Stunning cathedrals and glowing angels...quiet serenity and steady devotion. Purity, clarity, peace. These are the kinds of things that come to mind when I think of the word, "holy."
This week, we continue our focus on Rowan Williams' book
Being Disciples, and the topic before us is "holiness."
Our chapter for the week reminds us that Jesus "made himself holy" by dying on the cross. And that was anything but glowing and serene and quiet. To describe it bluntly, it was an execution on a garbage dump outside the city walls.
Williams reminds us that, for Jesus, "being holy is being absolutely involved, not being absolutely separated." Jesus' holiness, which we are to emulate, has to do with diving headfirst into the deep end of the human experience, with all of its suffering and messiness.
Living a holy life means diving in. Or as Williams puts it, "a holy person is somebody who is not afraid to be at the tough points in the centre of what it's like to be a human being..."
We can do this in so many ways. We can fully show up for our relationships. We can give our all at work and at play. We can bravely face the realities of our world, as hard as it is to look at the news these days. We can dive into our inner work, finding compassion and care for ourselves. We, too, can dive in, trusting that Jesus is already there.
We do this individually and as a church. These days, we are revitalizing our outreach efforts, which have been strong throughout our history. Recently, a group of us learned about the good work of Lutheran Services Carolinas with refugees in Raleigh and throughout the Carolinas, and we are discerning ways God is calling us to help. Another group gathered for a "postcard writing party," advocating for sensible measures to decrease gun violence. While the summer is just beginning, we are already planning for Rally/Raleigh Days, when we will jump into our community ready to work and to learn from those we serve.
And as we dive in, may we take comfort in our God who dives into our lives and gets involved. This God who loves us more than we can understand is here for us, as we are - not expecting perfection or purity - but helping us move toward a life that is more wonderful for us and for all people, especially the most vulnerable among us.