We wondered about holiness this past week. Perhaps wondering is all we can hope to do — recognise the questions it raises rather than pronounce on definitive answers. I offered the following prayer/meditation as part of the process.
How can we begin to understand your holiness?
How can you in your holiness even think about us;
Let alone meet with us,
Or welcome us in our rags?
Is it because your holiness is not defined by right and wrong,
But by love?
Is it because love is what holiness is about?
For the religious teachers, holiness was defined
by laws kept and laws broken. We, too,
condemn those who break laws we like to keep.
But your holiness is steeped in love;
An outrageous, extravagant love.
The prodigal son is loved, welcomed, clothed and fed.
Will his life be transformed?
Will he become holy?
You don’t wait for the answers.
You simply pour out your love,
And invite us to journey with you.
We don’t know how holiness is displayed in heaven
But here, your holiness
Builds bridges and reaches across chasms.
Lepers, outcasts, the blind, the lame, the foolish,
Servants and masters, rich and poor,
Young and old; lost in a broken world.
None beyond your reach; no one turned away.
The adulterer, the self-righteous, the timid, the proud;
The scandalous prodigal and the self-righteous brother,
All loved with a passion, wept over, and embraced.
So, is holiness a journey of love rather than a destination?
A growing relationship rather than a set of rules?
To become holy as you are holy.
Does that mean we become holy as we offer
Your gift of love to a broken world?
As we reach out a hand to the lost,
Offer an embrace to the unlovely
A helping hand to the foolish?
Lord teach us to love as we have been loved;
Lead us on a journey into holiness.
For your love’s sake,