Holiness: a journey of love

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.

Holy God,
Holy God,
Holy God!
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,
Amen

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7 Comments

Filed under Prayers and Meditations

7 responses to “Holiness: a journey of love

  1. We don’t have to wonder about Holiness. The New Testament has everything we need to know and remember The Spirit in us is the Spirit of Holiness. He is the expert who will not leave us wondering….blessings

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    • Hi Ross,
      The problem isn’t with the New Testament or with the Holy Spirit. The problem is that none of us has a perfect understanding of the scriptures, nor do we listen with perfect hearing to the Spirit. There is much that gets in the way, both within and outside of us. We need the community of saints around us to help us in our journey and in our understanding. Hence the ‘wondering’ together.

      And while we would do well to ponder the meaning of holiness (a way of life rather than a list of dos and don’ts) the real work lies in considering together the outworking of holiness in our lives. A holy life is not something we switch on once and for all. It is a daily commitment and a daily discovery as we journey with Jesus in this world he has called us to love.

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  2. It’s a thought-provoking piece

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  3. Ian, you’re a true “wonder”–you write so beautifully about the soul-deep issues. Holiness entwined in true Godly love–yes. God bless you and your family abundantly.

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  4. Beautifully penned. Thank you for sharing.

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