Aug 15, 2013
“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…” (Hebrews 12:1 NRSV)
You may have heard of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, you may not have heard of Dr Kornfeld, and there is another man in this story whose name is unknown. All three were in the same Russian concentration camp. The unknown man a Christian witnessed to Dr Kornfeld. Dr Kornfeld came to faith and began to stand up for what was right, even to the point of reporting a guard for stealing food from a sick patient. That action caused his death, but before his death he shared the story of his faith with a patient. The patient was Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who became known worldwide for the stand he made against the Soviet system and the books he wrote about faith and injustice. All three men pressed on because of their faith and the promise that it held out to them despite the terrible things they had to endure.
Their stories and the countless stories told and untold of people down through the ages should, inspire us also to press on in the faith. Even when things are dark and difficult people of faith have somehow had the strength to keep going. Whatever we face as individuals or as a church we never run alone. As well as God’s love and presence, we are also surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who run the race beside us. Press on then toward the goal and hope of our faith!
Questions for thought or discussion.
Are their stories of people of God who have inspired you in your faith? (Biblical figures, saints, martyrs, missionaries, Sunday School teachers etc.) How does the example and the story of these people help you? Have you thught about sharing some of these stories with others? Can you think of people (church goers or not) who might be encouraged by some of these stories to press on? What are the main things that make up the “Christian race”? How do we run it?