Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely. – Hebrews 12:1a (NRSVUE)
Cloud computing, a.k.a. the cloud, is a sharing resource that exists on the internet. It remotely stores data for individual computers, phones, tablets, and other devices to access as needed.
The cloud acts as a supercomputer that hangs onto all the stuff we need and has it ready whenever we want to access it. Beyond the convenience of accessing files from just about anywhere, the cloud enables individual devices to direct their resources toward more important and relevant tasks.
My tech-inclined brain makes me quite fond of the idea of dead loved ones joining an ever-growing cloud of witnesses. Though we can’t call or text, hug or kiss, fight or snub loved ones who’ve died, like a computing cloud we can remotely access them in new ways beyond our individual physicality. Before their death, we had to negotiate methods of connecting, even creatively over distance since the pandemic began.
Now, our loved ones are anywhere we are and at any time we need them. Not that they’re hovering over us in some spiritual internet. Instead, the collective cloud of witnesses acts as a sort of supercomputer that holds onto our shared memories, love, grief, and losses. In so doing, we’re empowered to redirect our energies into the important and relevant work of living into our fullest selves.
As we log into another year, remind us that death never has the final word. Renew our access to the cloud of those who’ve gone before us. Reboot our passion to participate in living out your desire for a whole and healthy creation. Amen.
The Rev. Phiwa Langeni is the Ambassador for Innovation & Engagement of the United Church of Christ. They are also the Founder of Salus Center, the only LGBTQ resource and community center in Lansing, MI.