices to theirs; a hint of the music God yearns to make through our lives. Listen; can you hear the music?