Jonathan Rockey

I have a thought provoking question for you. What do Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets of the Old Testament have to do with Dorothy Wolf, Sam Campbell, Al Altschuh, and others from the first church I served, St. Paul Lutheran Church in St. Louis, MO? What do those Biblical characters have to do with Martha Albanito, Millard James, Alene Lederman, Carl Witthoft, Carol Williams, Bert and Ruth Guittar from my second congregation, Our Redeemer Lutheran in Jacksonville, FL. What do these “heroes” of the faith from Scriptures have to do with Shirley Kelpe, Val Holtom, Lillian Stamm, Al Brooks, Eleanor Brooks, Armand Kolberg, Dave Miranda, and others from St. John Lutheran in Palmer, AK? And, what do these Old Testament people have to do with my grandfather, my parents, my Uncle Heinie, my Uncle Sonny, my Aunt Geri, my mother-in-law, Alice Tobin?

First of all, perhaps you recognize that list of Scriptural characters. The list comes from Hebrews 11. These are people we are told “lived by faith,” looking forward to the promises of God to be fulfilled in the promised Messiah. The church in the book of Hebrew was experiencing persecution and trial. So the writer of this book reminds God’s troubled children about those of the past, and gives this encouragement about facing their own struggles. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1)

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