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“Times like these show us how much we need community,” said our internist when Ray and I met with him yesterday. We are deeply grateful for the support we have received from so many people as we face Ray’s health challenges and those of another who is very dear to us. Many words of faith and hope have fed our hearts and souls. With moist eyes and referencing a passage from Hebrews 12:1-2, Ray said recently, “We have a great cloud of witnesses.”

Therefore, since we have
so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us,
let us also lay aside every encumbrance
and the sin which so easily entangles us,
and let us run with endurance
the race that is set before us, 
fixing our eyes on Jesus,
the author and perfecter of faith,
who for the joy set before Him endured the cross,
despising the shame, 
and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2

The writer of Hebrews was speaking of the heroes of the faith he had listed in chapter 11. Ray applied the phrase to the great cloud of friends and supporters we have around us today.

Yesterday morning for the first time I thought about the Lord’s Prayer in connection with our dependence on one another. Jesus said:

“Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
‘Give us this day our daily bread.
‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’”
Matthew 6:9-13

In this prayer, Jesus could have taught me to pray to my Father. He could have taught me to ask Him to give me my daily bread, to forgive me for my debts, not to lead me into temptation, and to deliver me from evil.

Jesus taught that God is not only my Father; He is our Father. I am to be concerned about and pray not only for me, but for us.

Martha Anne Honeywell (Lempster, New Hampshire ca. 1787–1848)
Colored cut paper with pen inscription of The Lord’s Prayer
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Mrs. Richard Riddell, 1984 

The dimensions of Miss Honeywell’s gold framed artwork are only 8 1/4 × 7 5/8 inches. According to its description by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Miss Honeywell could embroider, cut, do needlework, write, and draw using her mouth. In this piece the Lord’s Prayer in the center is legible even though it is so small it could fit under a nickel.

Last weekend Ray and I visited with Mike and Karen, friends we first met in 1989. Our families enjoyed good times together, and our children loved playing together. Our older daughter told us over the weekend that as a child she felt loved by Mike and Karen, and she wants her children to have similar experiences with their friends’ parents.

Praise God for the opportunities homeschooling provides for mamas, daddies, and their children to be close to one another, while building relationships with extended families and with friends. Christians need one another. Our Father in heaven planned it that way. When times are challenging, we need a great cloud of witnesses. Ray’s and mine include witnesses from every decade of our lives, and we are grateful.

A friend loves at all times,
And a brother is born for adversity.
Proverbs 17:17

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