I have been challenged and inspired by a majority of the articles I read in the Conversations journal I mentioned in a previous post.
The most recent one I read was written by Robert Gelinas. In his article Gelinas talks about the fact that anyone can be a saint. He discusses Jesus’ imperative to “Be holy as I am holy,” and how Jesus’ holiness came from taking our place (the consequences of our sin) on the cross. One paragraph states:
Perhaps you know some people who have sinned and now face the consequences of their sin. Their consequences look so awful that you think, I can’t imagine what would happen to them if they had to experience that. How might you walk in the way of Jesus and substitute yourself? Maybe you can’t block all the pain, but can you alleviate some of their pain or absorb some of it? How might you be Holy as Jesus is Holy?
So often we define holiness as a lack of doing wrong. What if we weren’t so concerned with who says shit or who has premarital sex or who goes to church every Sunday? What if instead we were concerned with who is hurting? Who is being left out? Who is struggling to heal from an addiction? What if we moved towards such pain instead of judging its lack of supposed holiness?
I have been in the place where my sin has caused painful, heart-wrenching consequences, and if it weren’t for those people who had truly been holy as Christ is holy by taking up and sharing in my suffering, I am sure I would never have made it out. To this day I still deal with consequences of past sin and if it weren’t for the people in my life willing to enter that pain with me, I’m not sure where I’d be.
Here are some questions Gelinas asks. I gained much insight about myself and holiness from these questions, but I am not going to share my answers, because I do not want to influence yours.
1. What color do you usually think of when you think of holiness?
2. Now, what color(s) do you think of when you think of holiness as life-giving, delightful, and a beautiful way of life?
3. How does this change your view of holiness?
4. If you were to say something to God about this, what would you say?
5. Think about the difficult people in your life. How might a small willingness to help them with their pain make a difference to them? To you?