Musing on a Saturday Morning
Today is just me musing. I invite you to come along. This has been bit of a whirlwind season, from wedding to back-to-school, adjusting to work days and LONG commutes and I am TIRED—body and brain. A temporary adjustment until I am able to settle into a new rhythm, which I feel somewhat confident is a real expectation. But in the meantime, I will, hopefully, continue writing, because it does, indeed, help me mentally process all this life. And if you’re willing, I thank you for coming along.
Today I woke up thinking about what it means to be HOLY. (Thank you, God, for choosing this weighty topic for my admittedly limited mental capacity.)
I have, for a long time, imagined holiness as something other than what we make it. God invites his people to be holy. Okay, more than invites. He admonishes…advises…urges. To be the people of God IS to be HOLY.
But what, exactly, does this mean? Is this holiness a status, or a behavior, or a bit of both?
Sometimes we think of holiness as a gift of grace. An undeserved position, granted to us. Like an honorary degree, or honorary knighthood. God grants this title to his people, even though they didn’t actually earn it. True enough.
On the flip-side, we recognize holiness as actual behavior—a moral condition. As the people of God, we live in a particularly holy way. True enough, too.
And probably it’s both. Right? God graces us with this remarkable status of holiness, and we live in such a way as to practice our status. Holiness is both theoretical and practical.
But I wonder. If it’s MORE. I wonder if it’s something completely OTHER.
The religious definition most familiar to me is “set apart.” God is holy, which is to say, He is set apart…He is other. AND. God’s holy people are set apart, too. They are—we are—other. Which is to say, we are not like the rest of the world.
Okay. More musing...
Let’s talk about Jesus. Jesus is the Perfect Human, which ought to make him a great example of what it looks like to be holy. Jesus was quite obviously set apart.
But what does this actually mean? Because if Jesus was set apart, He was also completely engaged in the muck and mire of real life. But not in the way we might have expected. Jesus seemed to have this uncommon ability of entering all the way into the mess of being human, without being phased by the stuff of the world. Do you know what I’m saying? I mean, Jesus didn’t seem to be interested at all in the moral (or political, or religious) expectations of societal norms, and yet He was beautifully and maddeningly perfect in his actual behavior. It was almost as if Jesus was in the world but not of it. (LOL, again. Just using a bit of old-school Christian lingo to state the obvious.)
It’s like Jesus was living in his own little world. His own little kingdom. While at the same time living fully engaged—and not at all detached from—a totally real human life.
So, here’s what I’m thinking. To be God’s holy people…to participate in the holiness of Jesus…to be really and truly HOLY in both practice and status…
We are going to have to be set apart. LIKE JESUS.
Which is to say, I might live fully engaged in the stuff of his life, fully connected to all it means to be human (fully engaged in community with other human beings) while living with my head in another kingdom. I am here, but sort of not.
(I know. This is where the camp kids glazed over, too. I’m trying my best to explain something. Are you willing to stick with me for a minute longer?)
Back to Jesus. Jesus was full of surprises, wasn’t he? I mean, the people He hung out with. Religious leaders, tax collectors, black-listed sinners, and regular gals and guys—all at the same super awkward table, eating dinner together.
And the things He DID. Healing on the Sabbath. Raging on the temple market. Telling storms to be silent. Feeding a bazillion people with a tiny basket of picnic lunch. Taking tax money out of the mouth of a fish.
He was kind of OTHER wan’t he? Kind of like he was set apart.
Jesus was holy. And he was wholly a part of a different kingdom. Even while he was wholly here.
Jesus told his followers, on more than one occasion, to live as if the things of the world didn’t matter. Don’t worry about food and clothes. In fact, don’t even worry about packing a suitcase when you go on a roadtrip. And don’t worry about death and sickness, because healing is an ordinary part of my kingdom. Don’t worry about Rome, but feel free to give to Caesar. And oh, yes. When it comes to religion, I want you to be perfect, but it might just get you kicked out of the temple.
And here we are, 2000 years later, still trying our best to figure it out.
Musing on a Saturday morning.
We, the people of God.
Set apart of be holy. Wholly other. Part of a whole-nother kingdom.
Like. I can live fully engaged with all that’s life on this, my home planet, while having my head in the clouds of another kingdom. Politics? Whatever. Sickness? Maybe, but maybe not. Division? Utterly unnecessary. Envy, greed, disappointment, offense? Like water off the old duck’s back.
This—I am thinking, musing here on a blessedly quiet Saturday morning—is the beautiful, holy, maddening life we are invited to live in Jesus’ Kingdom.
HOLY people, and wholly OTHER. Totally HERE…but kind of not (: