Sunday, February 20, 2011

Leviticus 19:1–2, 9–18; 1 Corinthians 3:10–11, 16-23; Matthew 5:38–48

My earliest memories of worship are of singing: "Holy, holy, holy! Lord God almighty!" I didn't know what the word holy meant, but I knew that it was associated with God. "Only thou art holy, merciful and mighty." God and only God was holy.

So it is a bit confounding to open Leviticus and find that Moses is to tell the Israelites that they are holy. Then we find Paul telling a little Corinthian church made up of the "low and despised in the world" that it is a "holy temple." The church of my upbringing has been careful to leave holiness to God. We are keenly suspicious of a "holier than thou" attitude. Say "righteous" and we instinctively add the prefix "self." We don't talk about holiness very much, yet here are texts that say to the church: "You are holy."

 

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