What does it mean to be holy? That has been the question revolving in my mind this morning. All of us have different ideas of what holiness looks like, but most of us are convinced of one thing -- we aren't there yet. Holiness seems like some unattainable goal, the carrot on a string that is always just beyond our reach. For most of us holiness means perfection which always evokes images of self righteous, sanctimonious know-alls none of us want to imitate anyway. And that, in many ways, is a very comfortable way to regard holiness. It lets us off the hook because we just don't think that real holiness is possible in this world.
But that is not the dictionary definition, which defines holy as:
- consecrated: dedicated or set apart for religious purposes
- saintly: devoted to the service of God, a god, or a goddess
- sacred: relating to, belonging to, or coming from a divine being or power
Being dedicated to God's purposes and devoted to God's service does not mean we are perfect. In fact, it often brings out our imperfections, but we are still holy, or at least on the journey towards holiness. Being holy means living in the reality of our broken and wounded world and honestly admitting that we are broken and wounded people without turning away from God and the transformation that God is working on in our hearts.
Becoming holy is about having our blind eyes opened to the presence of God in our world. It is about seeing Christ's presence in suffering people. It is about building bridges across the chasms that separate us from injustice and oppression. Becoming holy does not separate us from the world, it draws every Christ follower into engagement with the world, increases our awareness of our neighbor's pain and plunges us into the human struggles of the day.
So my question for today -- what does holiness look like to you? How do you move towards holiness in your Christian journey?
Christine Sine is executive director of Mustard Seed Associates and author of several books including GodSpace: Time for Peace in the Rhythms of Life. She describes herself as a contemplative activist encouraging a way of life that interweaves spiritual practices with concern for justice and environmentalism. She blogs at GodSpace.