Often we use language without understanding where it comes from. Sometimes, we’ve lost the original meaning of the phrase. Catherine has heard about a great cloud of witnesses, and wanted to know where it came from. As she puts it, “the rest is context.”
So what is the context of the great cloud of witnesses? A first reading would indicate it is big names of faith who did big deeds of faith by faith. And Paul isn’t even going to cover all of them.
It would be too easy to just choose the big names to be the great cloud of witnesses. After all, not all of us like the same big names or value the same big names, or even the same acts of faith that Paul points out. The point is that there is a great cloud of witnesses, not a small cloud, or a localized cloud. And that brings us in to the metaphor and the story. Who are in your cloud, and more than who, why are they in your cloud?