Cloud of Witnesses

Photo taken at Whitby off the coast of Northern England – site of ruins of the monastery and church founded by Hilda of Whitby (c. 614–680)

I have been reflecting this past week on the idea of the cloud of witnesses and the cloud of the internet and the relationship between the two.  Last night I was flying home from a meeting, an exit interview from my job of the past four and a half years as the flight took its path into the setting sun the clouds parted and the sun’s rays were emblazoned on the clouds and refracted from the horizon – it was a glorious sight.  I reflected on the cloud of witnesses who had been supporting me of late in a time of transitions. The cloud of living and dead, known and unknown to me. The poets  -David Whyte and Mary Oliver; and the musicians Paul Kelly (Words and Music, especially Little Kings), the Cologne Philharmonia Chamber Orchestra (who played at St Joseph’s Willunga this week) who have been before my eyes and in my ears, I pay homage!  You too are on the honour roll in my cloud of witnesses.

The people who have sent me a text wishing me well, the friend who posted a photo of her child with me and a big smile to remind me of the love and bonds of a new generation, the brother who face booked me with greetings, the friend who sent me via a recruitment site a potential job and the list goes on of Facebook messages, tweets, LinkedIn recommendations, emails and text messages, telephone calls and skype messages, the music link, the You tube video to the trailer of a new film, the gift voucher to Amazon … all in the cloud.

I have sojourners in the flesh as well and nothing beats face to face and the physical contact of a hug and a hearty audible laugh uninterrupted in real time.  I love the serendipity that this photo has now brought several years after it was taken bringing the past and the present together due to the digital platform on which it was saved, now retrieving it for this post to reflect the theme of this blog.  The person who witnessed my exit from my job, was with me the day I took this photo. I love how this all works, or in the words of Desiderata, “the universe is unfolding as it should.”

I do pay tribute though to all the care and support that I have received via the cloud and I am impressed by the cloud of witnesses that accompany me on line and together give collective witness to me and my journey.  I think there is so much more to unfold and the mystery of the  clouds suspended outside the window of my plane and the mystery of cloud computing I benefit from in my online communities is truly awesome!

More than 400 years after Hilda of Whitby played host to the first synod, fostered peace-making and education, was sought after for her wise counsel – another Hilda – Hildegard of Bingen found herself doing similar works.  Hildegard is in my cloud of witnesses as is Hilda of Whitby – two remarkable women who didn’t need the cloud to communicate with their constituencies or their God.  I live in the clouds. I  am finding it a good place to be. In the clouds I  trust that the plane doesn’t fall out of the sky. In the clouds I read the Facebook messages. My story will be witnessed and I too can bear witness to the lives of others with a simple click of the like button on Facebook – new cloud of witnesses and an enriched understanding of what that means for me in my time.

“… we are surrounded by a huge cloud of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that weighs us down …” Hebrews 12:1

clouds

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