Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Holy Like God

Yearly Reading: Leviticus 11-13

For I am the Lord your God; sanctify yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming creature that moves on the earth. Leviticus 11:45 NRSV

Many Methodists are familiar with the words of their founder, John Wesley, who said that all of us Christians were called to "go on to perfection." Or, in Jesus' words, "be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5: 48).

In Leviticus, God gives a very clear reason for God's people to be perfect or holy. God wants them to be like set apart like God. "Be holy like me!" God instructs.

And the Jewish people took this to heart by following the rules God had given them to the letter. But in all this rule-following, they seemed to lose the intent of the laws: to be like God. Instead, the rules became their gods. It was not about being God-like but about checking off a to-do list.

We should be very careful here that we don't become righteous (after all, with Jesus, we stopped being like that, right?). However, we have come up with our own set of rules in chasing after the holy. We need to always set before us the example of Jesus: breaking Sabbath laws, speaking to the unspeakable, touching the untouchable with compassion, eating with sinners and allowing himself to be hung on a tree (an obvious curse to any good Jew). Who among us can claim to be more holy than him?

God, help us not to just keep a set of rules but to truly be holy like you. In the name of Jesus who set the holiest example we pray. Amen.

Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims

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