It’s finally spring
Well almost anyway. Gray skies are here but sunny ones are predicted, I’ll take em! I planted flower boxes, with the help of some littles. It helped me escape the dreary cold weather we’ve had. We sang too,
“Way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper, light in the darkness, my God, that is who you are…”
2 yr olds and worship songs, nothing finer
It’s also Holy Week. The week that leads up to the world wide celebration of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, his last supper, his arrest, his torture, his crucifixion, his death, his burial and finally,
As much as I love the seasons and their symbolic, cyclical reminders of life after death, church calendars have never really been my thing. Lent? Holy Week? Huh? Usually someone had an ash mark on their forehead on Wednesday and Friday simply meant a half day at school. Easter was for baskets and new dresses, and of course attending church and singing,
“Christ the Lord is Risn’ To-d-a-ay, Hah-ah-ah-ah-Lay-ay-loo-oo-ya”
As I had children, wanting to impart the significance of the Easter story to them, I grew to despise easter bunnies. They represented everything commercial about Easter, cheapening the significance of the cross. Demeaning the sacrifice of Jesus’ suffering and death. His resurrection was more significant than any other event in history. It actually changed our dating system, we mark time with BC/AD all because of this one event.
Bunnies are not holy
My first thought when it comes to holiness is all about what I can’t do. Smoke, drink, dress immodestly, lie, cheat, call people names, wear pants to church, get tattoos, dance, swear, watch racy television and movies and listen to nasty music, you get the idea. I’m a product of my “holiness” upbringing. Not a terrible thing altogether. It kept me safe, protected me from harm and gave me a reason to avoid getting myself into moral pickles at times. But it left me wanting when it came to the reason why I couldn’t do all those things. “Because the Bible says so” just wasn’t enough.
Holiness is something I find that we don’t really talk about much anymore. It’s used as a title for things as it is this week of the year. But the actual idea of holy living has somehow been muted from our conversations.
Growing up in my neighborhood, was a home full of boys so rowdy that we feared they’d accidentally burn down their house one day. Their mother wore below the knee house dresses, kept her hair pulled back, stragglers all over, (think, Mrs Frizzle), no makeup or jewelry and she always looked worn out. My parents told me they went to a “holiness” church. The association of a frazzled, homely mother with uncontrolled boys attending a “holiness” church left a lasting impression on my young mind.
A second thought I have about holiness is one of being set apart for God. Being set apart brings associations of superiority, it’s where the phrase “holier than thou” comes from. It seems self righteous, something that I don’t believe was ever God’s idea of holiness. Rather I think that being set apart means that my life should be different from the rest of the world’s so that when people see my life, they also see Jesus. It’s not something I have to strive for, it’s a way of being.
After decades of wrestling with all the various superficial expressions of what I was taught about holiness, the do’s and don’ts, the heart vs actions angle, the verses and commands, I’ve come to believe the essence of holiness is this,
“If God says to stand on my head and chant 3 times a day in order to be holy, then I’ll do it. It’s the least I can do in light of all he did for me.”
Maybe you weren’t raised in a home that taught holiness. Maybe you come from such brokenness that holiness is unthinkable or even unattainable in your mind. Not so my friend, it’s not our actions that make us positionally holy, it’s our faith in Jesus Christ.
“For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.”
Maybe you were raised in a legalistic holiness home and you’re reveling in your newfound liberty. I know that one, I’ve been there too. Liberty can be intoxicating. It can also create tensions in the flock. One man’s liberty is another’s vice and so on. Bruce and I have a saying about liberty,
“The more I know God, the less liberty I need”
As believers I hope that holiness is something you talk about with your spouse, family, children and fellow journeyman in the faith. It’s a sorely needed topic to be explored and dissected. So much of what’s out there about holiness today is limp and fragmented. It can’t withstand the voices in the world that are shouting every nanosecond across the digital highway. We need a sturdy, hearty, healthy, beautifully tailored kind of holiness that will light a path to Jesus for everyone.
And just in case you wondered, I’m going to wear pants to church tomorrow…