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A great cloud of witnesses…

“…since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…” (Hebrews 12:1)

Its days like these when one comes to understand the imagery of Hebrews 12:1.  With the death of my father, Virgil E. Nipper, Sr., my family saw a lot of people during the day of visitation and the funeral, as well as “saw” others through the notes and cards of sympathy that showered in upon us.  It was wonderful.

But, what also came from these experiences-as I personally saw folks I hadn’t seen in decades-were the memories that those conversations brought back.  It brought back images of many others-grandparents and aunts and uncles, and yes, even cousins, who have gone before us.

I’m surprised annually to learn of others of my graduating class of high school and college who have passed away.  This past week, I felt their presence.  What “so great a cloud of witnesses”!

God finds ways to bring comfort to us, and, this is one of those ways.  I truly felt my Mom’s presence and, seeing my Dad in his final resting place, I saw his Dad (“Daddy Nip”) for the first time in 45 years.  Looking at pictures to choose for the video that the funeral home did this for us, it brought back a swarm of thoughts I hadn’t had in a long, long time.

All of this is somewhat overwhelming but comforting all in the same vein.  And, it is okay.  All of this is a great help.  All of it is a great peace, these “great
cloud of witnesses,” for each one of you were a part of that for us – your prayers and thoughts this past week – they were felt!  Mary Alice and I (and our whole family) love you for that, very, very much.  God’s peace is with us, and with you…always remember:

God loves you and so do we!

Pastor Jim

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