In last week’s sermon I mentioned that someone who is holy is one who is set apart. So Psalm 4 says that “the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly.” This setting apart allows the holy one to come near to the One Who is holy by nature, Who hallows his name, Who demands in both the Old and New Testaments (Lev. 19:2, 1 Pet. 1:16) that the faithful be holy as He is holy, which can only happen by partaking of His holiness. In this process, the holy person is transformed, purified and cleansed of the stains of sin and passion, brought back to what he was created to be. Thus, one is able to make the entirety of life a pure sacrifice to God.
But we should not think that such a sacrifice would be made in separation from or with disregard towards the world; quite the contrary. In drawing near to God, we learn to love, which is in essence a going out, a focusing on the other. Thus, being set apart for God and drawing near to Him means, paradoxically, at the same time drawing near to creation in a transformed way. This is why we can see the saints praying for the entire world with tears: in doing God’s work, the holy men and women understand the world in a new way, love the world in a new way, and live out the calling of each human being to be bearers of God’s salvation to the world. The saints learn to love with God’s love and that love gets reflected back to human beings, animals, plants, mountains, rivers, the entirety of creation.
May the Lord make each of us a partaker of such love and holiness.
With love in Christ,