I was just four, my grandmother's place I knelt by her sofa and started this race And now I've been running for such a long while I've kind of lost track of the miles Sometimes I press on, sometimes I look back Sometimes I just lay in the road on my back When I've got to get up and I don't know how I hear in the distance the roar of a crowd
It's the great cloud of witnesses Cheering me on each step that I go It's the great cloud of witnesses They say the finish is worth every inch of the road
Moses is there, up in his seat With my Grandad Wilfred, my Nana Bernice There's Abraham, Isaac and my buddy Rich And I think they're shouting "don't quit"
So if you are tired, and your back is sore If you're not so sure you can run anymore Then just take a moment and listen real close Do you hear a sound like a heavenly host?
It's the great cloud of witnesses Cheering us on each step that we go It's the great cloud of witnesses They say the finish is worth every inch of the road
It's friends and relations and each generation of saints who believed And received The Prize They have looked into His eyes
It's the great cloud of witnesses ...
C 2004 Carolyn Arends Music (SOCAN)
About the Song
This is one of two songs initially inspired by Mark Buchanan's very beautiful book Things Unseen - Living in Light of Forever. There's a chapter where Mark talks about the truth revealed in Hebrews 12 - that a great crowd of Believers who have gone before us watch us run our race here on earth, cheering us on with wild enthusiasm. It made me think about the Saints I've known who have already gone to Glory - and I couldn't stop grinning at the thought of them up there rubbing shoulders with Moses and Abraham and so many others. (My friends tease me about the "Buddy Rich" reference in this song - I am referring to my friend the Christian poet/musician, not the jazz musician, although I hope the latter fellow is waiting up there too).
Vancouver cellist Finn Manichie played the emotional cello lines and my cohort Spencer added his sweet violin and viola parts. Roy's little backpacker Martin guitar (originally intended for camping trips more than anything else) adds the Appalachian touch.